On Microsoft’s PDC Anders Hejlsberg gave a talk about two new keywords in C# – async and await.
I will not get into them to much – those interested in more can start with taking a look at actual presentation. In essence, they give you new way of dealing with asynchronous tasks. You just point to system where asynchronous operation might occur and C# (or VB.NET) compiler will build all background code that it needs to handle this gracefully. For me it does same revolutionary thing as yield did for enumeration. Seeing this, I got pissed at Java.
Part of my time I spend as Java developer. And I get pissed at it all the time. Whether it is half-assed implementation of generics, absence of in-language support for yield, and in a year-or-so, I will extend this to absence of async and await.
True Java believer would say that all those things are just syntactic sugar – there is nothing magic in them that could not be written by hand. I consider this irrelevant. It is not point whether something can be written, to me most important is point how easily. If I use e.g. yield, there is almost no chance I will mess it up in three lines it takes to do it. When I write code for it in Java, this expands to few tenths of lines needed for state machine. Error chance and debugging time increases exponentially.
I value Java a lot. It is beautiful language at it’s core and it gave huge boost to development of all managed languages. However, it seems as Latin language to me. Nice and beautiful but there is just no significant development of it’s syntax. It takes more and more effort for me to switch between new modern languages (where I would include C#) and Java. I always find something missing…
P.S. Yes, this post is full of exaggeration, but I do not consider it too much off mark.