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2007-11-21 17:00:47

From C# to Java: Part 2

As I mentioned in part 1, it has been almost ten years since I last wrote any real Java code.  That was apparently long enough for me to repress some of the more painful memories.  For example, I had completely forgotten about how the following code works:

String a = new String("foo");
String b = new String("foo");
if (a == b)
      // this will never happen

In C#, when you use the == operator on strings, you get what you expect.  In Java, == merely tells you if the two strings are the very same object, not whether the two strings are the same.

Tangent:  Operator Overloading

More broadly, going back to Java makes me realize just how much I appreciate operator overloading in C#. 

I'm not saying that I think operator overloading is really useful for my own classes.  Mostly I think it's a way of empowering programmers to create bad code.  I'll admit I use operator overloading just a little bit in Sawdust to support easy manipulation of 3D points and vectors, but I could live without it.

However, I really like the way operator overloading is used by the .NET Framework classes:

None of these bits of syntax are available in Java, and I miss them all.

Especially for Strings.

But that's not the part that's upsetting.

You've Gotta be Kidding Me

What's really shocking is that I spent a week or so writing incorrect code and nothing in my development environment warned me.  I didn't realize that == cannot be used for string comparison until I noticed my app giving incorrect results and starting digging to find out why.  I would think that some sort of warning would have been appropriate.

And frankly, I'm just very surprised I didn't get one.  I mean really -- it seems to me like Eclipse does an amazing job in the area of errors and warnings.

Seriously, Eclipse is by far the chattiest development environment I have ever used, and that's not my complaint.  I find Eclipse to be extremely pleasant.  It warns me a lot, but its warnings are immediate, appropriate, and helpful.

And that's why I can't believe that no part of the Eclipse environment chose to warn me about the way I was comparing strings.  My expectations had been set very high.  Eclipse warns me so often that I find myself trying to sit with better posture just so I don't get fussed at.  But for some reason, it silently accepts the use of == comparisons on Strings, even though such usage is almost always incorrect.

Bottom Line

I think I'll just end this rant here. 

I regret that this entry is almost completely positive about C# and negative about Java.  For the sake of balance, in part 3 I will focus on several areas where Eclipse is better than Visual Studio.  Way better.  :-)