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Can the Plug-in compete?

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marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

Why hasn't Java become the dominant technology in RIA development?
I'm not the first person to ask this question, nor will I be the last. It is unbelievable to me that the company that invented the RIA over a decade ago has made little or no progress in this field and presents absolutely no challenge to inferior technologies that came later. JavaScript was named "Java" script deceptively to give it better visibility in the marketplace, but given its dominance in the RIA market, you'd never believe it.

I have been developing software for over 25 years now with the majority of my experience in C++ development and object-oriented analysis and design. Wanting to move into the web market, I started doing RIA development a few years ago. I was horrified by the development options available to me and the seemingly infinite amount of hoops I had to jump through to get even the simplest application functionality implemented and working correctly. I had been using Java to do backend work and had really come to like it. To me, the ideal situation would be to use Java to do the client-side work as well as the server-side work. Not only would I be using a real OO programming language, I'd also be using a single technology across the board. The problem was that there really was no nice client-side Java solution available. Swing was just too cumbersome and inflexible and other products had similar drawbacks. What I really wanted was a client-side solution that was as easy to use and just as flexible as HTML/CSS for building a UI, but provided the dynamic and robust programming features of Java. So I quit my full-time job about 18 months ago and started designing a Java-based RIA product called the Galileo RIA Framework.

One of the many frustrations that I had experienced working with JavaScript was the problem of inconsistent appearance and behavior on different browsers; therefore, when I started designing Galileo one of its primary requirements was that it be able to run on all major browsers on all major platforms and produce a consistent looking UI. Knowing the history of the Java Plug-in, I wasn't sure if it would meet this requirement. Much to my relief, it turned out that the latest Java plug-in (1.5 at the time) worked fine with all the latest and greatest browsers (IE, Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Safari, and Camino) on all of my test machines which included Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS-X, and a few Linux distros. This was great. I figured now all I had to do was focus on developing the actual UI framework and I would have the product I had been longing for and a product that the Java community would be excited about.

I recently released Galileo as a Beta and while many developers who have looked at the product have admitted that it is an impressive product and that they'd like it to gain much success, they are reluctant to use it because it depends on the Java Plug-in. This has been a major disappointment to say the least. I knew that applets had developed a stigma over the years, but I didn't realize how pronounced the distaste for the plug-in had become. The negativity and skepticism within the Java community itself is so overwhelming that any hope for wide acceptance of the plug-in seems impossible. The funny thing is that all the developers I have talked with would like the plug-in to become widely accepted, but in order for it to become widely accepted, it would have to be used, however, most website developers are hesitant to use it, because, well, it's not widely accepted.

I want to change this. Not only because the success of my product depends on it, but because I would like more job opportunities to be available to me as a Java programmer as the RIA market continues to grow.

Why did the Java Plug-in fail in the first place?
My guess is that there were several major reasons for the failure of the Java Plug-in. One, applets and the plug-in were introduced at a time when most users were limited to dial-up access to the internet. Downloading the plug-in and the applets that used it took too long for a normal user's patience. Two, a Swing UI compared to an HTML website designed by a graphics artist looked terrible. Three, platform and browser compatibility may have been an issue also, but not being involved in Java development back then, I don't know if that was an issue or not. Four, it has been said that installation of the Plug-in was not straightforward and could have been difficult for non-developers. Five, the web was still pretty new itself. The concept of the RIA didn't exist; therefore, there wasn't any pressure for websites to be anymore than straight HTML. Adding technology that complicated implementation, limited potential visitors, and looked bad, just didn't make any sense.

