I have been using Java a good bit at work recently, so I am even more convinced that it can be used many places that I had been using C and C++. In particular, with the addition of third party classes, I am able to do a lot of the serial-based data acquisition and control that I had been doing with LabVIEW. There is nothing at all wrong with LabVIEW except it costs a fortune. And it isn't possible for me to distribute source code with it to work with others who do not have LabVIEW available.
The libraries that I use for serial port communication are RXTX. These are very useful, and fairly easy to use. The documentation at the site is a little scattered, but Googling RXTX gives some good hits and examples.
I will post a little something about this later. Right now, I am not happy with the way my source code looks in HTML, so I have not been posting much in the way of code or tutorials. I think I will have this worked out quickly, though.