I am a web developer working for a large company and I was just assigned the task to learn Java for support of our E-commerce applications (SAP, Haht). Our company is a Microsoft shop, however, Java is currently being used on our company website ONLY for order entry. (Therefore, Java is only being used in a small portion of our site.) I would prefer to eliminate Java and focus on ActiveX since we are a Microsoft shop; therefore, it is one less thing we would have to learn, support, and not worry about Microsoft not supporting it and making it unstable.
Contrary to the increased hype about Java over the past several years, the future for Java looks very gloomy to me based on two major areas of concern:
(1) I must be concerned about Microsoft's direction of Java since they control the Browser and the OS and sit on $40 Billion in CASH. They control whether the Java VM gets put in the browser or OS. Internet Explorer has 95% of the browser market. I recently heard that Microsoft dropped the Java VM from Windows XP. They obviously want ActiveX to be king and Java to be dead as quick as possible.
(2) I'm equally concerned about the future of Java if IBM buys Sun. If IBM buys Sun, Java is doomed for good. IBM has never been good at software, only the hardware. Just look at OS/2. We've also seen what happened to Netscape when AOL bought it... they killed it.
I WOULD LIKE TO HERE YOUR COMMENTS TO THESE TWO MAJOR CONCERNS.
Putting these two major Java concerns aside, please answer these two questions:
(1) What is the oldest version of the Java VM that is typically supported by Java developers?
(2) What is involved to convert Java to ActiveX?
(3) Is ActiveX supported by the latest release of Netscape(I would assume not)?
Please answer these last three questions AND tell me where you think Java is headed. If you think Java has a future, tell me how that would be possible based on my two major concerns/projections. Thanks!