Can the Java Plug-in compete now?
I'm optimistic it can for several reasons. One, according to the latest statistics I've read, 86% of U.S. internet users now use broadband. Download times for JAR files and other resources have become negligible. Two, Sun has finally decided to rewrite the plug-in making it easier to detect, download, install, and upgrade. Also most major browsers will prompt the user in a standard way to install the plug-in if a page that requires it is loaded. Three, new operating systems / machines are coming with the Java plug-in already installed. I know both my Windows Vista machines from Dell did, my Mini-Mac from Apple did, and several distros of Linux install the plug-in when the OS is installed. Four, installing a plug-in just isn't a big deal for users anymore. According to a June 2008 survey 99% of internet enabled desktops have already installed the Flash plug-in and 85% have Java installed. Five, standard HTML websites are no longer the standard. To be competitive, websites will have to continue to evolve with RIAs being the latest evolutionary step. Where standard HTML sites with bits and pieces of JavaScript could be developed by graphic artists and other non-developer types, RIAs, because of the complicated implementations, require software developers. Where the major driving force in the web development market used to be graphics artists and non-developer types, as the RIA market grows software developers, many of which are Java developers, will become a greater driving force. This opens up more opportunities for Java. And six, with a framework like Galileo which allows easily customizable UI's that can look as good as any HTML/CSS based UI, aesthetics are no longer an issue for Java UI's.

I was discussing this issue with Marty Hall of www.coreservlets.com this week and here's what he had to say:

I would love it if a Java-based solution gained some traction in the RIA world. I spend a lot of time doing Ajax training, and right now, Ajax is tremendously complicated for developers. Developers have to learn xhtml, XML, JSON, JavaScript, Prototype, 37 other JavaScript libraries, and a server-side technology (servlets/JSP, PHP, ROR, or whatever). Even with integrated technologies like GWT or JSON-RPC, there are still an awfully lot of underlying technologies for a developer to master, and the interface is still limited by what current browsers can support."

I really hope your framework catches on. It would be a good thing. You could build apps that were so much better if you had a real programming language and a single underlying technology.

The more compelling apps out there that get people to install Java in their browsers the better. And the more powerful but simplified GUI frameworks like yours, the better.

JavaRiaDev.org
I believe a window of opportunity has opened to give the Java Plug-in a rare second chance. It appears that Sun believes this too, since they have taken the initiative to redesign the plug-in and to create JavaFx. However, with no disrespect to Sun, if Java developers expect the plug-in to succeed due to Sun's efforts alone, I think they are sadly mistaken. In order for the plug-in to succeed, a concerted effort by the Java community will be necessary. For this reason I have created JavaRiaDev.org. The main initiative of this effort will be to pool developer resources to create RIAs that utilize the Java plug-in and appeal to a broad audience by coming up with new ideas for websites, copying successful website ideas and making them better, and/or trying to forge strategic partnerships with existing websites that already have a substantial user base who are looking to upgrade to RIA technology. The second initiative will be to provide the appropriate resources to help other developers interested in Java RIA development. I, of course, will be pushing Galileo, but will welcome the use of any product that promotes the use of the Java plug-in.

There will no doubt be skeptics in the Java community who say this is a fool's errand. But for those like me who are not content sitting on the sidelines waiting for others to decide their fate, I say join me and help me in my effort to make Java, if not the dominating, at least a viable option for RIA development. Personally I'd like to have an impact that creates the general opinion that any machine connected to the internet that isn't equipped with the Java plug-in is an inconvenience to the user. If a machine has a modern browser there's no reason for it not to have the plug-in.

If you are interested in becoming a part of this effort, please email me.

Thanks,
M. Warble
m.warble@javariadev.org

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rogyeu
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Joined: 2006-07-30

Now that you can load Applets from a JNLP file, you can have more control of how to deploy your application. Couple other deployment parameters you may want to consider in addition to forcers suggestions:
- Use lazy download if not all your classes are needed at Startup
http://java.sun.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/javaws/developersguid...
- Perform update in the background (set update attribute to "background")
http://java.sun.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/javaws/developersguid...
- Use Jar indexing to index your jar files. That helps the class loader to find your classes and packages.
http://java.sun.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/jar/jar.html#JAR%20Index

HTH,
RY

removed angle bracket...

