javaone2007: JFX or rich clients revisited
Thursday 10 May 2007 @ 5:56 pm
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Sun likes to call them ‘integrated rich clients’, a nice buzz word for reinventing user experience. Yesterday I visited two rich client related sessions. One about GWT, wich was more or less a copy of last years session, and one about JavaFX (formerly known as F3, nowadays already abbreviated to the better sounding JFX). Chris Oliver amazed the audience with really stunning effects and smooth looking user interfaces: Definitely an Oehhh! and Aahh! session. It is too early to make up conclusions yet but it seems the Sun developers have gotten graphical interfaces, and especially the way an interface gets set-up to meet the design made by a professional design team, finally right. JFX introduces a new scripting languages, called JavaFX Script. Which is, when you ask me, a little bit redundant but, due to tongue slippery, I think the script part of it will disappear in normal human to human communication. (We aren’t calling java, JVM Script or are we?) But despite the name, the scripting language itself looks promising. It’s statically typed, which can be subject of religious language battles but that is out of the scope of this blog-entry, and it uses a declarative building styling to declare UI components. When compared to the XML variants like XUL, SVG but also Flex and Laszlo, a breeze to read. And when compared to regular Swing (or SWT!) probably a breeze to write also. In other words, refreshing.

So, should we all make the move and forget Ajax or Flash? Maybe, but maybe not. (GWT is still pretty cool technology and as far as I have seen it, it is the best possible solution for rich browser apps. For example take a look at how the guys from Google crack performance issues. Nuff said).There are still some irritating issues to overcome. First of all there is no out of the box data binging support (for example to call a RESTful service and bind the results to user interface components). But maybe more problematic is the deployment model. Which is not there! Yes, Applets or Webstart but both need a ridiculous huge download for the latest JRE release. Not really user friendly. I have to admit, Sun has announced to work on this problem and promised to come up with a solution as soon as possible but in the meantime it is missing. And a bad deployment model at the moment there is a lot of momentum is marketing wise not really what you call handy. Missed opportunity?? Anyway, JFX is right here right now so for me it’s playing time.

— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (0)   PermaLink
javaone2007: just a meme
Wednesday 9 May 2007 @ 6:05 pm
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After visiting Neil Ford’s excellent and inspiring presentation about domain specific languages, I was wondering if a DSL is actually nothing but a kind of computer instruction slang?

— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (0)   PermaLink
javaone2007: it seems the sun is shifting
Wednesday 9 May 2007 @ 6:03 pm
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JavaOne 2007 is only just one day on its way, the first couple of 81 hours have been past, and my maximum information observing level has been reached already: Too much to check out the coming weeks. Too many high impact announcements. Too many cool new technologies, too many new tools and too many new paradigm shifts.

Thou shall open up everthing you got, except for some key strategically important technologies, and thou shall spread the words to open up everything. Under the safe covers of being a community is more important than being a regular old company, open source is the new paradigm. Open opportunities as Sun is like to call it. Great move I think! And its paying off already. Except for the JDK, which is conceptually a big step to open up but practically nothing but a small give-away, goofy things are seing the light under Sun’s GPLv2 umbrella.

But Sun is making more, not unexpected but also not foreseen, movements. Where, in my very humble opinion, Sun was traditionally not very well doing in the area of user interaction (Does the term metal look and feel still rings a bell?), they seem to have been paying more attention and energy on this topic. Possibly driven by competition, Sun (just like Microsoft by the way) is following the vision of MacroMedia (indeed, not Adobe’s vision unless vision can be bought) and has been moving into the direction of rich internet applications (or integrated rich clients as they tend to call it). Form follows function has become JavaFX: A stunning way to re-implement applets. Hopefully marketing can handle it this time.

More news? Yep Real time java has finally been born so JSR-1 can be removed from the todo-list. Blu-Ray is currently hot topic. And Glassfish V3, the reference implementation of EE5, only needs a 100Kb bootstrap and starts up in less then half a second unless some serious applications have been deployed. (By the way, glassfish seems to have a pretty slick architecture for an application server and another by the way seems to be the question whether we want to use commercial available application servers from the old pre-ee5-era if this thing is really as good as the five minute demo has shown us.) Oh, and before I forget, everyone should sheck out NASA’s project World Wind, google earth as a swing widget. And in the tradition of the new openness completely free to abuse!

Finally, and this could be experienced during last years conference already, other languages than Java are not ‘wrong’ or ‘dirty’ anymore. Ruby has been adopted as a first class citizen of the virtual machine and the JRuby team has not been hired to implement a funny scripting language, but seems to be hired to jump on the bandwagon not as a an ignorant passenger but more as fully armed musketeers. It is very impressive to see how Sun is dealing with the shift from java to other languages. And it is also very impressive to see the progress that has been made in tool support. Last years netbeans hype was a bit overdone but this year there are enough reasons to promote the upcoming version 6. As far as I could see, changes are fair Netbeans will become the platform of choice to develop Ruby, and especially Rails, applications.

— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (0)   PermaLink
javaone2007: coolest session title
Thursday 19 April 2007 @ 4:16 pm
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This years javaone conference is about to happen and since my conference pass has been ordered it is time to wrestle myself through the program in order to find the most optimal schedule in terms of quality and time. Meaning a lot of reading, shuffling, weighting and head-scrabbing. A process which probably will last untill the last session of the conference. But some sessions are a definitive certainty. And one of these sessions tagged whith the coolest session title of the conference:

Java™ Puzzlers, Episode VI: The Phantom-Reference Menace/Attack of the Clone/Revenge of the Shift

After last years ‘Tiger Traps’, changes are big this session will end up high in this years top-10!

— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (0)   PermaLink

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