Interesting discussion at lunch today. The Javarians asserted “Yes” (although I’m certain they didn’t think through the implications).
A good counterfactual would consider the result of the void left in 1996 without Java.
Smalltalk may have flourished. C# wouldn’t have been created and instead we would have seen VB7, VB8, etc. C++ would have been pressed into more unsuitable domains. Would there have been space for D… ?
However, this is not that article. We assumed the existence of C#, .NET and Mono. Clearly Java 1.0 would not survive if introduced into a 2013 world without Java
What about Java 7 or 8?
Without developers, even a great language is useless. You can’t hire developers for it. You don’t get third party libraries or people blogging (or writing on Stack Overflow) about how to solve various problems.
Enterprise developers from C++ would have migrated to .NET or Mono already depending on whether they were on Windows or Linux. Java wouldn’t be the great leap forward (for typical enterprise teams) that Java 1.2 was in 1998.
No, even Java 7 would not succeed if released today. A big part of what makes it successful is the huge number of talented and experienced Java developers.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?