There are many reasons that Python is beating Java. Actually, hold on a second. What does “beating Java” mean?
Beating Java at what?
I think the answer is popularity or prestige.
Okay, well in general Java isn’t nearly as popular or prestigious as it once was.
Believe It Or Not, Once Upon A Time Java Was Cool
Yes, Java used to be cool. It was the new new thing and thousands of developers and companies flocked to Java.
And once they all showed up, they ruined it. Well, not exactly. It’s not that simple. More like, they ruined it for newbies.
Specifically, when a large crowd shows up to a programming language, over time bigger, more professional projects are built and those tend to add a level of professionalism and standardization that takes a lot of the fun away.
The Fun Police
New things are fun because the fun police haven’t shown up yet and taken your toys away yet. The fun police tend to wear suits or khaki pants, work at large technology companies like IBM, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle. Their life is spent in meetings and they care about standards.
Sure, they ship software, but like in the slowest and most careful way possible. For them, billions of actual dollars are on the line. So, first they want to do no harm. Second, they might want to make customers happy with the new build.
Mostly, it better not break.
For the last 15 years at least, Java has been the Enterprise language of choice and everything in that ecosystem seems more bent toward large software companies than anything else. And I get that, I really do.
But Those Approaches Are No Fun!
Python is used all over the place, but it’s managed to stay well-managed and fun for a good long time. You can still just download Python and start hacking away at little scripts and apps and things.
Now, there are large projects in Python, and you can safely ignore those. They aren’t “the one true standard” the way that those things become in Java.
And a lot of cool things are built in Python that are meant for “unprofessional” developers. As in, amateurs, weekend hackers, and people just looking to solve little problems. That also includes data scientists, AI researchers, and machine learning stuff too.
But most of that isn’t built for the “enterprise” crowd the way Java things are.
Python Is Fun
So, I would say the spirit of well managed fun keeps Python in a good place to grow and be popular.
And I’m sure one day Python will lose its spot like has happened to other languages before it. (People used to love Basic and Visual Basic and Perl)
The good news is I’m sure Python will be replaced by something fun. Or at least, there will always be a fun and useful language out there like Python. And that makes me a happy programmer.