Mixing Java and Titanium

by James Duncan Davidson

At last weeks O'Reilly Conference on Java in Santa Clara I unwittingly became the guy with the coolest toy around. Whenever I pulled out my new Titanium PowerBook to get some work done, people started coming by to ask questions about it. The shiny titanium shell must have had something to do with that. However, as soon as they saw Mac OS X people's curiosity really peaked. And as I gave demos showing the BSD underpinnings of OS X, and the excellent Java Virtual Machine implementation, they started talking about getting one. Needless to say, I didn't actually get much work done.

©2001 D. Story/O'Reilly Network

So how did I, a self confessed Unix-weenie and sometimes Windows user end up being an unofficial Mac evangelist? Well, I've been looking for years for a platform that combines a good, fast Java virtual machine, a Unix command line, and the ability to keep up with the several thousand e-mail messages per day that I receive. And I wanted a platform that looked good to boot. I should mention that there has been a Mac around the house for my digital photography habit over the last few years, but it hasn't been something that I have used for serious work.

Enter Mac OS X, a brand new operating system that takes the best of the Mach kernel, BSD, the JDK, and the Macintosh and combines them into one killer platform. As soon as Fred Sanchez, who used to work in the Core OS Group at Apple, introduced me to it several months before Public Beta I was intrigued. Now that it has gone final complete with JDK 1.3 and Hotspot, I've taken the plunge and moved to using a Titanium G4 full time. And it has been treating me very well. To be sure, there are a few rough edges, but overall I'm really impressed.

Back at the conference, the folks at O'Reilly noticed the number of people that were interested in this new environment (not to mention that I think a few of them want a Titanium as well) and have invited me to share my experiences with Java and Mac OS X with you in the form of these Weblogs, to give you a peek over my shoulder as I play around with this new system if you will. So, tune in over the next few weeks and I'll do my best to give an honest hacker's viewpoint on mixing Java and Titanium.