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Q&A (2): MS's Pryke-Smith on Java

The independent standards body has been talked up for about a month now. What's the current plan?
Written by Martin Veitch, Contributor

The meeting that was scheduled to happen between us and other related concerns hasn't. We just haven't been able to get everyone around the table. We're still committed to it and [the consortium] should definitely happen by the end of the year.

Symantec has been impressing developers with its Café Java language implementation and has a significant lead in sales. What's your view of the product?

They were in the marketplace first and have the majority market share but we have a lot of things they don't, such as speed, integration with ActiveX, the ability to debug multiple app-lets, and interactive debugging from Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. You have to bear in mind that it's a very small market and there is going to be a lot of curiosity.

What's your general opinion of Java?

It's an unproven language. There aren't many major Java applications out there today. There are a lot of people playing with it but there are aren't any mission-critical applications written in Java. The potential for the language is that it doesn't carry a lot of the history you have with C. For instance, it behaves the way you would expect it to behave. Unless you've got years of specialised experience that doesn't happen with C. It's a very clean language and it's purely object-based.

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