Leading Kiwi firms set sights on Java

More than half of the people questioned in the latest Computerworld 1000 Survey are planning to use or evaluate the Java programming language, or are doing so already. Of those who responded to the postal survey of 500 IT leaders last November, 38% were not using or evaluating the language, but planned to, while 17% were already either using or evaluating it. Another 45% weren't using or evaluating it and had no plans to. Those surveyed were also asked if they were likely to use Java-based applications during the next 12 months. More than 30% said they were likely to, while another 29% were neutral about it. Yet another 29% thought the chances were very low, while 11% were uncertain.

More than half of the people questioned in the latest Computerworld 1000 Survey are planning to use or evaluate the Java programming language, or are doing so already.

Of those who responded to the postal survey of 500 IT leaders last November, 38% were not using or evaluating the language, but planned to, while 17% were already either using or evaluating it. Another 45% weren’t using or evaluating it and had no plans to. Those surveyed were also asked if they were likely to use Java-based applications during the next 12 months. More than 30% said they were likely to, while another 29% were neutral about it. Yet another 29% thought the chances were very low, while 11% were uncertain.

Wanganui District Council information manager Nigelhuw Morris said he was neutral about using Java-based applications in the next 12 months.

“Really, it’s a case of having our implementation plan in place. We’re currently moving towards being a completely NT site, moving away from Unix Pick.”

He says it’s more likely the council will put its resources into that, rather than new technologies.

“When you look at some of the Java things, we’d probably let someone else do the heavy investigation work and buy into it later.”

However, Morris is keen to evaluate the Java programming language to see how it can be used for getting the council’s mapping databases on to the Internet.

“What people are talking about is that there will be some pretty neat Java-based solutions for getting mapping out there.”

He says the “talk” is that they will be cost-effective, although he is slightly sceptical of that claim. He believes evaluation of the language will be six to 12 months way. “ And we would be looking for packaged solutions rather than self-development.”

Morris says that in addition to cost, effectiveness is another issue. “Will the products do what people say?” He would also be interested in a low maintenance package — one that needs little support to keep running.

An IT manager who did not wish to be named but worked with a New Zealand manufacturing company said his company wouldn’t be looking at any new technology like Java until it had “tidied up” its existing packages.

The manager said he planned to evaluate the Java programming language in the long-term. “But that will be at least 12 months away, I think — closer to 18 months. It’s a long-term view.”

He believes Java could be used in automating the work of field representatives. At present their work is done manually, and he believes it could help make the field workers more efficient. He says robustness and data security would be the key issues he would look for in an evaluation.

“I haven’t seen a site that’s using it in production yet. There’s a big buzz about it, everyone thinks it’s a great idea. Conceptually it’s very nice, but at the end of the day will it deliver any more business function than any other form of application development?”

One of Bay of Plenty Electricity’s IT managers, Damian Chisholm, was neutral about using Java-based applications in the next 12 months.

“We probably won’t be using it too much, but if it gets better then we might — it’s a 50-50 type situation really.” He says he would rather put resources into things like making sure NT runs properly.

He has no plans to evaluate the Java programming language, but comments that it would be good to see a standard for Java with all the “backers” getting behind it.

And is that likely? “Probably not.”

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