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Poor Unfortunate Souls

Posted by editor on June 1, 2007 at 5:00 AM PDT

Mac Java developers keep waiting for JDK 6

It was hard not to notice all the Mac laptops at JavaOne, even in the general sessions, where the presentation stands often had three or four MacBooks lined up side by side for the demos. An uninformed observer might be inclined to think that the Mac was the best and most popular platform for Java development. They probably wouldn't suspect that the Mac is, in fact, nearly a year behind the Java mainstream, and not for the first time.

During JDK 6's development, Apple had been releasing Developer Preview releases of a JDK 6 implementation that were generally just a few betas behind Sun's official version. But when JDK 6 went final last fall, Mac users kept waiting, and are now still waiting, for a release-quality version for the Mac. The last drop, announced in September 2006, represents b88, a fairly late beta, but a beta nonetheless. While it's satisfactory for many, it still causes problems. For example, if you're working with JDK 6's programmatic access to javac, b88 still uses the class name JavaCompilerTool, while the final JDK uses JavaCompiler and has a few other API changes. The result is that you can't easily write a cross-platform app that uses this feature if you want to support the Mac, something I found out the hard way when I developed a Glossitope desklet that used this API (I still need to formally fork my code into Mac and non-Mac versions... what's on Josh & Rob's site now uses JavaCompilerTool and thus is still Mac-only).

Problems like these, compounded by the complete absence of any guidance from Apple about the situation, has some people asking if it's worth it. In fact, it has JavaLobby's Matthew Schmidt asking Is the Mac really a good dev platform? He's kicked off a lengthy discussion by asking "besides having a slick command line and nice interface, is the Mac really worth it for Java development? Your JVM version will always be behind, you're paying a premium for the Mac hardware and Apple has always treated Java like a bit of a second class citizen. So, why do you keep sticking with your Mac?"

Also in Java Today, the 123rd issue of the JavaTools Community Newsletter is out, with tool news from around the web, a list of new projects in the tools community, and a Tool Tip on converting your CVS-based project to use Subversion.

In Java Mobility Podcast #6: Vodafone Introduces Betavine Developer Portal,
Roger and Terrence interview Steve Wolak and Peter Thompson from Vodafone about the new Betavine site, a research and development space that encourages collaboration in mobile and internet communications. As a Betavine user, you can download and test applications, create your own projects and blogs, and interact with other users.

Apropos of the earlier topic of Macs and Java, the latest Poll asks "Is the Mac a good Java development platform?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for current tallies and discussion.

Today's Forums have one more Mac-related item, in which pepe asks about Java3D's status on osx: "In the company i work for we are actually checking various platforms for one of our upcoming product (netbeans and java3d based). We are investigating the use of a mac pro (with 4 geforce so that we have 8 displays.. yay!!). Has anyone used java3d on macs? What is your experience?"

aberrant has deployment problems on a different platform, in Launching a java application under windows: "Our product uses a batch file to launch our swing app. We are running into a problem though because Windows 2000 has a command line limit of 2047 and our classpath is starting to hit this limit. Is there some other way to pass the classpath to the JVM?"

Kirk Turner has some help for getting started in Project Wonderland in Re: Create a sample world: "I'm sure Paul et al will be able to give more information about this, but in the mean time, I've spent some time over the last couple of days modifying the world to use my own models. The first point of call is to have a look at the (wiki at the section about the Extending the world and Content Creation. The useLocalArt flag wasn't working for me, so I had to serve the content from my local apache (I added a few more instructions to the wiki for this). You then need to create your content and get it into a j3s format (compile java3d stream)."

In today's Weblogs, Carol McDonald has a tutorial on Pagination of Data Sets in a Sample Application using JSF, Catalog Facade Stateless Session, and Java Persistence APIs: "This Sample Store Catalog app demonstrates the usage of JSF, the new Java Persistence APIs, an EJB Stateless Session Bean to implement pagination in a Java EE 5 application."

Arun Gupta checks in with a href="">Google Developer Day Report: "All in all, it was a great crash course for different Google offerings. It's a very long entry, so feel free to skip around, look at the pictures or read notes from sections of your choice."

Finally, Kirill Grouchnikov reports on major Substance development in Listening to the users part III - theme transitions: "A very small request has resulted in the most significant rewrite that I have made in the last two years. Read inside on what has happened."

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Mac Java developers keep waiting for JDK 6