Tim Bray has just joined Sun (congratulations, Sun). One of the interesting snippets in the middle of the article was:
In fact I personally believe that Java’s share of enterprise software will decline, but not in favor of anything from Redmond. I think that dynamic languages (Python and friends), particularly in conjunction with Test-Driven Development, are looking more like winners all the time. They generally are cheaper to program in, run just as fast, and have fewer bugs; what’s not to like?
I wonder if Tim’s in a position to help Sun see that the drive to make J2EE heavier and heavier will ultimately hurt them? There’s a definite groundswell out there of folks pushing back against the monster that is modern enterprise development (just look at the spread of the Groovy meme, and things like Spring). Will companies like Sun and BEA listen, or will they simply become less relevant? I’m hoping that Sun at least listens, but I’m not holding my breath: they’ve got an awful lot invested in the J2EE, and seem to think that the only way to move into the future is to add even more features.
The best thing that they could do for themselves and for the development community would be to scrap at least half of J2EE, and move back to a more lightweight, declarative style of applications development. Perhaps the 1.5 metadata stuff is a Trojan horse to let them do that, but I suspect not.