As a developer there was one language that I could not stand programming to. That would be the Java language. One of the things I have always liked about Windows XP and even Mac OS X are the visual IDE tools that are available. They make designing the interface easy and really hassle free. Even the QT toolkit and GTK offer interface builders. I must say I am a bigger fan of .NET and Mono. The Java language offered Swing and even then it remained a hassle.
There are several IDE’s for developing Java code Eclipse, my personal favorite being Eclipse when I have to develop Java apps and C++, and Netbeans. So it really pleased me when Sun came out with the Java Studio Creator. I downloaded the technical preview edition and I must say that I am very, very pleased with this product.
Installation is very simple indeed it comes in the standard Installshield format and it installs the Java Studio Creator, a version of Suns app server and the Pointbase database server. It gave no hassles and went very smoothly. Manual configuration of the Database server and application server were not a big deal either. If you are interested in getting the Java Studio Creator it is located at Suns site. The link is provided in the references section. It is a very
heavy download, over 100 megs on all the platforms so it is my suggestion top have broadband of some kind
The interface is a very clean interface. Its a very well built interface with the most common tools available by default. This designer is heavily similar to the Visual Studios interface. You have the layout section, Pallete tool section with commonly used Widgets split into the following sections, User defined, JSF Standard Components, and JSF Validators are available in a tools box similar to Visual Studios, there is a properties tool box where you can set how
certain elements should look and a Server navigator tool box. Users migrating over from Visual Studios should have very little trouble migrating over to this tool and it should seem very common to them. The interface is common among the platforms meaning the interface is the same whether on Windows, Linux or Solaris. It has a section where the design layout can be viewed and the source can be viewed. It also offers the function that when you double click on an element the source section for that element will be available to edit. As I stated, you can tell where the inspiration came from.
This is where the Java Studio Creator lacked the most. Functionality on the one hand was great. It is a fully functional application. Speed was lacking on some Linux platforms. SuSE ran moderately well but compilation was very slow. It took 7 minutes 3 seconds to compile and test my code, Fedora Core 2 wouldnt even run Java Studio Creator it kept hanging on the startup screen. Debian, Slackware and Xandros were the best performers on the Linux side.
Compilation and deployment took 5 minutes 15 seconds on Debian and Xandros, Slackware took 5 minutes 32 seconds. Windows XP Professional won hands down in speed for compilation and testing at 4 minutes 11 seconds and Solaris was second place with 4 minutes 20 seconds. All the tests were run on the same hardware configuration except for the Solaris version which requires a Sparc.
What is there to like
The interface is easy enough to where a novice could actaully put something together. Deployment of developed apps is simple. Applications developed with the Java Studio creator look native to the OS you are running on meaning that if you use Windows XP you will have Luna style buttons and dialogs, if you use Keramik on Linux with KDE same thing if you use the browser Konqueror, Aqua on Mac OS X etc..
What I didnt like
Speed, as I stated it was slow on some platforms and it takes awhile to start up. Its a resource hog but mostly on the UNIX based Operating Systems which in my opinion is very odd considering Sun is a UNIX development house with both Solaris and Linux and they should optimize it for those platforms, Windows was the winner in speed in this case. Where oh where is my Solaris x86 version, I have 4 Sun SPARC workstations at work with 19 Solaris 9 x86 installs. I would like my Solaris x86 users to be able to use the tool on their own platform. App server will sometimes just quit and you have to restart. Trying to tie
some of the elements into my Oracle 9i databases that we use on Windows Server 2003 was being very uncooperative. These are annoyances that I hope that will be fixed in the final version.
Would Java Studio Creator make me switch to Java? No, we do deploy some Java apps in my business but this is to mostly benefit the Linux users. If you are already a hardcore Java fan and you program in Java then this tool is for you and its a giant step forward in Java development. Java Studio Creator definately makes Java an attractive contender for those who are looking to switch to Java. But for people like myself who love C# and other development languages, this is not a die for tool. I do think among the Java Community we will see a huge acceptance and among new users an equally high adoption. If Sun corrects many of the faults that I mentioned and produce a Solarix x86 version this will undobtedly make Java Studio Creator better.
About the Author
Roberto J Dohnert is a Unix/Linux and Windows Consultant and software developer. His first introduction to Unix based systems dates back to NeXTStep. He is a member of the GNU Darwin Distribution and has made several contributions to that and other projects. His personal webpage is here.
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