Java’s emergence 20 years ago was the last time a programming language enamored the industry. It was not the first time: It had been the rhythm of the programming community to anoint a new “it” mainstream programming language every seven years or so. While that pattern has clearly been disrupted, I believe that it is more than possible that another language will sweep into popularity in the coming years.
There were several things that set Java apart. First was a syntax that seemed, initially, to be close to C++. C++ at the time was greatly in demand, but many programmers were finding it challenging to master. By 1995, lip service to the object-oriented paradigm was established in most teams, but many developers struggled with C++, whose flexibility was a two-edged sword: You could program C++ in so many ways that it was difficult to know which was the “correct” object-oriented approach.
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