"Beyond Java" This book is a light read, even I read it in a couple of hours, about the circumstances around Java's success and its possible successor. There's a lot of first hand interviews about what's wrong with Java, what's right with Ruby and other languages and why Rails maybe Ruby's killer application (and why that's important). C# and .NET was not seen as a replacement to Java mainly because it doesn't add enough over Java and the reasons why Java became successful in the first place hasn't changed.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book especially with its lack of depth. The thing that the book struggles with the most, is that it's been almost impossible to guess where the next disruptive technology will come from - most of the comments in the book are feelings or from a subjective point of view.
Some points raised in the book that reinforced my existing prejudices:
* That future languages and platforms will probably be deployed on .NET and Java VMs. The competition between the two seems to have a positive impact on both - locking out any competitors. That means, there's something to look forward to in Java 7 and .NET 3.
* That VB developers were totally hosed by .NET. Rails and environments like it will bring back that kind of development. The first to harness the disaffected VB developer wins.
* Continuations are going to be a key piece of infrastructure.
* Sun is moving too slowly especially with the JSR process. For example, the solution to JAR hell won't be available until 2008.
Update: The ServerSide's post article has some good comments and responses from Bruce Tate.
A few more things read over the last week or so on Ruby:
* Updates from the recent RubyConf 2005 JRuby Progress "...With the stackless interpreter, stack-depth was limited only by available memory. He showed a fibonacci calculation of 3000 (64MB), then 150000 (1G) with amazingly good performance..." and mocking in Ruby with Lafcadio and MockFS.
* Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby "This is just a small Ruby book. It won’t crush you."
* What Is Ruby on Rails "Rails helps you achieve this new level of productivity by combining the right ingredients in the right amounts."
* You Can't Educate Pork Links to slides on "Dynamically Typed Languages on the Java Platform".