Message was edited by: rogyeu

carcour
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Joined: 2003-06-18

I'm using Firefox 3 on Windows XP3 32 bits, Java 6 Update 10 b33 (final) on an 3800+ AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core machine. The problem with Galileo is speed and then search, how will Google search your site? You will never get any hits. I also find the fonts to be jaggy and there's no way to select text which kills usability.

marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

> I'm using Firefox 3 on Windows XP3 32 bits, Java 6
> Update 10 b33 (final) on an 3800+ AMD Athlon 64 X2
> dual core machine. The problem with Galileo is speed
> and then search, how will Google search your site?
> You will never get any hits. I also find the fonts to
> be jaggy and there's no way to select text which
> kills usability.

Thanks for your comments. The speed problem you are experiencing seems to be an anomaly. I have 8 test machines all of varying speed and memory running Vista, XP, Mac OS-X, and several Linux distros. I am noticing the speed problem with some browsers on some platforms, but the problem, while consistent, isn't predictable. To give you an example, I have 2 Vista machines both high-end, both running JRE 1.6.10 and both have the same version of Chrome installed. Chrome works fine on one machine, but is so slow on the other machine that it's unusable. I'm a bit stumped right now, but I'm still trying to figure out why this is happening. Firefox 3 works fine on all my machines, except Mac OS-X where it seems to load images and HTML files noticeably slower than Safari. I don't think the problem is with Galileo, but I haven't verified that yet.

I've put together a speed test application that loads a 1.16 Mb image using Galileo and then straight HTML and reports the time to load. If you get a chance, I'd appreciate if you or anyone else reading this would run it and report to me what your results were:

http://www.galileo-riaf.com/speedtest

In regards to your other comments...

Searchable content can be managed. There are plenty of websites that generate the content they serve programmatically, so this is nothing new.

The jaggy fonts is a bug and will be fixed. Just as a note, with the new plug-in, fonts look really nice now on Windows.

And, while copy and paste functionality is not available yet, it is planned for Release 1.

Thanks again,
M. Warble

forcers
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Joined: 2008-01-18

Have you considered using pack200 for your jar file(s)?

I downloaded galileo.jar and ran it through pack200 and here are the results:

galileo.jar = 388 KB

galileo.jar.pack.gz = 83 KB

83 KB will download A LOT faster than 388 KB. When I did this on my local server and my boss, who runs over a VPN, used my server, he was astounded at the speed increase of initial applet loads.

Command used:
"C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_10\bin\pack200.exe" "C:\Documents and Settings\eclipse3.2\product\build\galileo.jar.pack.gz" "C:\Documents and Settings\eclipse3.2\product\build\galileo.jar"

marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

Thanks for the recommendation. This is something I will definitely look into.

M. Warble

gvincent
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Joined: 2004-08-28

Gili,

One of your points are particularly worth expounding on. Flexibility versus simplicity. One of the major arguments I've heard for using Flash vice CSS/HTML/AJAX or Java is that the language (ActionScript3) is similar to Swing, but the tool support is fantastic. With Flash, what they tell me is that the graphic artists can do their magic, and then the programmer can come in and do their magic (register listeners to bind the logic), while keeping the overall design/architecture very nice and organized. Want "roundish" buttons? No problem. Want UI widgets that don't resemble the "standard stuff" of regular GUI toolkits? No problem.

The sort of "magic" that Chet and Romain did in "Filthy Rich Clients" is far from "simple" and not that easy to pull off. JavaFX holds promise, but without tools that support a collaboration of "artist" and "programmer", we programmers will still be stumbling around trying to give "beauty" to our "powerful beast". This won't fly in the commercial world.

marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

> Gili,
>
> One of your points are particularly worth expounding
> on. Flexibility versus simplicity. One of the major
> arguments I've heard for using Flash vice
> CSS/HTML/AJAX or Java is that the language
> (ActionScript3) is similar to Swing, but the tool
> support is fantastic. With Flash, what they tell me
> is that the graphic artists can do their magic, and
> then the programmer can come in and do their magic
> (register listeners to bind the logic), while keeping
> the overall design/architecture very nice and
> organized. Want "roundish" buttons? No problem.
> Want UI widgets that don't resemble the "standard
> stuff" of regular GUI toolkits? No problem.

