Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Big Tent

I recently attended a StL Java SIG meeting: a presentation on JRuby by Mark Volkmann.

As a Groovy fan, I have been a bit concerned about the press on JRuby lately: it's well known that Sun hired 2 major guys (Nutter and Enebo) for JRuby support, and had big plans to hit JRuby V 1.0 at Java One (they hit V 0.9.9 -- is Wayne Gretzky on the design committee?)

With all this hoopla, I wondered: what's up with Groovy? After all, 2 years ago when I was into Jython, Groovy had all the mindshare, with its own JSR etc. I can't keep up...

Some comments at the Java SIG expanded my view, though... To borrow an analogy from the American political parties, I've realized that the JVM is a "big tent" which can acommodate a lot of players and viewpoints. There's room for all kinds of tools and languages. I recently heard on Java Posse that there are dozens -- hundreds! -- of languages that run on the JVM. Someone pointed out that Groovy is doing just fine on its own: it has left the nest and doesn't need Mama Sun anymore.

A final thought: in the Microsoft world, a big initiative for one language does not necessarily spell bad news for the others.

No comments: