Australian software developers have denied claims that they are trailing their European and US counterparts in the adoption of Java.
Stephen Brady, Progress Software's vice president for Asia-Pacific, recently told ARN that Australian developers are reluctant to take up the Java baton and the lag threatens to jeopardise their future opportunities in the world market (ARN September 2, 1998, p. 30).
According to Brady: "There is much written about Java in the local press but when you lift the lid, there's not much activity [in Java development] beyond the banking industry."
However, Bruce Linn, chief executive officer of Camtech, disputes Brady's claims.
"I don't see the evidence that we're trailing the rest of the world," Linn said. "In fact we are doing a development in Java for an electronic payment gateway product and Sun Microsystems - who is sponsoring the development - thinks our project is so leading edge that we're within the top three or four companies in the world doing this type of product."
Linn argues that there's a "fairly wide uptake" of Java in Australia, particularly for Internet-based applications.
"Internet products by far are showing the greatest uptake of Java technology, but as the Internet is becoming all pervasive, so too is Java," Linn said.
Dion Gillard, director of Multitask Consulting, claims it is not the developers that are slow - it's the IT managers they sell to.
"Developers jumped on with both feet from the outset," Gillard said. "But Australian companies have been pretty conservative."
"But in the last four or five months there's been a big turnaround in the industry," Gillard said. "A lot of companies are passing their pilot stages for Java and getting down to the serious business end where they're working out how they can make money from it."
And Gillard suggests that is no different to the US.
"We are on par with the way the US has adopted Java," he said. "But Europe is beating both of us to the punch."
The only potential obstacle for the Java juggernaut is a splintering of the technology, warns Linn.
"There is not much risk involvement - pro-vided the vendors keep the faith," Linn said. "Historically, they all go off and do their own version and the developer community is crying out for them not to do that with Java."