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Simply Irresistable

Posted by editor on December 1, 2006 at 11:44 AM PST

Java ME's so appealing, even Microsoft uses it

One item that made the rounds of O'Reilly'e editors list yesterday was Kevin C. Tofel's blog entry Windows Live Search for Mobile: the U.S. on your phone, which pointed out the breathtaking irony of Microsoft bringing their search product to mobile phones by way of Java ME. Kevin raves it's "as if Microsoft put their Virtual Earth on your phone." Yes, that Microsoft, the one that tried to embrace-and-extend Java to death with an incompatible fork, the one that plagiarized Java and the JVM as C# and the CLR. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then what is wholesale adoption?

Looks to me like they're admitting that Java ME is a great way to deliver applciations to mobile handsets.

That said, when talk on the list turned to the idea that Microsoft's use of Java ME might further legitimize the platform, I pointed out that Google was doing at least as much and probably more in that department, with the ME-based Google Maps for Mobile and more recently GMail for Mobile. I also groused about my phone's seeming inability to use any of these apps, presumably due to carrier restrictions on network access by applications. As reader sfitzjava commented on my earlier blog on this topic, "US providers are killing J2ME, and Sun needs to take a big club and beat the living, crud out of these jerks for crippling/chocking-off the J2ME technology."

However, O'Reilly's Brian Jepson encouraged me to try again, saying I should start by downloading Opera Mini. So, I did, figuring it wouldn't get to a start page or even its own terms of service. But after OK'ing a dialog about network use (that I swear I've always OK'ed in the past), I found I could browse just about anywhere. In fact, I could hit real web pages, and not just WAP-minimized cheese, as you can see from the familiar page below (as captured by my iSight):


Given this, I went back to the GMail application and, amazingly, it seemed like it was actually working. And Google Maps too, allowing the typical first-time-user ego trip of satellite viewing one's own house... but this time on the phone.

So, with Java ME on the brain, he latest Poll asks "How often do you use Java ME apps on your mobile phone?" Cast your vote on the front page, then check the results page to see the latest tallies and discussion.

Also in Java Today,

TheServerSide has a particularly active conversation going on about Resource based GUIs vs. Code Generation in Java: "Almost every platform has a visual designer that serializes the GUI to resources (some XML, some proprietary binaries) and then attaches it to the controller at runtime. Apple has had this for years with Interface Builder, Vista has a similar philosophy now as well." After listing the benefits of resource-based GUI's, the article asks the question "With all that being said, why is it that code generators are still so prevalent in Java?" blogger John O'Conner switched to Mac OS X a few months ago and blogs about the current state of Java SE 6 on Mac OS X: "All that confidence is starting to wane just a little now though. I'm not giving up hope really, just getting nervous. The latest build # from Sun is 104...from Apple, it's 88. I keep checking to see if anything new gets posted. Nothing. Not even a note or explanation. I don't want to complain, and I'm not really... just describing my experience at this point."

Bruno F.