Sun Microsystems has won the battle over the acceptance of Java as the dominant programming language, beating Microsoft.
Speaking at Sun's Java Enterprise Solutions Symposium in Paris last week, Daryl Plummer, senior analyst at the Gartner Group, said: 'Java fragmentation has forestalled. Microsoft has been losing ground in controlling Java - you could even say it has lost the war.
'Microsoft has moved away from Java. It's no longer about Java versus Microsoft,' he said. 'There are no other serious competitors - nothing else is suited to network-oriented computing. Without cross platform you cannot build for an internet economy.'
However, Plummer warned that while Microsoft had moved away from dominating the programming language, it would still be a force for Sun to reckon with as it builds up Java-based applications.
'Microsoft is a strong tools company,' he said. 'Sun will still have to contend with Microsoft, whether it be with Visual Basic or some other programming language such as Cool.'
Plummer believed that Java was suitable for vital applications. 'The focus on Java is changing from client to server, from applet-based to server-based development, and from simplified to mission critical.'
He added that Java will become the most popular programming language and platform technology for network computing applications until at least 2003. Plummer said that over the next few years, use of Java would be highest in the middle areas of application development and deployment rather than the client or data end.
He estimated there will be a sharp upturn in certified Java developers in the run-up to the millennium. Of the one million Java developers worldwide today, Plummer said that between 500,000 and 600,000 are casual applet builders, 250,000 to 300,000 are serious developers and about 50,000 are certified Java developers.
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