Linked by Kroc Camen on Sat 29th May 2010 20:41 UTC
Apple I've been meaning to write this for some time, and for all the time I delayed the more poignant the point I wanted to make started to become as new news came out further solidifying my angle. When I begun writing this article the iPad had not yet been revealed, iPhone OS 4 was not on the map and Apple had not yet purchased Lala. You've probably just noticed that all of these events in fact point toward Apple embracing the web more and in this article I will point out why this is not the case because I believe Apple's agenda here is similar to something we've already seen in recent history.
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we all had the same complaints: Make use of the host's native GUI, reduce the runtime size, and fix distribution issues.

But the arrogant pricks at Sun didn't listen

Funny you should say that, but those exact issues have all been addressed with the newest Java 6 releases (some were even already addressed in Java 5) and are continuing to be addressed. Native GUI is good to go (in SWT it is a given and with Swing the open/close dialogs are pretty much the only outstanding issue). As for runtime size and distribution issues, the runtime is now modular and the pieces are downloaded on-demand when you run an applet that needs them. (By the way, Java's full runtime installation takes about 1/10th the time to install as .NET. Both come preinstalled of course, so it's something of a non-issue anyway, but the difference is that Java is a lot easier to update.)

The reason Java got a bad reputation is largely historical and has little to do with Java today. Java today is thoroughly optimized to the point where it beats GCC-compiled code's performance in many cases, and its 2D graphics stack is also extremely performant and on some platforms 3D-accelerated. On top of that it is open source. And finally, the world we live in today is different from the time when you were messing around with Java. Computing power has increased today to where virtual machines' performance hits are negligible and the benefits that the layer of abstration, sandboxing and garbage collection bring are totally worth the hit.

It's not your grandfather's Java anymore. If you don't like Swing, use SWT (which gives you real, 100% native widgets), or scenegraph-based stuff like JavaFX or Piccolo2D. Hell, even Qt has Qt Jambi, so you can get the benefits of Java and Qt simultaneously without having to write a line of C++ code.

Finally, Java has the combination of managed code, cross-platform compatibility, and being open-sourced -- no other technology offers you all three. Even if you claim Mono provides all three as well, Java still has the advantage of every new JRE release being backwards compatible--a far cry from the multi-framework-version nightmare that is .NET.

So be bitter all you want. But don't go spreading this bullshit about Java not being suitable for the desktop.

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