Jython offers the developer a powerful scripting language. Jython's major strength is as a glue language working with existing Java classes. Thus, it is ideal for developing throwaway prototypes, either behavioral to show the customer or structural to validate part of the architecture. You'll find it has a thousand and one uses, and you will find yourself applying it to tasks you'd never before contemplated with languages like Java.
If Jython isn't for you, then there are plenty of alternatives to consider. Groovy is proving very popular, and Java implementations of high-profile scripting languages like Ruby and Tcl are also available.
Above all, do not be put off by the learning curve of a dynamic, type-less scripting language. Once you master it, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
New languages are being designed all the time. Admittedly, many have a lifespan similar to that of the fruit fly. Nevertheless, the good ones do tend to stick around. As developers, we should have an open mind about what new languages may offer. Who knowsthe next template-based, object-oriented, pattern-centric, scripting language may have something to offer that makes all of our jobs a little easier.
For the next chapter, we move on to a different paradigm and examine how rule-based languages are well suited to expressing business logic in enterprise applications.
If you'd like to learn more about Jython, several books are available in addition to the online resources mentioned in this chapter. Jython Essentials [Pedroni, 2002] by Samuele Pedroni and Noel Rappin is an informative text, as is Jython for Java Programmers [Bill, 2001] by Robert W. Bill.
To keep track of the progress of the Groovy JSR, see the Java Community Process site at http://jcp.org/en/jsr/detail?id=241.