Dynamic languages and enterprise apps

We hoped 2003 would bring a rapprochement between the dominant enterprise VMs, Java and .Net, and the dynamic-language VMs that are still in many ways well-kept secrets. That mostly didn't happen. At the JavaOne 2003 technical keynote in June there was a nod in the direction of JSR (Java Specification Request) 223, which would enable languages such as PHP to be used in the Java Web tier. But the stewards of the enterprise VMs still aren't pushing to integrate them with the popular and productive dynamic-language VMs.

Jython, the Java/Python hybrid, has a growing cult following, but isn't on Sun's radar screen. Microsoft has yet to deliver on its early promises to make dynamic languages first-class citizens of the CLR. Here's hoping that the many VMs that flourished in 2003 will work better together in 2004. [Full story at InfoWorld.com (part of 2003 Technology of the Year)]
The ever-quotable Sean McGrath has said, of Jython:
Jython, lest you do not know of it, is the most compelling weapon the Java platform has for its survival into the 21st century. [Sean McGrath]
Hyperbole? Maybe not. This weekend, I was working with the Java API to Sleepycat's Berkeley DB XML, and it felt like one of those bad dreams in which you're slogging through molasses toward an ever-receding goal. I switched to Jython and quickly got the job done. And it was the same job (indexing and searching content) using the same engine (Berkeley DB XML).

Of course the even better solution was native Python bound to DB XML, a combination that is not so easy to materialize. When I finally got that working, things really started to cook.

Somebody asked me yesterday why platform vendors like Microsoft and Sun are never at the forefront of dynamic-language innovation. I don't know why that's so, but it does seem to be true.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/01/07.html#a881