The highlight of Day 2 of the 3rd IndicThreads.com Conference On Java were the discussions and code labs on building social networking software. The Google Developer Relations team consisting of Rajdeep Dua, Anash Oommen and Vijaya Machavolu showed how one could use OpenSocial API to build software that runs on top of popular social networks like Orkut and LinkedIn.
DJ Patil, Chief Scientist at LinkedIn talked of how LinkedIn was using the OpenSocial APIs to run feature-rich software on LinkedIn. Experts at the sessions felt that social networking based software will see great demand and growth in the near future and OpenSocial provided a great framework to build such applications. In the post lunch Hackathon the delegates were guided into creating and running an OpenSocial gadget on a social networking website like Orkut.
The Inside Google Web Toolkit (GWT) session by Anirudh Dewani showed how cross browser RIA applications could be easily developed using GWT. A couple of things to note were, 1) despite GWT being around for some time now, the level of GWT awareness amongst delegates seemed about the same as last year. 2) There was interest in developing RIAs for mobile browsers. GWT as yet doesn’t offer such a solution.
Later in the afternoon was scheduled a panel discussion on “Is Java the language for the future?” The panelists were Atul Kahate, Dhananjay Nene and DJ Patil. DJ Patil said that the choice of software depended on 1) what do you want 2) community 3) ability to scale 4) is the language extensible 5) ability to communicate with other languages. The panelists agreed that that the choice of programming language depended primarily on what the context and domain for a software was.
They felt that having a vibrant community driving the language was more important that just the language features. Java’s robust performance and ability to scale will ensure that it continues to be a major player at least in the near future. However it was felt that the long development time for Java applications will lead to Java losing out in many segments to more rapid development languages. Java losing out on the desktop and in rich internet client applications was another point that was noted by the panelists.
There was no conclusive answer to the question “Is Java the language for the future?” The implied answers seemed to be Yes, Java is ready for the future when it comes to enterprise and serverside applications. However the jury seems to be still out as regards Java’s future in other segments.