Java is still on course to become the dominant development language by 2002. That was the message given by attendees at last week's Application Development 99 conference in London.
In a survey of over 120 programmers, conducted via touch screen kiosks at the event, 60 per cent of respondents said that Java will be the key development language within the next three years.
Gary Barnett, analyst at researcher Ovum, said: "The reasons why Java will be dominant are a combination of technical virtues and politics. But, as a technology, it is widely acknowledged that Java is easier to use than C++ and is a good general language for business applications with wide vendor support."
Of the respondents who have already developed a production system in Java, the rapid evolution and immaturity of the language is seen as the biggest development headache. Concerns over performance and the skills shortage also hold projects back.
"I have never known a technology that has gone from all hype and no substance to something that is viable as quickly Java has," said Barnett. "The fact that it will take Java three years to become dominant is simply to do with having to wait for the skills and supporting technology, such as tools to implement a broad range of enterprise class solutions."
The rise of Java, however, does not mean the death of fourth generation languages (4GLs), developers agreed - 85 per cent of respondents feel there is a future for 4GLs while 68 per cent say they are easier to use than Java.
"We have seen an over emphasis on Java and to some extent 4GLs have been eclipsed," said Barnett. "Sooner or later there was going to be some redistribution."
For more stories see this week's issue of Computing
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