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The 80/20 Rule for Framework Developers

Some of Gosling's comments in "An Interview with James Gosling" (at ) may interest you vis-a-vis the 80/20 feature rule and how it applies to framework development. The brief excerpt:

JDC: The Java language adds features with every release, and this is generally good, but the whole thing is getting pretty large. If you could take a few things out, what would they be?

JG: The Java language actually doesn't add very many features. The Java language itself has been very, very stable, and relatively few things have actually been added in any release. What has really gone nuts is all the different APIs that are part of [the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition,] J2SETM. And this question, in some sense, is unanswerable. It says, if you could take a few things out of [the] J2SE [platform], what would they be? One of the tragedies we have is that we've got so many customers and everything that is in the platform is critical to a pretty large group of customers. So, for any particular person, any particular developer, not all of [the] J2SE [platform] is going to matter. But for every developer, the slice of the platform that they care about is different. It's always a constant struggle to try to avoid putting things in. And actually, if I had to pick some API that I've never used - honest I've never used the [Java DataBase ConnectivityTM] JDBCTM APIs. I've never written a piece of code that used the database stuff. So, personally, you could delete [the] JDBC [API] from [the] J2SE [platform] and it would not affect any code that I've ever written. But lots of other people would be really upset.

Dominic Cooney
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Very offtopic, does anyone know what internal ECMA report Gosling is referring to at the very end?  He considers it "very interesting reading." 

A Usenet search turned up someone asking the same question, but no serious answers.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

You might be able to find the article by Googling Sun & JCT1. JCT1 was the process through which Sun submitted Java to ECMA and ISO.  But, since it's an internal report, I doubt that it was made publicly available.

Sun pulled out of the standards process because ECMA refused to protect Sun's copyrights.  I've noticed that Microsoft was able to maintain theirs with the submittal of C#.  I'd be willing to bet that the 'interesting reading' Gosling referred to revolved around this issue.

Nick Hebb
Thursday, April 11, 2002

Uhmm...don't use Usenet if you want to actually find information.

Speaking of 80/20, Mozilla would have done itself a huge favor developing no more than a browser. Instead they muck it up with mail, news, chat, compose, etc.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

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