Stomping home with your tinkertoys

by Chris Adamson

This is one of those blogs where I'm trying to take off my editor's hat and speak with my own voice. Usually, I do that when I plan on offending someone, so that it isn't mistaken as being "official".


12 Comments

John O'Conner
2007-01-30 20:53:55
Hiya Chris. My primary goal of writing blog entries is to stimulate conversation and sometimes to teach. I rarely have any new information; I'm not an information source. However, I do have a talent for stimulating a debate. Don't mistake my disappointment over SE 6 on the Mac for anger...I'm not angry at all. Blogs, like email, are horrible at conveying emotion...especially for poor writers. So, just to correct the impressions, I'm not angry, not even close. If I have any emotion about the SE 6/Apple issue, it's this: disappointment and a little frustration. I'm disappointed because I can't get some of my tools to work properly, and I'm frustrated at the lack of information from Apple. By the way, I'm surprised at the blog comments too.
Jeremy
2007-01-31 08:00:04
I am actually pleased with Apple's work to get Java SE 6 out there. I was very concerned when it took them more than a year and a half to have Java SE 5 become the default VM after Sun officially released that version. They seem to be ahead of that schedule.


It's an interesting balance because Java SE is required for both desktop and server Java applications. Personally I'm interested in the backend improvements to the Java SE because I develop Java web applications on a mac (before pushing them live to unix or linux based servers). The Apple VM engineers have to concern themselves with the whole beast though - how are the Swing changes going to affect Java desktop applications? How are the core changes going to affect web objects, tomcat, and jboss? So they have to satisfy all concerned in terms of memory usage/performance, stability, etc. both on the desktop side as well as the server side before taking it live. That's a tall task.


That said, I hope Apple continues to prioritize Java and stay current - I would hate to have to switch to Linux or *shudder* back to Windows because I couldn't do my work on a Mac any more. Moving to where the puck will be doesn't mean that Steve Jobs' dictates what programming language I use. So if Apple decides to deemphasize Java to the extent of not supporting future VM versions in the extreme case, sure I'll evaluate where Java stands in the wider world, but in the world of web application servers themselves, Apple is a tiny data point. I would be disappointed but would probably move on.

Jason
2007-01-31 11:35:23
Hi Chris, nice summary of the difficulty Apple & others have in maintaining their own JDK implementations. I don't fault Apple at all for not having JDK 1.6 out yet.


That said, as a Mac-head it pains me to note that developing Java apps is a much better experience in Eclipse on Windows XP than it is in Eclipse on Mac OS X. The SWT toolkit looks great with Windows' silver XP theme, but in OS X the controls are puffy and take up way to much screen space. So even though the Mac's a real unix environment & its terminal kicks ass, I keep my Java development on the PC.... with JDK 6 :)


Does anyone else feel the same way?

Trevor
2007-01-31 12:21:05
You argue that it's okay for Apple not to release any information about when Java 6 is coming. You say that this is only natural for Apple because they like to keep their release plans secret. This is simply not true. What about the iPhone? Leopard? Apple TV? The Intel machines? In each case, Apple had no qualms about announcing an expected release date well in advance. Do you mean to tell me that Java 6's release date is a closely-guarded company secret, while the iPhone's is not? At least with Leopard we know the approximate time frame when it will arrive, but with Java 6 we don't even know whether Apple is merely sitting on it until Leopard's release. And just as Cocoa developers need to have an expected arrival date of Leopard to synchronize their products, Java developers need to know when Java 6 is coming for the Mac. For these reasons, I have no problem taking Apple to task for not being more forthcoming about their Java 6 release schedule.
Chris Adamson
2007-01-31 12:26:47

You argue that it's okay for Apple not to release any information about when Java 6 is coming.

I never said it was okay. I said it was typical. If you're surprised or disappointed, then you haven't been paying attention.

What about the iPhone? Leopard? Apple TV? The Intel machines? In each case, Apple had no qualms about announcing an expected release date well in advance.

All of these are announced products. Java SE 6 has only been "announced" by way of ADC seeds, which are under an NDA, I might note. Maybe that seems like splitting hairs, but it is consistent with how they've operated historically.

