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Rebel Without a Pause

Posted by editor on August 29, 2007 at 8:42 AM PDT

Can kids raised on JavaScript and HTML handle Swing?

The last few times we heard from blogger Simon Morris, he was breaking down Rich Internet Application philosophies into browserism, neo-desktopism, and pragmatic neo-desktopism, then following up by decoupling the social and RIA aspects of "Web 2.0". He returns today with an interesting question about just who's going to be able to write any of this stuff going forward. He worries about The Lost Generation, which is:

an entire generation for whom the phrase "user interface" means HTML and Javascript. From a coding standpoint they know nothing outside the quaint little parallel-universe that is the web browser, with its own laws, customs and polytheist religion, whose gods (IE, Gecko, Opera, Safari...) must be placated for an application's success.

If this is the new world-view of the young programmer, then how well can they pick up on full-blown desktop GUI frameworks, like Swing? Simon says that Swing and JavaFX offer the best balance between traditional desktop richness and RIA cross-platform goodness, but the question is whether the next generation can hack it:

My only concern is this: will the 'lost generation' coming from the web to RIAs really want to join the Java camp, when offerings like AIR provide an environment which (superficially at least) seems closer to the environment from which they came? Swing is not like the simple form UIs they're used to, JavaFX Script is not like the JavaScript they're familiar with.

So what do you think? Do you agree that today's kids need to get right with GridBagLayout if they know what's good for them, or are they following a different path for a good reason?

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