It appears that access to the article requires payment (2.50 EUR), but otherwise, it is greatly appreciated that you have written such an article for publication to socialize the concept of using Natural as a current and modern development language. As your post and the article summary describe, the rich set of tools for coding and testing built on the Eclipse studio offer the same ease of use that developers require and have available in Java and offer a vastly different experience from the 3270-based editors.
I may break down and pay the fee to access the article to see what else you say.
This isn’t the first time Natural has been compared to Java, and one similarity is the fact both are interpreted languages: Natural executes in a runtime environment that interprets catalogued object code, as opposed to other languages which are compiled into machine code and run as platform-dependent executables. This is very similar to Java and how it runs as byte code interpreted by a JVM. Both were made this way for platform portability, and Natural was first.
However, being first is really not enough to be relevant to new programmers. Certainly availability of tools and ease of use of a development environment is foundational, but as was the case when Natural’s competition was COBOL, the most important question is, “Can I build the kind of business application I need to build better and faster with Natural than with Java (or name any language here)?” Natural’s strength has always been it’s ability to allow the developer to focus on the business requirements instead of low-level coding (database access, I/O, memory management, etc), and I believe that could be an advantage vs Java as much as it was vs COBOL.
The more people consider these ideas, the more Natural will become a preferred language for new development.