And just as Cocoa developers need to have an expected arrival date of Leopard to synchronize their products

Really, you know the release date of Leopard? What is it?

I have no problem taking Apple to task for not being more forthcoming about their Java 6 release schedule.

Have fun with that. Let us know how it works out for you, okay?

Chris Adamson
2007-01-31 12:46:16

That said, as a Mac-head it pains me to note that developing Java apps is a much better experience in Eclipse on Windows XP than it is in Eclipse on Mac OS X. The SWT toolkit looks great with Windows' silver XP theme, but in OS X the controls are puffy and take up way to much screen space.

Is that the Mac's fault, or SWT's? One of the common complaints about SWT is that it's too tightly coupled to Windows conventions, and doesn't port well (this comes up several times in SWT's Wikipedia entry). Swing apps are often considered more attractive on Macs than on other platforms, so maybe it's a matter of your GUI framework of choice.

Jason
2007-01-31 12:53:28
Is that the Mac's fault, or SWT's?


Both, I'd say. I don't know if you can make an tight UI like Eclipse/SWT on Windows given Mac's pre-sized controls. On the other hand, Apple needs to get with it and port SWT to Cocoa - using Carbon may limit SWT's look and feel, and SWT will be around for a while.

Chris Adamson
2007-01-31 13:09:12

Both, I'd say. I don't know if you can make an tight UI like Eclipse/SWT on Windows given Mac's pre-sized controls.

Would it help if there were a way to access the tiny widgets used by the Pro media apps (Soundtrack, Final Cut, etc.)? Then again, maybe that could/should be a second Mac Swing L&F?

Apple needs to get with it and port SWT to Cocoa - using Carbon may limit SWT's look and feel, and SWT will be around for a while.

Is Apple currently responsible for the SWT port? (honest question; I really don't know) Maybe the choice of Carbon speaks to a C++ affinity on someone's part?

Trevor
2007-01-31 14:20:55
I never said it was okay.


You seemed to imply as much. Isn't that what you meant when you said, "At the risk of sounding like an apologist for Apple..."?


Java SE 6 has only been "announced" by way of ADC seeds, which are under an NDA, I might note.


Any release date estimates could be provided under the same NDA. I see no issue here.


Really, you know the release date of Leopard? What is it?


Spring 2007, as Apple has repeatedly stated.


http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2006/aug/07leopard.html


Why can't we get a similar estimate for Java 6? They don't even have to give a timeframe; they could just say "Java 6 will be out whenever Leopard is" (as I suspect that's exactly what will happen).

Paul Browne
2007-02-01 03:23:01
Chris,


I'll back you up on this one:



talkbacks to John's blog have an air of entitlement that doesn't serve us well.


Java has been 'top dog' for the last 10 years and we could more or less presume that everybody wanted to play with Java.


There are a lot of things going on right now that is changing this. Web 2, openly available Web API's , new scripting solutions, alternative GUI (both Ajax and Flex based) are all making their mark.


Will Java have a place in this new order? Yes. But it will be 'First among equals' , rather than 'Top dog'


Paul

Tim O'Brien
2007-02-03 18:36:10
Why is it Apple's problem to come out with a JDK anyway, I've always found it a little odd that Sun doesn't target Mac OS in its own development. They target Windows, Solaris, and Linux. Is the Sun code so bad that they can't just deliver a version for Mac? Or, is it just that the market for Macs is so much smaller?
PJ Cabrera
2007-02-08 10:35:53
With the new Mac Intel platform, and Mac Minis and MacBooks at less than $1000 from some vendors (and dropping each time a new rev comes out) this talk of switching from Mac OS X is moot. If Apple takes too long in getting JSE6 out, and I really NEED SE6, I'll just fire up Parallels and get that cracking on Linux or Windows, without really being put out too much. Sure, it's not ideal. I'd rather do all my work in OS X. But the frustrated comments lead me to think some people have their tighty whities on too tight. I mean, does anybody really NEED an SE6 feature right now? Are you saying you can't deliver that software for your customer with anything else? Come on! Give me a break.