18 years ago the industry was questioning the longevity of Java … and it’s still going strong

In the April 2002 edition of the Java Developer Journal (which at that time was a major monthly publication in the Java world), the magazine editor wrote a column titled “There may be trouble ahead”, questioning how long Java had left. Funny thing is, this really does seem to be a perpetual question that gets asked every few years, and yet here we are 18 years later after this article was written, and Java has been going strong for 25 years.

This year Oracle in their role as stewards for the language (after Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in 2010), celebrated Java’s 25th year with a #MovedByJava social media campaign, looking back and encouraging others to share their stories and experiences from using Java over the past 25 years.

Java Developer Journal April 2002 – page 5
Java Developer Journal April 2002 – page 98

This column really has some dire predictions for the time, notably this prediction:

… 5 years? Wow.

Admittedly, the threat at that time that Microsoft’s .NET and the C# language in particular was going to take over the world was real, although Java still lived on to dominate severside processing for many years.

It sounds like at this time, Mono, the open source framework the article refers to was still in development, but even now that’s come and been around for a number of years this threat really came to nothing:

Even as Microsoft themselves have developed their own cross platform runtime for .NET apps on Windows, MacOS and Linux (.NET Core) clearly cashing in on the interest in Mono and Java’s own cross platform support with JVMs for every platform, again… this threat has still come to not much.

At the time this article was written in 2002 Java J2SE 1.4 was just released, and 18 years later we’re getting new major releases every 6 months and Java 15 was just released in September 2020, there’s clearly life in a 25 year old language yet.

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