All thanks for the replies. Glad to see the conversation starting to pick up some steam.

Just to make it clear, one of my driving philosophies behind Galileo is simplicity. Galileo is not an extension of Swing. It's an entirely new GUI framework on top of the Java2D library. However Beta 2 which will be out by the end of weekend will have a component called JWrapper which will allow you to integrate Swing controls into Galileo. I actually tested this with Nasa's WorldWind Swing component and it worked like a charm. I'm hoping to put that demo out there next week.

Just to demonstrate some of its simplicity if you haven't had a look at the demo yet. If you want Button that is round or has rounded corners you just do this:

Button b = new Button("Press Me");
b.setShape(new RoundRectangle(10));

or

Button b = new Button("Press Me");
b.setShape(new Ellipse());

or maybe you want to give the Button a shadow:

b.setShadow(20, 45, 255, 100);

Galileo was designed to make UI modeling as simple as HTML and CSS. When your building a GUI application you don't want to spend your time figuring out how to do things with the GUI. You want to spend your time on the actual service that the website or application is going to provide. Galileo has been designed to allow developers to do that, but there are no limits on what your UI can look like. The default style of the controls resemble the controls currently rendered by browsers, but you can make them look however you want pretty effortlessly. I think you'll find the real limit when using Galileo will be your own creativity. I would consider myself above average on the creativity side when compared to other developers, but I still hired a graphics artist to design my product website. And his design which he did assuming the website would be HTML was easily reproduced using Galileo. I didn't have to sacrifice any of his design, because Galileo wasn't able to reproduce it.

> The sort of "magic" that Chet and Romain did in
> "Filthy Rich Clients" is far from "simple" and not
> that easy to pull off.

I've built alot of the things that are done in this book into Galileo. I've done all the hard work already - and it was hard - the user just needs to specify what they want there GUI's to look like. They don't have to worry about all the low level graphics "magic".

Many have expressed interest in a Desktop version of Galileo which I plan on producing. It should be quite simple to convert the browser version to a desktop version.

I also have intentions of building a "design studio" for it. Which will make it easy for Graphic Artists to work with developers in creating applications.

Message was edited by: marvinpwarble

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

> Many have expressed interest in a Desktop version of
> Galileo which I plan on producing. It should be
> quite simple to convert the browser version to a
> desktop version.
>
> I also have intentions of building a "design studio"
> for it. Which will make it easy for Graphic Artists
> to work with developers in creating applications.
>
> Message was edited by: marvinpwarble

Marvin,

The problem as I see it is that Galileo is not open-source and it would need to be in order for the web and Java community to embrace it to the fullest potential. At the same time, that would kill your business model (as I understand it) and it would also kill the motivation to continue development.

I just don't think that any new GUI api will take off unless it's open-source.

jstansel
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Joined: 2007-04-26

"There isn't enough expertise or willpower in the community to write our own plugin"

That's an interesting thought, given the fact that the tiny icedtea project has been able to create one, and even include a 64-bit version.

(Anyone wanting to make a plugin that runs on MS/Windows and in the MSIE browser is going to have their hands full, but at least they would have another reference.)

Regards,

-james.

(PS Yes, the icedtea plugin is included in Ubuntu 8.10 [Intrepid Ibex] that was released today.)

