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Michael Smith has another virtual visit with Hal Helms, this time on his talk about "Java for ColdFusion Programmers".

Michael Smith: Hal, in the blurb on your talk you refer to Java as the "800-lb gorilla that's waiting for you at the end of the alley." What does that mean?

Hal Helms: It means that Java is big and it's not going away. In one sense, Java is even more important than simply its preeminence as a language.

MS: In what sense is that?

HH: Java is the most visible, well-recognized implementation of object orientation. And it's object orientation (OO) that someone programming today is almost certainly going to have to deal with. Imagine that we're in a boat in the ocean. On one side of us is the tidal wave of Java; on the other is the tsunami of the .NET platform.

MS: Two different things, but both big?

HH: Well, both big, certainly. The Gartner Group, a well-respected IT prognosticating outfit, says that within three years, about 45% of development will be done in Java, about 45% on the .NET platform, with the remaining 10% allocated to all the other languages.

MS: And that 10% includes ColdFusion.

HH: Right. But although Java and the .NET platform are at war for the hearts and minds of developers, they both represent good implementations of the principles of OO. So, they're far more alike than they are different.

MS: So, why concentrate on Java instead of Visual Basic.NET or C Sharp? Is Java really better?

HH: I wouldn't say "better", no. But while the .NET platform intentionally hides a lot of the internals of OO from programmers, Java deliberately exposes those same internals. And if you want to learn OO-

MS: -which you've been telling people that they need to do.

HH: Yes, I have been on something of a mission to encourage and admonish developers to come to terms with OO. And for that, I don't think there's a better language than Java.

MS: Now, I know that you give a five-day class on Java for ColdFusion programmers, but what do you think you'll be able to accomplish in a single talk?

HH: I want to do two things:
(1)help people understand the foundational ideas behind OO and
(2)show how simple an actual Java application can be.

MS: Simple?

HH: I don't mean to say that Java is something that you learn in a day -- or even a month. But Java is dependably consistent and elegantly implemented. Don't take my word for it: come see for yourself!

MS: I will. See you there.

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