Sunday, 28 October 2012

C# versus Java

Recently I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet and so immediately entered the world of Android development. My old friend Java beckoned, and it seems that Java has not kept up with modern programming developments.

Functional Programming

This paradigm has completely passed Java by. C# supports Lamda expression, you can pass functions as parameters to functions, return functions from functions and proper closures (making local variables available to the lamda function). The best you can do with Java is anonymous inner classes, clumsy and lots more typing.

There is no LINQ or IEnumerable<> interface equivalent in Java, however Java does have its own version  of the foreach statement.

Clean up

I like C#'s IDisposable clean-up pattern, OK its not perfect especially when you need to share a resource.
The great thing about tidying up resources in C# is the using statement. The latest version of Java has implemented something similar using try{}, not available for Android Java though, hmm.

String or string

I'm forever typing string instead of String in Eclipse, gahhhh! I can see why now C# now uses boxing it makes things simpler if you also regard types such as int and floats as objects. I also hate having to use NumberFormat to format ints/longs/floats into strings, just have ToString(), oh they can't in Java because they are not objects.


When I first started writing C# I couldn't believe how lax it was as you didn't need to say what exceptions a function throws. Going back to Java, having to either catch exceptions or declare them is a real pain in the A. I can see this leading to bad practices such as programmers using try/catch around every piece of code, thus hiding problems.


User clicks the button, so you need a click listener? That means implementing an interface or using an anonymous inner class in java. I consider C#'s built in event keyword a superior, simpler and more concise alternative to the Observer pattern. Also C#'s extension methods are a great alternative for the Visitor pattern, which you can't really achieve in Java (or in C# using OOP techniques) due to the lack of Multiple Inheritance.


I use Netbeans (or MPLAB X) for PIC development and it is great. VS2010 with CodeRush is just heavenly. What the heck is Eclipse? A throw back to the 1990's? Eclipse is not pleasant to use, I find it slower to type code, I hate having to hover over a red squiggle to see the bug info, intellisense is slow or non-existant and it has another bunch of key-strokes to learn. I do like Eclipse's auto fix feature though and it does seem to auto-generate boiler plate in an intelligent fashion. Eventually I'll grow to like it, maybe!

Final Thoughts

C# has developed into a multi-paradigm language where as Java seems to have stayed stuck. I guess Sun's demise has not helped Java's cause, it would of been better for Google to have bought Sun instead of Oracle. I once loved Java, my first OOP language,  I scorned C# as a rip off of Java, but now it is clear C# has features that fix many of Java's flaws. Pity C# is a Microsoft technology though.

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