Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Java Development (what's in your toolbox?)

We've been programming with Java for a long time now. Java was all the rage, but seemed to lose a little steam (no pun intended) for a few years.

The Java market has heated up. There is a lot of interest and development going on in J2EE and J2ME, and our Java AdWords are getting more hits than any other language. Meanwhile, there's a new book out by Alan Monnox called Rapid J2EE Development. While some may say that rapid and J2EE in the same sentence is an oxymoron, the book has some excellent content.

Still, we're not Java purists. Whether it is .NET or J2EE, VB or C++, ASP or PHP, you have to pick the right tool for the job. Twenty years ago, one of our first clients wanted their project written in Fortran because the owner (a doctor) took Fortran in college. While we're more than happy to meet a client's wishes, it wasn't the right tool for a graphics- and processor-intensive medical application. The requirements were to acquire 12k samples per second, convert analog to digital, render graphically to a high-resolution display, and store on a WORM (Write Once, Read Many) drive, all in real time...on a 6MHz (!) IBM AT. After listening to our recommendation, the client allowed us to write the program in C and Assembly language. It was the right choice.

Writing biomedical software is interesting work. You get to learn things like Electrophysiology. And it's not every day that you debug software while they are threading catheters through a leg vein and into a patient's heart.

Sometimes you need more than just a tool -- you need a toolbox. Selecting the right company as a partner can mean the difference between the success and failure of your project. Choose your toolbox wisely.