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Portella

Unity
Java vs C# - Experts points of view

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I know that this question has come up hundreds of times on forums, but it is really disappointing how one can read through dozens of threads (hundreds of posts) without getting an informed, unbiased view.

I'm a beginner programmer with very basic knowledge of C# and I see that thousands of others have the same doubt as me when trying to choose between those two languages. We receive answers like "language doesn't matter, learn algorithms, design principles, oop structure, etc", or "after learning java you'll jump to C# easily".

It's not that I disagree with the above, but apart from learning the principles, structure, logic, etc, one need to get a repertoire of tools and, in fact, the language chosen may not matter that much, but the framework linked to it can take much time to be mastered. I have read through discussions about whole teams of experienced programmers resisting the change to another framework, indicating that this is a real concern among seasoned programmers. It's not just a question of adapting to syntax.

Most discussions about both languages see the same repeated statements:
- if you take on C#, you marry Windows.
- No, you don't, you'll always have mono. (nothing is said about personal experience with mone though)
- Java is "more" cross-platform.
- C# is a better structured language. (this is the only point I see which seems to be uncontested in MOST debates, but again, it's not only about the languages, but about what its environment).
- C# has better performance. (I don't know if that is true, but the possibility of using development tools like XNA and UNITY seems to have no parallel in Java. At least, from what I was able to find, JMonkey seems to be one of the best graphical engines around for use with Java, and graphics seem rather primitive)
- Others just talk about very specific details, like GC efficiency, etc.

Synthesizing, much of what is said seem like myths, uninformed points of view, fanboy talk or biased propaganda. I've even read a recent article which presumed itself very scientifically focused stating that C# has already had it best moment, but would soon fall into oblivion.
To guide those that are beginning and that, differently from expert programmers, are concerned with what will continue to be available in 3 or 4 years from now, when they finally get productive, what do you consider to be the future of C# and Java? What is real about C# portability? What does Android java code translation, Mono, ISO standardization really mean in terms of tendencies? What about performance and graphics? Is there any engine like Unity for Java use? Will it ever be? What about future development? Some say that Java has been slower than C# in that aspect, others say that new languages based on the JVM make Java environment more worth learning.

I would like to listen to informed point of views. Analysis by those that really know about what they are talking about, not fanboy talks and propaganda. This would be very useful, not only for me, but for thousands of others that are reading through the multiple forum threads which only bring further confusion.
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[quote name='alnite' timestamp='1342634973' post='4960580']
Ultimately, Java or C# or C++ do not matter. You really should consider programming languages as musical instruments, and you use them to play your music. Some instruments work better for certain types of music. But just like any other good musicians, a programmer must learn how to play not just one instrument, but several. Depending on what music he wants to play, what mood he wants to convey, he picks up the right instrument and play it like a maestro.
[/quote]

It seems like musicians have a speciality though like Yo-Yo Ma.

[quote]
Since you are a beginner, pick one. Java or C# really does not matter. C# has XNA for games. Java, on the other hand, has plenty of 3rd party libraries, but also allows you to make games for Android. Pick your platform (XNA or mobile), then start learning.
[/quote]

Picking one makes sense, but I think the decision matters and depending on the person could see them deciding to focus on C# or Java. If I were forced to pick between those two I think I'd pick C#. The performance of this [url="http://quicklz.com/"]compression library[/url] on different languages is kind of interesting. Edited by wood_brian
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[quote name='wood_brian' timestamp='1342637838' post='4960602']
[quote name='alnite' timestamp='1342634973' post='4960580']
Ultimately, Java or C# or C++ do not matter. You really should consider programming languages as musical instruments, and you use them to play your music. Some instruments work better for certain types of music. But just like any other good musicians, a programmer must learn how to play not just one instrument, but several. Depending on what music he wants to play, what mood he wants to convey, he picks up the right instrument and play it like a maestro.
[/quote]

It seems like musicians have a speciality though like Yo-Yo Ma.
[/quote]

Of course, just as there are programmers who only code in C++, ASM, Cobol, Java and nothing else. It's a matter of preference. But even Yo-Yo Ma, I'm pretty sure, has played other instruments before settling on the cello.