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

EDIT: Oops, I guess I shouldn't have removed my original post as it was quoted by the Java.net editor. I'll try to reconstruct it off the top of my mind...

marvinpwarble,

I agree with you on many levels. We need a client-side community effort that documents the issues, prioritizes them, and begins addressing them one by one.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that "If I have to write my own plug-in in order for it to be competive, than Sun really isn't doing me any favors." People have been using open-source as an excuse to avoid fixing real problems. I believe there are two reasons nothing has been done yet...

1) There is a real mismatch between the number of people complaining about problems and the number of people able to do anything about it. I tried firing up OpenJDK and making changes to JFileChooser (which has been broken for as long as I can remember). A week later I totally gave up. The Swing code was a total mess (in fact, I suspect *most* Swing code is this way!) and getting OpenJDK to compile and submit a patch was also a lot more work than I expected.

I've contributed to many other open-source projects before, but it's so much harder to do for OpenJDK.

In my view, the OpenJDK code needs to be cleaned up (refactored to make the code more manageable without changing the underlying functionality) in order to improve the quality of the code and modularity enough to make it possible for more amateur programmers to step in. Right now the code is a total minefield with very high coupling. You can't modify one piece of code without creating 10 other bugs in the process!

2) There is a real mismatch between Sun's server-side priorities versus our client-side priorities. Most client-side bugs in BugParade are flagged as low-priority because they are "cosmetic" in nature. I would argue that "cosmetic" bugs are much higher priority for client-side applications than they are for server-side applications, and as such the BugParade priorities are somewhat out of touch with reality.

In summary: What we need is a successful open-source community that will incrementally tackle Swing problems one at a time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but right now most people contributing to OpenJDK are individual contributors.

We need a coordinated effort to prioritize issues according to client-side priorities before sending in people to fix it. I suspect current people fix bugs in OpenJDK based on what they can do or based on what their immediate business needs are. Those are not necessarily the same priorities we have (longer-term development of desktop Java).

Gili

marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

> > Sun should have taken this initiative a long time
> > ago. To me, Sun should have a group of developers,
> > graphics artists, and thinkers whose only purpose
> is
> > to develop websites that push their technology and
> > appeal to the masses. As far as I know they
> don't.
> > They can create all the cool demos they want, but
> > that only appeals to developers.
> Nono, not again. I guess I've heard that "Sun should
> have done" phrase about 3-4 times last week.
> Everybody has different opinions what Sun should have
> done and what not, so it seems Sun just didn't
> fullfill every whish/need which ... well ... does not
> surprise me.
> After all thats what open-source is about, fullfill
> your wishes yourself :)

If I have to write my own plug-in in order for it to be competive, than Sun really isn't doing me any favors.

> I could use another analogy.
>
> 1.) Imagine car-companies which sell you the same
> boring technology with five different names, every
> year another old technology re-labeld. Looks a bit
> different but everything was already there.
> The have a very strong marketing department, forcing
> them to innovate where there simply is nothing to
> innovate. So you buy a new car every year, just to
> get the hyper-cool stuff which in fact is just the
> same boring stuff it always was.
>
> Thats how I see Microsoft, Adobe and many others.
> They sell their products and their goal is maximum
> money.
> So in order to sell enough stuff, I see "innovations"
> without end. However if you look closer all that cool
> things are just marketing bubbles.
> Do you really think C# will be a language MS will be
> proud of in 5 years, I think they won't. They just
> put in everything they can imagine, just to make
> everybody happy. It never worked long this way.
> Same for adobe and flash.
> And whats about all those "Cloud computing" and
> "Webservices" buzzwords, and all the stuff we had in
> the past 5 years.
>
> Sure its clever marketing, but I don't prefer it that
> way. And after all, users (which may be atracted by
> such marketing) don't create webapps ;)
>
>
> 2.) Another analogy: You are a car-manufacturer and
> you've licensed engine technology which only runs
> with the creator's fuel. Sure, you only have to pay
> for the engine technology, but all your customers
> will pay much more just to get gasoline.
>
> Why should I force my users to windows, because of
> the technology I am using? Why should I cause my
> customers to buy expensive Flex Server-Side-Software
> or clustering stuff.
> I came across many technologies from many companies
> and it always impressed me that Sun did not try to
> sueeze money out of me, as almost all others (of
> course) tried to do. No vendor lock-in has quite a
> great value.
>
> Wow its late, I guess I'll go to bed ;)
>
> Good luck, Clemens

This is all in reference to the plug-in just to re-iterate.

