Even though I have been programming in Java for several years, I am a bit displeased with the way Java and the J2EE platform has evolved. It seems like carrying a huge burden while programming, a burden that does not add much value.
Think of the amount of things we have to know while developing J2EE applications. For building a small application developers must be familiar with:
The Java language
The core Java API
JSP + Tags, EL
Struts (or another MVC framework)
Hibernate (or another OR tool or EJB's)
Learning these technologies takes a long time, but after learning one also has to keep himself updated on these technologies, and we know the rapid rate at which stuff changes in the Java world.
When we make a simple web based application, beyond the source code we deal at least with 3 configuration files; web.xml, struts-config.xml, and hbm.xml, not to mention the developer needs to know about packaging a J2EE application using jar, war, ear, ... files.
All this seems like way too much work to make small to mid sized applications. Sure the technologies have value, but the effort is disproportionate to the value recieved in terms of 'programmer productivity'.
Maybe we do need all these formalisms and specifications for large distributed applications, or maybe not. I am not sure, but I am sure that we do not need them for small to mid sized applications.
If anyone has had experience developing large distributed applications in a language other than Java, like PHP, Python, or Ruby, then please share your experience with us.