[quote]
[quote]
Since you are a beginner, pick one. Java or C# really does not matter. C# has XNA for games. Java, on the other hand, has plenty of 3rd party libraries, but also allows you to make games for Android. Pick your platform (XNA or mobile), then start learning.
[/quote]

Picking one makes sense, but I think the decision matters and depending on the person could see them deciding to focus on C# or Java. If I were forced to pick between those two I think I'd pick C#. The performance of this [url="http://quicklz.com/"]compression library[/url] on different languages is kind of interesting.
[/quote]

At this early stage, any performance benchmark doesn't matter. Why is he going to do now, write an algorithm computing 1 billion data points for secret military operations in Nevada? Think about it in utility sense. Java and C# are probably two languages that are the closest to one another in term of the syntax. The main differences between the two of them are the platforms they are typically used for. Now the question becomes which platform that the OP is most comfortable in. Choosing one does not mean that he's stuck at that for the rest of his life. Choosing C# does not mean "Oh no, Windows forever! Apple is getting popular! I can't switch anymore!" Choosing Java does not make you are a slave to JVMs. He can be learning C# now and switch to Java 2 years later, or vice versa. Can't you see how trivial choosing a language is, especially between C# and Java? Edited by alnite
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[quote name='wood_brian' timestamp='1342637838' post='4960602']
[quote name='alnite' timestamp='1342634973' post='4960580']
Ultimately, Java or C# or C++ do not matter. You really should consider programming languages as musical instruments, and you use them to play your music. Some instruments work better for certain types of music. But just like any other good musicians, a programmer must learn how to play not just one instrument, but several. Depending on what music he wants to play, what mood he wants to convey, he picks up the right instrument and play it like a maestro.
[/quote]

It seems like musicians have a speciality though like Yo-Yo Ma.
[/quote]

I think it was a bad analogy, I'd look at it more like tools in general, a carpenter won't use a hammer to divide a board in 2 parts, he'll use the saw (And if you see a carpenter trying to bang a nail in with a saw, well... either he is a programmer who thinks one tool is all you need or he is insane) Edited by SimonForsman
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[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1342639086' post='4960610']

I think it was a bad analogy, I'd look at it more like tools in general, a carpenter won't use a hammer to divide a board in 2 parts, he'll use the saw (And if you see a carpenter trying to bang a nail in with a saw, well... either he is a programmer who thinks one tool is all you need or he is insane)
[/quote]

I thought of using that analogy, but I think it's slightly inaccurate. You can't properly cut a board with a hammer, but any programming language can be used to make almost all sorts of applications. Both Java and C# can be used to make games. They both can accomplish the same thing. So I avoid using the tools analogy, as I don't want to imply that different languages are used for different things. Other programming languages might fall into that category, such as Ruby/PHP/Javascript for web development, but at least, not these two.
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[quote name='Portella' timestamp='1342625747' post='4960518']
We receive answers like "language doesn't matter, learn algorithms, design principles, oop structure, etc", or "after learning java you'll jump to C# easily".
[/quote]
Like others said before, spot on. The language difference of C# and Java is trivial.

My advise is: start with one and if you feel comfortable with it, go to the other. After that, make applications with both languages.

Looking at other "beginner" programmers, the jump from your first language to the second is never easy. I think it's actually very frustrating but it is an important step to make. You'll learn a new Framework with different tools and implementation for the same job. You will see first hand the difference between design principles and their pros and cons. You will make jumps to different languages, frameworks and toolsets in your life as a programmer. Don't choose between the two languages, chances are, with so popular languages like java and c#, that later on you'd have to make an application in the other language anyways. And if not, your third jump will be easier. My advice is that after C# and/or java you move on to C++. So you will learn what the JRE and the .Net Runtime Engine are hiding from you.

