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Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java?

103 replies on 7 pages. Most recent reply: Oct 7, 2008 3:42 AM by Andrew Binstock

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Romain Guy

Posts: 2
Nickname: romainguy
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 12:43 AM
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I personally stopped caring. Swing and Java 2D are awesome, there are some great apps and Java FX has promising stuff. But they remain cumbersome and not very easy to use. There are other solutions out there, and we don't have to do everything in Java.

Steve Donovan

Posts: 24
Nickname: stevedonov
Registered: May, 2005

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 3:25 AM
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The question about why so many of the desktop apps you see are still written in C++ is a good one. And I remember the hassles involved there - still have the scars from MFC. Granted,the toolkits have got better, but it still seems like the inappropriate tool for the job. The world of GUI applications is very pragmatic, hence the popularity of Delphi, which I do remember with pleasure. And Anders Heijsberg moved on to MS, and did a GUI framework which is actually very similar to the Borland VCL.

The trouble is, there's dogma here (James Gosling calls him the 'method pointer man'), this deep belief that all problems can be solved by throwing enough classes at them - like the joke about XML and violence. When I was working with Java, it was straightforward to do method-pointer techniques, with a little bit of dynamic dispatch. Yet this is considered Bad Form, somehow. Yes, the compiler will not catch your mistakes, but then you _do_ test your programs, don't you ;)

steve d.

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 3:59 AM
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> > I think people overlook SWT.
>
> I was really excited about SWT until I actually tried it.
> I hate APIs that rely on huge numbers of uncategorized
> d integer constants...

That, in itself, is not a good reason for rejecting SWT. It's just a development detail that you can live with. The primary reason for accepting or rejecting a GUI development platform must always be the ease (or difficulty) with which usable (and good looking) results can be achieved.

Greg Brown

Posts: 1
Nickname: gkbrown
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 9:26 AM
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As one of the creators of Pivot (https://pivot.dev.java.net/), I can say that, yes, I care quite a bit about desktop Java.

I do agree with many of the issues you raise about the current state of Java on the desktop, though. Pivot is our attempt at addressing them.

-Greg

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 9:31 AM
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> > > I think people overlook SWT.
> >
> > I was really excited about SWT until I actually tried
> it.
> > I hate APIs that rely on huge numbers of uncategorized
> > d integer constants...
>
> That, in itself, is not a good reason for rejecting SWT.
> It's just a development detail that you can live with.
> . The primary reason for accepting or rejecting a GUI
> development platform must always be the ease (or
> difficulty) with which usable (and good looking) results
> can be achieved.

I find such APIs difficult (frustrating is a better description) to use to achieve the results I want. I thought that was the implication of what I wrote. Sorry that wasn't clear.

Erik Vickroy

Posts: 1
Nickname: xendren
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 9:36 AM
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Like several others that have posted here, I'm tasked with building many internal business applications. All of those are Swing apps delivered via Webstart or as an Applet. You'll never hear about these apps. They will never be blogged about. They will never get an honorable mention in some free vendor rag. One great Java Desktop application that is widely used and written in Swing that no one has mentioned yet is JFormDesigner. If no one is building desktop Swing applications out there, then I wonder why there are millions of downloads for this tool? Why has the developed bothered to develop a plugin for Eclipse, JDeveloper, and IntelliJ? Maybe there are plenty of Desktop Java apps out there, but maybe you just don't know about them?

Thomas Vanstals

Posts: 1
Nickname: thomasvst
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 11:48 AM
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> <p>So if people are really interested in desktop Java,
> prove it. Take the work that's already been done in the
> open-source BlazeDS and create a desktop Java-AMF bridge,
> so we can easily add AIR user interfaces on top of Java
> code. That way you can have easy-to-create UIs now,
> instead of waiting to see whether Java FX pans out.</p>
Have a look at the Merapa project (http://www.merapiproject.net/). They are building a bridge between Air and Java.

Carl Antaki

Posts: 3
Nickname: carcour
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 12:53 PM
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There are consumer desktop Java applications out there. Have a look at:

* Lightzone which is a photo app http://www.lightcrafts.com/products/index.html
* Maple which uses Swing as its UI toolkit http://www.maplesoft.com/
* Mathcad which uses Swing too http://www.mathworks.com/
* 2 photo Facebook photo uploaders use Java and Swing including Bloom my Facebook photo uploader http://antaki.ca/bloom/, they are small apps but being used by consumers.

And who's using Flex in desktop applications no one except small apps, there's not even a single Facebook app written in Flex as far as I know.

Also a lot of apps in the financial industry are written in Swing. Therefore saying that no one cares about Desktop Java anymore is not completely true.

Thorbjørn Andersen

Posts: 1
Nickname: ravn
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 12:57 PM
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The screen shots look really good. Would you mind hinting how you got there from plain Swing?

Carl Antaki

Posts: 3
Nickname: carcour
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 1:54 PM
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Have a look at the java.awt.GradientPaint class.
The best way to learn how to make good looking Swing apps is to get Filthy Rich Clients written by the Swing experts Romain Guy and Chet Haase.

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 2:00 PM
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> The screen shots look really good. Would you mind hinting
> how you got there from plain Swing?

It might help if you made it clear who you are responding to.

Eugene Ryzhikov

Posts: 2
Nickname: eryzhikov
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 2:46 PM
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@Romain
I cannot believe it is Romain's comment.
After all you've done for Swing and Java2D you suddenly stopped caring??? What happened?

David Qiao

Posts: 6
Nickname: jidesoft
Registered: Oct, 2004

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 3:01 PM
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You wouldn't be surprised to what he said if you knew where he and his buddy are working for ;-)

Eugene Ryzhikov

Posts: 2
Nickname: eryzhikov
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 3:10 PM
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I know Romain works for Google and Chat works for Adobe.
But Romain still does Android UI in Java. This sudden change of heart is really strange.

Kevin Daly

Posts: 1
Nickname: kedaly
Registered: Jul, 2008

Re: Does Anyone Really Care About Desktop Java? Posted: Jul 18, 2008 3:48 PM
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We should care about Desktop Java, Sun is very close to delivering a Renaissance in Java Desktop & Java Applets with 1.6 u 10, many of the issues will be completely gone if it works. I think the current problem with Java is more about "experts" such a Bruce needing a soapbox to promote their own interests, rather than people writing about problems that have real technical merit.

We use Netbeans, Eclipse, the new Lotus Notes client (Eclipse RCP) in our organization, as well as develop J2EE software, it all works quite fine, so in my opinion Java Desktop is as good as anything out there. Unfortunately for some reason, the Java landscape is littered with "experts" that bitch and complain about everything, and it is this, more than anything that makes the perception of Java Desktop as poor.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no hypocrite, I won't throw stones at Flex, as is seems to be a fine product, but I think trying to claim that Java Desktop is irrelevant (see title) is ridiculous, and I think it is very much agenda driven by the people who are pushing Flex.

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