James FRICK’N Gosling

January 18, 2008

One of the perks of working in a large company are dog and pony shows. A few months ago, James Gosling came by for a impromptu Q&A session with the Alpharetta development staff. Unfortunately, I missed his past visit as I was on mandatory vacation. Luckily, he returned and I was able to ask a few questions first hand.

Note: I am not nor never will be a professional reported. The answers I listed are paraphrased and smell of commentary.

What advantage does JavaFX bring to the market over existing technologies such as Adobe Flex/AIR and Microsoft Silverlight?

The JavaFX has a deeper set of APIs. JavaFX will benefit on the evolution of the Java platform and as a result exceed in performance response and transaction logic.

This is very similar to the response he gave in a referenced InfoQ post. Although I can speculate on possible synergies to be gained a Java Desktop/Webtop framework, I am suspicious. In the past, Swing and AWT suffered from a bad reputation associated to performance.  Another concern is Sun’ success with JSF.  Not to say, JSF has performance issues – but the development community on a whole has been less thrilled to adopt this framework. Transaction logic plays more into the coupling between the server and the client. No doubt, Sun will be able to streamline remote invocations.

Will JavaFX offer a remote synchronization object similar to the Flex Data Services product from Adobe?

Sun has a multitude of different remote packages. With Java, you can utilize RMI, Corba, Sockets, HTTP, etc. In the Java platform you can build numerous manners to synchronize data between the server and the client.

I did not personally ask this question. Listening to the discussion, I felt the question left out some details. Flex Data Services offers the ability for the server to synchronize changes on a data object with multiple clients. The server pushes the changes to the clients. True this can be achieved via coding in Java. But, I believe the question was asking if a product is available to simply bind synchronization.

Have you revised your opinion of scripting languages on JVM since the Groovy Panel Discussion at JavaOne 2004?

In a nutshell, yes. Scripting languages have made improvements along with the JVM itself to support scripting languages as a plausible option for quick development. He stated Ruby and Ruby on Rails has brought a lot of support work into Sun. Sun has supported them by introducing features into their product suite e.g. NetBeans. However, Ruby on Rails provides development flexibility at the cost of scalability and performance. Developers should find the best balance for their requirements when evaluating tools.

In a later discussion I asked if he thought Scala, Ruby, or Groovy could be used to tie Java components together. Thereby, a developer could leverage the performance of java components but still have the agility to construct a dynamically changing application. Absolutely.

I was very impressed with James, more so than when I saw him at JavaOne or on YouTube. He is a very smart. And, he knows his specialty.  Several times he was asked specifics on EJB. He was quick to inform us he was not the best person to ask. Lot of people where shocked that he does not know everything about Java, but I was impressed.

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