[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1342627388' post='4960528']
Java's faster than C#.
[/quote]
Nope.
In Windows, the .Net Framework is closer tied to the Operating System. A Windows Computer should generally execute a C# Program faster than a Java Program. Especially Window programming has less overhead for its operations in C#.
Now to make things more complex, Java has a badass runtime optimisation. Compare the calculation times of a simple algorithm like Selection sort, after the third run or so your algorithm will run at least *2 faster.
I saw benchmarks on Linux machines, Java was there a bit faster than C# Mono. On a Windows computer, my money would be on C# for most applications.

[quote name='Mike.Popoloski' timestamp='1342628203' post='4960531']
...
[/quote]
can only subscribe to what you said, very good posting

Final note on C# VS Java...
if your task is to create a Window in a Microsoft enviroment, take C#. There is the greatest strength of .Net / the biggest weakness of the Java Framework.
For any other task your choice depends on the job and the enviroment.
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[quote name='Bluefirehawk' timestamp='1342699677' post='4960902']
Telastyn, on 18 July 2012 - 11:03 AM, said:

Java's faster than C#.
[/quote]

[b]This is taken out of context.[/b] If you re-read, you'll see that I said that Java's relative popularity will decrease faster than C#'s.

[quote]
Nope.
In Windows, the .Net Framework is closer tied to the Operating System. A Windows Computer should generally execute a C# Program faster than a Java Program. Especially Window programming has less overhead for its operations in C#.
[/quote]


This is entirely incorrect. The .NET [i]windowing API[/i] is closer to windows, meaning less adaptation overhead (maybe). That's the standard library, not the [b]runtime[/b]. Java could've made (essentially) the same windowing API to get the same level of overhead.

[quote]
Now to make things more complex, Java has a badass runtime optimisation. Compare the calculation times of a simple algorithm like Selection sort, after the third run or so your algorithm will run at least *2 faster.
I saw benchmarks on Linux machines, Java was there a bit faster than C# Mono. On a Windows computer, my money would be on C# for most applications.
[/quote]

.NET has the same sort of runtime optimizations (except on system types, which are pre-compiled in Microsoft's implementation).


[b]Quit spreading misinformation.[/b] Edited by Telastyn
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The matter of the fact is that you need to learn a language and the best one to pick is the one you are most comfortable with, which in your case is C# as you know a little of it already. Learn the language well enough so that you can tackle any problem in it, this will give you the wanted skills (algorithm design, design principles, oop structure and data structures) to move on to any other language. Sadly enough programming is a skill you have to learn through doing it is not something you can pick up from reading books, books however can provide you with insights in how to solve problems.

I jumped languages quite a bit in the beginning, I started of in Pascal moved to Delphi Pascal, then to C# and Java and eventually to C++. Nowadays I am most comfortable in C++ and C#. I never got how stuff worked until I forced myself to learn C++ and all of a sudden I could program in all these other languages as well. My point is stick with a language until you can actually write a non trivial program then switch to another language if you want to.

Frameworks are handy but you don't need to learn them inside out as long as you get a good grasp of how they work you can get a long with any of them, just turns out to be a question of finding out what they are called in the other framework. This also brings me to the final point once you start working you have to most likely get used to another framework which is the codebase everyone in the job works in, and that is the most important thing in programming be willing to always keep learning and adapting to a new thing.
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[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1342701002' post='4960911']
[b]This is taken out of context.[/b] If you re-read, you'll see that I said that Java's relative popularity will decrease faster than C#'s.
[/quote]
Look, english isn't my native language, i thought this sentence was kind of a sidenote.

[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1342701002' post='4960911']
This is entirely incorrect. The .NET [i]windowing API[/i] is closer to windows, meaning less adaptation overhead (maybe). That's the standard library, not the [b]runtime[/b]. Java could've made (essentially) the same windowing API to get the same level of overhead.

.NET has the same sort of runtime optimizations (except on system types, which are pre-compiled in Microsoft's implementation).
[/quote]
I never wrote runtime, i meant the .NET Framework in general. My statement was inaccurate, i agree. I don't know enough about the integration of the .Net Framework in the OS as I'd like, so I didn't make a more specific statement. I would be supprised if Windows handles .Net just as an other Userlibrary, but like I said, I don't know as much about it as id' like.

