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The broken promise of Java

© September 2005 Tony Lawrence

I don't like Java.

I really never have liked it. but especially so after seeing what Google has done with Ajax. Gmail is not a Java application (and thank you for that, Google). If it were Java, it would be horribly slow, and I wouldn't even be able to use it a lot of the time I'm away from my desk. Would I really want to go messing with somebody's machine to install, upgrade or fix Java just because I want to read my mail?

And what about the security mess? Hole after hole after hole. Support? Almost every time I'm BS'ing with a support person who has Java in their mix, guess what word comes up repeatedly? Right, Java. "Customer with a Java problem", "had to reload the Java libraries", yadda, yadda. Sometimes I have to ask if their whole product line is Java, because you'd sure think so listening to support.

Did I mention slow? Yes, but it's worth mentioning again. Every time I see "Loading Applet" I want to reach through the Internet and slap some programmer upside the head. That's especially true when I can't see a single reason why the page needed anything beyond straight HTML.

I don't like Java.

However, the Internet will get faster, browsers and operating systems will improve their Java support, so I suppose I just might live long enough to want to retract these words and offer up praise instead.

Don't hold your breath.

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-> The broken promise of Java


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Thu Sep 22 15:59:04 2005: 1112   MikeHostetler

I'm a Java programmer, and I still don't like it. Though it's a great way to pay the bills.

Having dealt with applets, I can tell you they are a pain to program, let alone have them come up in your browser window. Permissions, how to configure jars, etc.

Though not ready for over-the-net applications, many places are changing their intranet-applet-based applications with Java WebStart apps. These are applications that are like "normal", outside the browser programs but are deployed across a network. In short, you click on a link and it is installed. Whenever you run it, it checks for updates and installs any.

Here's the link. I hope we see more WebStart applications..

Thu Sep 22 23:16:34 2005: 1115   drag

I am definately no programmer.. only played with it a bit from time to time.

But I kinda like the 'Mozilla' model for application programming more then the Java one. As you probably already know Mozilla isn't just a web browser or browser/email suite. It's a entire framework designed for building cross-platform applications... Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client are just 2 of the most famous apps.

It's based around (I beleive) Mozilla's XML user interface language (XUL). It's a markup language similar to stuff like html and is used to build applications around the mozilla framework. In it you can use other stuff like css or java/javascripting or whatnot to help you build applications. Most of what it's used for is stuff like firefox extensions, but it can be used for in-browser applications, 'webstart'-style standalone applications, or just plain standalone installed-from-cd type stuff.

Probably one of the biggest commercial application that I know of that is based on the XUL stuff is Activestate's Komodo IDE.

I just think it's more interesting... And it's not like you can't use java with it if you'd want. And since Mozilla project already did the heavy lifting to make all that stuff cross-platform it would be much easier to make web-based applications that run on OS X/Linux/Windows and have a native-ish 'look-n-feel'.

Thing that sucks about Java, at least in the open source world, is how Sun choose to license it. If they released a GPL'd version or at least had the licensing changed so that people could re-distribute the runtime instead of having to go directly back to Sun for each end-user install then we'd see a much more wide-spread use of Java then we currently have. As it is right now I can't even run any java applications on my laptop because sun never was gracious enough to compile a version for linux/ppc. (although I could probably used IBM's java runtime for their POWER servers)


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