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The Impression That I Get

Posted by editor on January 18, 2008 at 8:12 AM PST

Seems like Java programmers use a lot more than just Java

Apropos of the discussion of whether to "freeze" the Java language, there's a side discussion of whether the best place for new and potentially nichey advancements is not in Java at all, but in other languages running on the JVM. Advocates of this position argue that if you really need closures, and the Java language isn't amenable, then you could just drop into Ruby. Need a high level of extensibility? Mix in some Scala. Scripting with tight Java integration? Maybe look at Groovy. The argument is perhaps stronger when you consider languages that are highly-specialized or wildly different: crunching rules with Prolog, for example. A counter-argument to this says that using a bunch of arbitrarily-chosen languages will necessarily be chaotic and hard to maintain, so be conservative and stick with Java, extending it if necessary.

This reminds me of the case made against building GUIs with a tool like NetBeans' Matisse. The argument there is that you've added a dependency, one more thing to learn and be tied into. Better, say the doubters, to just bang out a bunch of GridBagLayout code; it'll be easier to maintain to just do everything in Java, right?

But who really does everything in Java today? Is your webapp client a Java applet, or is it HTML markup? And if you're doing Ajax, then you've pulled in JavaScript as well. Sure, these are extremely common technologies -- nearly everyone in our field knows them -- and that serves to make the point that we all pull together multiple technologies, Java being just one of them, to get our jobs done. So why shouldn't we be open to new languages, tools, and technologies, particularly if they look like they're well-suited to the problem domain?

And that brings us to the latest Poll, which asks "What application development techniques do you use other than coding?" Cast your vote on the front page, then check out the results page for current tallies and discussion.

In Java Today,
the Scene Graph Demos Project contains applications and examples which demonstrate the capabilities and usage of the Scene Graph API. Available demos include the jPhone demo presented by Chet Haase in recent blog. Chet has also written another blog about the history of the demos and what it took to get them ready for public viewing.

JavaFX Script, which made its debut last spring, is a scripting language that runs on top of Java Platform, Standard Edition 6 (Java SE) and makes it easy to code sophisticated user interfaces. In the article Create rich applications with JavaFX Script, you can learn the essentials of the JavaFX scripting language and gain an understanding of some basic UI components with the help of the sample application detailed within.

Java ME expert Jonathan Knudsen has a new book that is lean, accessible, and occasionally funny: a practical guide to building MIDP 2.0/MSA (JSR 248) applications. Kicking Butt with MIDP and MSA offers solutions for the complex challenges of coding efficiency, application design, and usability in constrained mobile environments, and it comes with downloadable code.

Even if you're not coming to next week's Mobile & Embedded Developer Days -- BTW, today is the last day for official registration -- you'll be able to check in from your desk, according to an announcement in today's Weblogs.
M & E Developer Days - Remote Broadcast, Roger