[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1342701002' post='4960911']
.NET has the same sort of runtime optimizations (except on system types, which are pre-compiled in Microsoft's implementation).
[/quote]
I'm currently studying, so you naturally just hear about the java one. I thought Java's implementation was superior. Do Java and C# use similar algorithms?

[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1342701002' post='4960911']
[b]Quit spreading misinformation.[/b]
[/quote]
[color=#ff0000][removed insult][/color], i never claimed to know everything, nor to be infallable. If something i wrote was wrong or inaccurate, tell me. But don't be so butthurt about it.
I know this is the web, but grow up. Edited by jbadams
: Removed an insult -- please don't degrade to insults or name-calling on our forums.
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A better analogy for programming languages might be toolboxes, not tools.

Pretty much any carpenters' toolbox contains most of the tools a carpenter needs; however, some assortments are better for some jobs and most carpenters have a favorite assortment of tools.
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I really must thank everyone here for their points of view. It seems that I have given the impression of being overly concerned about my choice, to the point of staying frozen. I would only want to say that this isn't true. I keep going on with C#, but meanwhile, I want to keep getting informed in a subject that is still not clear enough. It's true that, as time passes, I'll probably approach the point Edd stated: In 3 years time, you may well know both Java and C# and you'll be one of the people saying "it doesn't really matter, your skills are largely transferrable between the two". Yet, I think it's the natural beginners anxiety, when exposed to a huge information flow from a competitive and fluid field of knowledge full of propaganda statements.
I know that completely unbiased opinions are very difficult to get. Even here, we can have the impression of C# being a little favored, but the important thing is that I was able to get some very useful information by people who seem to have enough knowledge to make a good analysis and for that I thank you.
Edd, I think that "tendencies" wasn't a good choice of word (it's more of a literal translation from portuguese); "trend", perhaps, would be better. Or, in the used context, "inclination of C# towards being cross-platform". I hope I'm expressing myself better now.
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From a user's point of view, Java pisses me off.

Many IDEs and command line tools I use daily are based on Eclipse (which runs on Java). With large projects, you always run into the default memory limit. You google the error and go change the command line settings or config file to manually specify a larger memory limit. .Net doesn't have that, at least in windows. You run out of memory when the process or operating system limit is hit.

Almost all of the Flash-related tools use Java:
Flash Pro
Flash Builder
MXMLC (compiles actionscript, flex, mxml projects)

Working on any large project involving a Java-based IDE inevitably runs into their artificial memory ceiling. I've never run into a single .Net app that has this kind of annoyance.



Cross-platform toolchain automation is a hassle with Java compared to .Net. Spawn a process and then get its process ID. You can't do this in Java. You can in .Net and Mono.


Mike's post above about Java's windows installer wanting to install toolbars was seriously the last straw for me. What is this, a startup company trying to get quick ad revenue? NO. IT'S ORACLE. Stop being douchebags, Oracle! Edited by Nypyren
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[quote name='Nypyren' timestamp='1342746285' post='4961122']
Many IDEs and command line tools I use daily are based on Eclipse (which runs on Java). With large projects, you always run into the default memory limit. You google the error and go change the command line settings or config file to manually specify a larger memory limit.
[/quote]

Eclipse is a crappy IDE. I still have no idea why a lot of people are supporting and using it, as if it's the only Java IDE. I open my project, Eclipse complains 100+ errors. Close project. Close Eclipse. Reopen Eclipse. Reopen project. Errors are gone! wtf?

I have been using IntelliJ, personally and professionally, and I couldn't be any more happier. Intuitive shortcuts (i.e. Ctrl + / to toggle comments!), great refactoring tools, syntax highlighter, seamless versioning integration, even more than what Visual Studio comes with. It has the free community edition too.
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Netbeans was also nice when I had to do Java. Similar to visual studio in a number of ways (for better or worse).
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[quote name='Nypyren' timestamp='1342746285' post='4961122']
From a user's point of view, Java pisses me off.
[/quote]

I totally agree, and that is why I've moved on to C# personally.

