Gosling agrees that Microsoft's tools are very good at doing the simple applications. "You can do the thing that follows their paradigm really quickly," he noted, "But as soon as you try to scale up, you get into trouble."
Gosling said Microsoft tools were geared up to helping people develop their own code. He said that this was not a function of Visual Basic, the Microsoft programming language, but the fact that the tools actually simplified programming.
"It has only been fairly recent that [Visual Basic-like] low-end targeted tool has existed in the Java world.
The difference with Sun's Java approach boils down to scalability. Gosling said. "We've historically worked on making the really hard things possible and not worried so much on the easy things."
But he feels the amount of effort Sun and other software firms have put into development of Java tools has made it easier for developers to build the easy stuff, according to Gosling.
He said Java has a strong orientation towards high-end programmers. Addressing Microsoft's assault on the complexity of his language, he said that the high-end nature of Java did not necessarily make it complex. "A big piece of the difficulty in designing it was to try to make it as simple as possible."
Moreover, Gosling said Java was fast becoming an educational programming language. "If you go around to universities, high schools and middle schools, more often than not, they are teaching Java."
Historically, schools tended to teach Pascal as the language promoted good programming practices. Gosling said that compared with Pascal, Java had far more growth potential.
Yet he claimed it still offered new developers the kind of programming constructs that made Pascal so attractive as a learning aid. Better still, Gosling said, "There's a huge amount of teaching material around Java for people who have never done any programming at all. "
One interesting Java development for Gosling has been Bluejay. This been developed over the past four or five years by a consortium at the universities. He said it has an IDE (integrated development environment) designed specifically for teaching programming, for taking people who have never written a program before in their life and running them through courses.