For 5 years I worked with a group of mostly Java developers who had to drive about an over an hour each way once a week to the client’s office. In this time I managed to avoid ever getting behind the wheel of a car (I’m phobic of driving in big cities, especially New York). I also mostly managed to avoid touching Java. This had less to do with a lack of Java knowledge (though it is not my strength), and more with a dislike of the type of work that Java lends itself to. When I did make the occasional commit to Java code (usually a minor change, I only remember writing a new class once), it often elicited some sort of joke from a co-worker (or myself) that I had actually written in Java. So when I sat through the first part of an ad-hoc “refresher” session on Java for my Software Architecture class, it was reassuring that I didn’t really learn anything new.

The session was mostly based on a series of “Java for C++ Programmers” slides. It seemed that most students in the session knew much of the material, though there were a few questions. As C++ isn’t used or taught that much these days, the slides seem a little dated and only partially appropriate for the audience (though its hard to expect the TA to make a custom presentation of us).

Of course the real issues I’m expecting to have with Java (and the reason I’ve tended to avoid it), don’t involve syntax issues between languages. It has more to do with the differences between the looser scripting languages that I tend to prefer (and find well suited for the work I tend to do) and the stricter style of Java. I see the use and the reason for Java’s pickyness, but personally find kind of boring. What I really wish the session covered was more the use of Eclipse as a Java development environment, preferred formatting and commenting styles, writing and compiling Java on a Mac (which the TA didn’t really seem to know anyways, although about half the class probably uses a Mac), and other sort of “setup” issues.

So, reassured like the scarecrow at the end of the Wizard of Oz who is told that he already has a brain and was only missing the diploma to prove it, I look forward to exploring Java again after almost 10 years of avoiding it. Especially since at the moment I don’t have to worry that I will be pigeon-holed as a Java developer if I do too good of a job.