The State of Java
Subject:   Java's Learning Wall
Date:   2004-10-28 07:16:54
From:   GregWilson
I'll take Java over C++ any day, especially as a teaching language, but I'm very disappointed by how difficult it is to use the standard open source Java web programming toolset in the classroom. Students of mine at U of Toronto are trying to build a baby version of SourceForge using Tomcat, Hibernate, Tapestry, Eclipse, Ant, and JUnit. They're in their final year, and all have strong GPAs and/or industry experience, but it took most of them 30-40 hours to build a (very) simple book lending system. Almost all of that time was spent wrestling with classpaths and XML configuration files, rather than learning anything useful about building modern web applications.

30-40 hours may not seem like much, but it's a third of the total time available for a one-term class. I don't think (and I don't think most other instructors think) it's either fair or sensible to spend a third of a course just getting stuff set up. In my opinion, if this "learning wall" (it's more than just a curve) isn't fixed, Java will never be a sensible choice for college-level courses on web programming. This means that students will never graduate already knowing how to use it, so companies will always be faced with the cost of training new recruits. The upshot will be that only the big ones will be able to afford Java, and since big companies mostly do conservative things...

Greg Wilson
University of Toronto

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  • Java's Learning Wall
    2004-11-01 15:28:20  robert hayes [View]


    Take a look at and

    The first is a POJO application framework that lets you plug in what you want (ex: Hibernate), or use the default Spring implementation.

    The second is a proprietary plug-in for Eclipse that helps deal with mundane middleware type stuff (like config files).

    Incidentally... there IS a movement towards declarative programming these days. So if you don't have tools to help you out with the many XML files you'll be dealing with, you'll be doing them by hand. There's a reason for Microsoft's "XML everwhere" mantra.

    The other option is to go to .net. They are aware of the "round-up the tools" phenom in Java and have tried to put a lot of that stuf in