But times have changed and the language market is more fragmented. Java has
retreated from its dominant position in 2001 and is declining in use. Ruby has overtaken C# in projections of
long-term trends. Meanwhile, languages like Clojure, Scala, and others have become the talk of the town among
self-proclaimed alpha geeks, though they've yet to make much of a market impact and we've only begun to see these
languages put to task in real projects.
A few weeks ago, I asked Gavin King and Charles Nutter about whether the market, in terms of languages, was
becoming more fractured. Nutter said, "I don't see it as fractured ... I see it as diverse."
King agreed: "'Fractured' in what sense? People have been experimenting with new languages since the dawn of
computing. Most of these 'new' languages we're talking about have been around for quite a number of years."
Neither saw this state of affairs as likely to coalesce again into a few dominant languages. Instead, they saw
this diversity as a fertile ground of ideas in which languages will share innovation with each other.
According to King, "A whole lot of cross-pollination goes on, and you see some kind of convergence in the space
of language features, in the sense that some things that turn out to be good ideas are rapidly (or slowly) adopted
by many languages." Nutter believes "the day is rapidly approaching where we will see much greater collaboration
between the various JVM languages." To that end, Nutter participates in a JVM languages group with other
That said, it's easy to overhype the language explosion. There's a lot of talk about these "new" languages, but
their overall market share, while growing, is still less than 1 percent, with the exception
It's hard to imagine another decade of a single language ruling them all. If Nutter and King are right, then
there will be no replacement for Java. Instead, as Sam Ruby once scoffed, we'll use "seven languages to create one
program" and probably, for one platform: the Web cloud.