As your program grows in size, the lack of strong typing basically kills your ability to handle a very large program and so you don’t find the million-line Perl program.
I’ve met Cliff, and he’s very smart, but I have to disagree on two points. First, no one who’s used anything with a better static type system than Java consider’s Java type system “strong”. (If you can still get a
NullPointerException from a generic-enhanced collection, Java has a ways to go.)
Second, the reason that there aren’t many million-line Perl programs is that the people who are capable of writing and managing million-line Perl programs have better ways to organize their projects than glomming a million lines of Java into a single shared-everything instance. That’s setting aside the qualities of encapsulation and abstraction that Java-the-language doesn’t have, preferring instead to push that problem to tool vendors and AbstractFactoryFactoryInjectors which consume vast swaths of XML to get around Java’s static code fetish. I can only imagine how much larger the Java code would be without all of those XML files.
I also recommend James Robertson’s take on things, from Earth to Sun.
I’m curious to hear how many million-line Java applications exist in the world and what they do. I suspect that they’re primarily web applications that speak SOAP or REST over strict SOA or HTTP boundaries — just the sort of boundaries beyond which it doesn’t matter if your code is Java, Perl, C++, or the Korn shell. You know, because they’re completely network bound.