Is Java losing its mojo? One might think so, after hearing that the Guardian in the UK is switching away from it to make some important site improvements. Meanwhile, Google still thinks Java is important, to judge from its newest hire.
With only the New York Times beating it for readership in its category of online news, the UK-based Guardian decided to reduce the time required to deliver new features. Rather than stay with Java and Oracle, its developers chose to switch to a system based on Scala and MongoDB. Scala is based on Java, but it is a more advanced programming language, featuring both a functional approach and objects.
Graham Tachley, the Web Platform Development Team Lead for the guardian.co.uk site, noted significant improvements with Scala, which his team uses for real-time content searching, indexing or updating. Moving to Scala saved a tremendous amount of time; instead of taking 20 hours to build the search index, it now takes only one.
While Scala and MongoDB are less tried and trusted tools than Java and Oracle, it looks like the team at the Guardian aren't afraid of being early adopters. We can expect that other online publishers with large readerships will watch the results of this large-scale experiment very closely.