In some ways, Java's new rulebook will serve us well. To achieve similar success, a new language will need to be portable and encourage a vibrant open source community. It will need broad appeal, across low-level programmers and architects. It will need to embrace compelling standards.
But technology is only part of the problem. For a new language to succeed, you'll also need a compelling business reason to switch. In some ways, Java held us back by discouraging competition. You may be tempted to use Java, even if it's the wrong tool for the job. You may work harder than you have to, because you're not free to explore alternatives. And this situation may lure us into a false sense of security, just as so many Java developers feel so comfortable wholly inside Java's cocoon.
We may never again see a perfect storm like the one that ushered in Java. You shouldn't look for one. Instead, you should learn from the success of Java, and start to understand the factors that led to its success. Minimally, I believe the next commercially successful programming language will need to satisfy four major criteria:
I don't think most of us can possibly thoroughly understand the success of Java. It's easy to overestimate the role of the language and to underestimate the importance of the JVM and the community. In the next chapter, we'll continue to look at the crown jewels of Java in more detail, or the foundation for the most successful programming language ever.