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Development Tug-o-War

Posted by castelaz on July 9, 2003 at 3:52 PM PDT

Sun wants to dramatically increase the number of Java developers with Rave. They believe a significant portion of this increase will be accomplished by broadening the audience rather than converting existing developers. Many of these new faces will be end-users, or domain-experts. Rave promises to introduce a significant number of non-traditional programmers to the ranks of Java developers.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Amateur and professional developers tend to inhabit different areas of the programming spectrum. Each group experiences development from different perspectives and responsibilities. There is little overlap between them. Yet, there is tension between the groups. Wizard-enabled amateurs create applications quickly and easily, and wonder why the professionals are sooooo slooooow, and always act like they're overburdened. The professionals, on the other hand, roll their eyes and sigh as they attempt to scale a quick-and-dirty application, or pick up the pieces of a brittle one-off turned mission critical.

Rave will not be alone in helping to foster this tug-o-war, there are currently plenty of tools that allow the two groups to clash. Nor, is it like the tug-o-war is a recent phenomenon. The roots of the tension can be traced back to early spreadsheets like VisiCalc, and can be found in the old engineers vs. hobbyists debate surrounding Turbo Pascal.

There are interesting days ahead for Java, and it isn't just in terms of technology.

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