The main difference between the two in my opinion is the fact that Sun REALLY tries to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot. Notice the lack of unsafe code usage like pointers as well the (in my opinion) crappy reflection and you can probably see what I mean. Due to this very fact, if you want to transition to C++ later I would recommend moving to (or just starting out with) C# at some point to learn the more advanced constructs in a more 'C like' environment (plus C# has more overlapping features with C++ than Java does). I've been doing C# for about 2 years now and the transition to C++ took almost no time at all. Sure I'm no expert, but I could jump in with some tutorials and learn the ropes without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed, and now I'm making applications with little outside help.

My friends and I also think that Java was created by narcissistic programmers... JFrame, JDBC, JPA everything starts with a damn J and it almost seems like they're trying to trademark their APIs.

[quote name='e?dd' timestamp='1342708314' post='4960949']
I've even read a recent article which presumed itself very scientifically focused stating that C# has already had it best moment, but would soon fall into oblivion.
[/quote]

I honestly don't believe that C# is going to die, but .Net probably will. C# is a wonderful, modern language with nice syntax and powerful features, and it would be a shame if another group doesn't pop up to maintain a multi platform version that is similar to Oracle. That's probably the reason why Java has been around so long, really.
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[quote name='M6dEEp' timestamp='1342751465' post='4961142']
[quote name='e?dd' timestamp='1342708314' post='4960949']
I've even read a recent article which presumed itself very scientifically focused stating that C# has already had it best moment, but would soon fall into oblivion.
[/quote]

I honestly don't believe that C# is going to die, [...]
[/quote]
FYI, your quoting seems to have gone funny, there.
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I think it is important to add that C# has an amazing support for calling C functions from dynamically linked dll that basically involves writing 1 line of code (ok, 2 [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img] ).
From a pure game developing point of view this is quite important because you know that, if you were to find an hotspot to be uberoptimized you can easily go down to C without having to wrestle with weird tools and whatnot that most other languages seem to require.
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I just look at it this way. I trust Microsoft more than I do Oracle. I also can use Mono over .Net so i dont have to trust Microsoft. Thus, I choose C# (mono) over Java.
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I as fellow not so pro programmer have thought about creating Pacman in 3D, and while doing it maybe create seiries into youtube for other people to create own pacmans. I don't know if the concept of this idea is actually good, but while doing it, I most likely run into beginner like problems and could give tips to other people.

Anyways to the main point, I am now at the point of just creating design documentation for the project, and I too am at the point where I should choose the programming language. I have actually more leaned into Java because I would prefer using GLSL and OpenGL. Other reason why I chose Java over C# is, that there doesn't seem to be that many free game engines except XNA, and the problem I see with XNA is, that the person trying XNA-games need to have XNA-executables installed on their computer. Also the fact that porting models from Blender to JMonkey seemed to work without any kinds of problems.

So my advice would be, before asking what language to use, first decide what you're going to do. After that make some kind of list what kind of things you would need, and after you've sorted those out, finding the language / framework / tools you are going to need / use will be lot easier.
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[quote name='Hiiri' timestamp='1342812386' post='4961421']
Other reason why I chose Java over C# is, that there doesn't seem to be that many free game engines except XNA, and the problem I see with XNA is, that the person trying XNA-games need to have XNA-executables installed on their computer
[/quote]

You should check out [url="http://monogame.codeplex.com/"]MonoGame[/url] (XNA API using OpenGL instead of DirectX) or [url="http://cs-sdl.sourceforge.net/"]SDLDotNet[/url] or [url="http://slimdx.org/"]SlimDX[/url] and of course [url="http://www.unity3d.com/"]Unity[/url]. SFML .Net wrapper just isn't there yet, but when it gets there, it will be an option as well. Of the three i mentioned, MonoGame, SDLDotNet, SFML (when its ready) and Unity are multi-platform. Edited by Net Gnome
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