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Sat, 13 Mar 2004
The end of the Java ice age?
Glenn writes about the Java interlude in programming language development. As he said, it's nice to discover other people of a similar opinion.

During the time that Java was getting started, I was very interested in Dylan, an OO dynamic language (dialect of Lisp, really) under development at Apple. In fact I almost took a job working at Harlequin, which was doing a Windows port of Dylan, but my interview with Peter Norvig convinced me that Dylan was likely to lose the mindshare battle with Java, so I ended up at Apple working on a port of Java to the Newton OS.

I would love to see the Dylan effort get off the ground again. The Gwydion hackers are keeping it on life support, but it really needs a shot in the arm. A while back Functional Objects (the name for the remnants of the Harlequin team) was talking about open sourcing their Linux port, which would have been excellent. The company's web page has been silent for a while and there haven't been many posts in comp.lang.dylan, either. I guess they'd rather have their technology go silently into the night rather than give it a chance to revive in the open source space.

In the meantime, James has been looking at the Dylan stuff, and the semantics of Groovy are headed for Dylanness, although there's a fair bit left to go, and the voices calling for Java compatibility may prevent it from getting there. There are three talks on improving Python performance at PyCon this year, so perhaps someday python might be in the running for high performance dynamic language. Or maybe there's a dark horse sitting in some arch repository somewhere (I can dream)...

[22:35] | [computers/programming/java] | # | TB | F | G | 14 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

Nice is also related to Dylan, since it is based on multi-methods (generic functions), so if you are missing that aspect you should definitely give it a try. Nice has stronger emphasis on static type-checking than Dylan or Groovy. Still, Nice is, like those languages, much more expressive than Java thanks to its powerful type system and other features like anonymous functions, optional arguments, tuples, ...
Posted by Daniel Bonniot at Sun Mar 14 17:40:39 2004

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