Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Java SWING Survival Guide: Where are we a year later?

In this article, Matt Stephens gives his opinion about the missed opportunities with SWING and Java applets, and makes some suggestions about what could be done to improve the situation in his Java Swing Survival Guide

Is this a pipe-dream or a road map to success. Are his comments visionary, timely, or too little too late?

I think that SWING should be streets ahead of where it currently is by now. I mean, it's nearly 10 years old and it still feels like it's only just starting to walk!

I agree with a lot of what he has to say, and interestingly there are now some initiatives underway to bring SWING up to date. Forthcoming feature enhancements in Java 6 and both SWINGX and the Spring Rich Client project are just two things that may resolve some of the issues mentioned. But they're both a little way off from being truely usable.

I have had the same thoughts about the missed opportunity of Java Applets to really, really shine in the way that Flash have so successfully done. I think Flash caught the attention of the web designers and developers, and application programmers pretty much took a back seat while the whole web revolution happened.

I think it's a true irony, even a subconscious statement of defeat, that when you go to (the consumer face of Java) the first thing that gets your attention is a Flash animation!!

But the demand for richer applications may revitalize Web Start and maybe even Applets if enough concentration on great looking applets and applications is made. However, I fear that the talent to make things look great doesn't exist in Sun's corner. I think the applet may be pretty much down and out for the count in the browser arena.

Acceptance of Java needs to be on a more serious level. I think that may more applications that are currently being done as web apps and being retrofitted with AJAX are suited better to being deployed by Web Start. Perhaps this is where the niche can be filled with better, more usable applications?

Comments welcome >

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