Do You Drive a Rolls to the Corner Shop?

November 22, 2006

Have you ever bought a Rolls-Royce just so you can drive to the corner shop?

We run a number of web apps at my current company, and one of our apps is built in Java.

Now, this was about a couple of years ago, but we thought we’d give Java a shot as that’s what pretty much everyone else in Wellington (now Silicon Welly) appeared to be doing at the time, and the general business buzz was saying ‘Yay!’ What were we missing out on?

Turns out nothing much, in my opinion.

A couple of years on, and after dabbling in numerous other technologies I’m coming round to thinking that building a web app using Java is just too damn hard. It just appears to be total over-engineering. Call me daft. Call me stupid. It’s just too slow to get anything done.

Now I know this will spark off truck loads of debate, but c’mon – look at the alternatives out there:

  • PHP
  • ASP .Net
  • Perl/CGI
  • Ruby on Rails (Hooray!)
  • Oracle & Apache ModPlsql
  • (dare I even say it) Cold Fusion

I’d be placing my money on Rails where Web Apps are concerned. It’s fun. And it seems quite easy. That, combined with presentation frameworks such as Prototype.js, Scriptaculous (prototype extension), and MooFX. The great thing about all of these is that you can be up and running writing 95% of what you need in a matter of hours. Sure, you need some nous, but at least you don’t need a PhD in rocket science (which, incidentally, I as good as have!)
I’ve mucked around with all the above and built real simple web apps in a matter of hours. From scratch. Whenever I’ve asked (even supposedly experienced) Java developers to do similar things it oftens takes days, maybe even a couple of weeks.

Is it just me? Am I a technical moron? Or do others think that Java is just overkill? It just has to be simpler.

Technology for technology’s sake? Following the masses? Try this: KISSKeep It Simple Stupid

UPDATE 24/11/2006

A beery chat with an old friend reveals another viewpoint – “It’s not JAVA that’s the problem – it’s the people that code JAVA.  They like to make it as complicated as possible!”


One Response to “Do You Drive a Rolls to the Corner Shop?”

  1. James Fraser Says:

    Well said Dan! Over-engineering is rife within NZ’s IT community. Spiralling budgets and unmaintainable code are all too common experiences when over zealous architects are combined with purist coders.

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