Navigation:  Articles > Aug-1997 >

The Great State of Denial

Previous pageReturn to chapter overviewNext page

Peter Vogel          

I've spent the past five years of my career working on LAN-based applications while surrounded by mainframe programmers. Every once in a while I'd meet a "big iron kind of guy" who would explain to me that "all this client/server stuff is a waste of time." I just figured that they were deep into denial and moved on.
Well, I'm deep into denial on Java, folks. I have this whole theory about why we don't need to know it and will never need to know it. My feeling is that we'll all write in whatever language we want and it will be compiled into Java bytecode. In fact, when the bytecode shows up at the user's computer it will probably be fed through a JIT compiler and converted into native executable code. But the key point is that I won't have to learn anything new. A lot of this may be true, but I should be realistic about my motives: I've sunk a lot of time and effort into becoming a Microsoft/Windows tools guru and I don't want to see it all washed away.
What has this got to with Access? Well, I'm willing to bet real money that the next version of all of the compiled Visual Studio products (Visual C++, Visual J++, and Visual Basic) will compile to Java bytecode in their next releases. Microsoft has already leaked that VB will compile to Java bytecode in its next release (code-named "Vegas"). Because most of us probably switch-hit between Visual Basic and Access, this should give us all pause. I also suspect that we'll see Visual Basic fully integrated into the same IDE as VC++ and J++.
I don't think the various Office tools are immune. Think about it. All of the Office applications host VBA as a foreign body, and the only interaction between this foreign body and its host environments occurs through Automation. I don't see any reason why a Java development environment can't be hosted by Office applications. Nor do I see any reason why the Java code created in this environment can't interact with its host through Automation. If VB and J++ are going to be sharing the same IDE, swapping VB out and Java in should be trivial.
Putting Java in Office would, in one step, make Microsoft the provider of the most powerful Java application development suite in the world. Just watch them. And start deciding now what you want to do about it.



See all the Editorials   or ALL THE ONLINE ARTICLES