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Client apps

Posted by daniel on May 4, 2005 at 6:30 AM PDT

Showcasing Java

So, continuing on Monday's rant, how do we get folks lined up around the block waiting for Mustang's release? I've been looking at Mac Tiger and wondering about the lessons there for the Java community. One of the things we're missing are showcase desktop applications.

I know - you can name a dozen of them off the top of your head. How many of them are used by non-geeks? How many of those are applications we are really proud of? Each year at it's developer conference Apple gives design awards to well designed and well implemented applications in a variety of categories. People care and people compete - where are our serious Java design awards?

Client applications are more important to Java than many realize. When Apple releases new technology like Bonjour (nee Rendezvous), Core Image, or Core Video, they also release consumer applications so that developers can begin to imagine how to take advantage of that technology. Third party folks can then take the ball and run with it. Where is the Java application based on JOGL that just knocks our socks off ? Why not take the Java Sound demo that gets part way there and create an app that allows you to plug in a keyboard and play around with the different voices? Capture the imagination of end users and point the way for developers.

Here's a simple "we missed the boat" example. Look at Apple's Dashboard. People can write simple targeted applications to track flights, display the weather, look up words in a dictionary. These individual widgets are small and can be added to a framework. Developers are writing these like mad and even though Tiger's been released for less than a week, non-technical consumers are using them. This could have been a Java-first release and people could have been writing widgets for the Java platform. Sun bought Watson from Karelia last year. Watson performed many of the same functionality as Dashboard in a framework that was organized a bit differently. Imagine how Watson would look if you add in project looking glass technology so the widgets rotate and store away nicely. You'd also have to bring Java's HTML and CSS and JavaScript displaying capabilities past the Netscape 4.7 days. Developers would have been writing Watson widgets and end users would have had a compelling reason to care that their computer had Java inside.

Automator is another feature of Tiger that developers and end users see much promise in. Oh please - we had the bean box eight years ago. Think of how cool that could have been if we'd thought of it in terms of end users and not just developers. Wiring small dedicated apps together. Don't think of Bean Box the way it was - think of it the way it could be. It could be the way we wire together web services. Go look up this item on Amazon and then . . .

Now here's the thing - some of these end user applications can be revenue sources. Watson, when it was an Apple application, was $29 and people bought it even though Sherlock evolved to incorporate much of the functionality. These user facing applications can be used to support the development. Imagine if Sun sold a Java based media playing application - I'll bet JMF would get some attention and would suddenly support a bunch of new codecs. One business model is to focus on selling big app servers for lots of money. There is, however, plenty of money to be made at the other end.


Chet Haase announces Graphics Acceleration Geeks: Rejoice! in today's Weblogs. "Want to help us nail down remaining issues with our Direct3D improvements for Windows? Download the latest Mustang builds, try it out, and let us know if you have any problems."

Eitan Suez has been playing with Tiger and shares his thoughts in a java programmer's first impressions of the macosx v10.4 upgrade. Others chime in and he updates his impressions.

Lance Anderson blogs that The genericjmsra project launches today! "J2EE 1.4 specifies the use of the Connector 1.5 Architecture as the basic mechanism to integrate JMS providers with J2EE 1.4 compliant application servers."


In Also in
Java Today
, Java in a Nutshell, 5th Edition is the latest update to the classic guide to Java development, covering the many additions to the language and libraries in J2SE 5.0. In the excerpt Generic Types, Part 1, David Flanagan introduces Generics by way of their most prominent use: adding compiler-enforced type safety to java.util's Collections classes.

JavaWorld is running an excerpt from Jonathan Knudsen and Sing Li's book Beginning J2ME: Building MIDlets. They show you how to build and run and example program called "Jargoneer, a MIDlet that looks up words in the Jargon File, a comprehensive lexicon of hacker slang.
When you enter a word into Jargoneer, it connects to a server to find the definition. Running this MIDlet will allow you to appear cool in the company of your hacker friends. When someone uses an unfamiliar word, like "cruft" or "grok," you can surreptitiously key the word into your mobile phone and see a definition in a few seconds."


In Projects and
Communities
, the JXTA community's jxdbc project is a JDBC proxy driver for JXTA so that you can "transform any JDBC application into a JXTA application simply by switching driver. "

In Java Games gcsaba2 asks What good is java.nio for? He writes it "has some buffers, like an IntBuffer. So is an IntBuffer faster than an array?"


In today's Forums mreinhold writes "I understand your concern about the state of Java on MacOS X. We at Sun are planning to work more closely with Apple going forward so that future J2SE feature releases can be ported to MacOS in a more timely fashion. "

Psynixis writes "There is a huge lack of awareness amongst developers (not only Java developers) about what it takes to design a great user interface. And by that I mean that the interface should be easy to learn, easy to use, and be visually appealing.


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Showcasing Java