Here's the problem - if I can't use Sun's technology to compete in the real world, than I'm forced to use one of those other guy's (MS or Adobe) products. That's just the reality of the situation. Not all of us are hobbyists. Some of us are actually trying to make a living in this business. And to do that we need to be able to compete with those other guys. Is Sun just in it to give hobbyists new toys to tinker with or are they actually trying to compete? If they are interested in competing, which I'm assuming they are since they are a publicly traded company and they have invested the time and money to rewrite the plugin and create JavaFx, then they need to provide the users of their products the means to also compete. Otherwise, in order to survive, we'll be forced to use a product that will allow us to compete.

I want to use Java to develop RIA solutions. I don't want to use JavaScript or Flex or Silverlight. I've spent almost 2 years full-time, 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week, developing a Java RIA framework that would allow myself and other Java developers to easily create RIA solutions that can compete with Ajax, Flex, and Silverlight. But without a Java plug-in that can compete with the other plug-ins, it's useless.

When Sun is losing Java developers to Adobe, because the developers have no other choice but to do so in order to sustain their businesses, which is happening, there isn't anything impressive or innovative about that. That's not something to be proud of. That's just bad. And it's a real shame.

The whole reason I started this thread was to try to get in touch with other Java developers that would like to see the plug-in succeed and have a vested interest in its success. Form an organization, brainstorm, and try to come up with solutions to make the plug-in competive, which means getting it on the general public's machines. It is quite obvious that Sun is incapable or uninterested in this and I'm starting to think I'm the only developer that's interested. I mean, this is the plug-in forum isn't it? So where's the interest?

Maybe I'll send out one of those chain letters telling everyone that if they install the Java Plug-in they'll be helping to save some little girls life somewhere in the world.

Message was edited by: marvinpwarble

cowwoc
Offline
Joined: 2003-08-24

Marvin,

I think there is a lot of room for optimism. First, Galileo runs absolutely amazing under Java6 update 10. In fact, all applets do. I am absolutely impressed with what a great job Sun has done with the new applet plugin.

Galileo suffers from slow loading times in a few places but I believe it is good enough for a 1.0 release. You did an amazing job.

With respect to the future of client-side Java I would say the following:

- There isn't enough expertise or willpower in the community to write our own plugin (and to a certain degree, help Sun with theirs via OpenJDK). If businesses start making money on top of the new plugin I don't think we'll have to worry much about it, Sun will end up doing the right thing. The only remaining question is how to start making money.

- The idea behind Swing is great: a rich reusable UI library. I think it is fair to say, however, that Swing needs to be extended to provide more "lite" components suitable for RIA development.

That is, we need more Flash-style widgets that are missing from Swing and *make their API dead simple*. Swing focused a lot on flexibility. I believe that RIA favors simplicity over flexibility.

- I'd love to see a *mature* well-managed open-source Swing UI library come out of the community. SwingX has cool widgets but the organization is simply not there. We need a strong open-source project that will put out regular releases, stabilizing established widget APIs over time. I'd love to see an open-source project as well managed as Netbeans or Glassfish come out for Swing.

In short: the *idea* behind Swing is great. We need a new Swing library like REST is to SOAP, like Wicket is to JSP. You know... We need a "Plain Old" Swing API, that focuses on the core Java goodness that we've all been craving all these years :) A return to core values.

I honestly believe that the community can put out a great Swing project and that this will have a stronger impact and higher chance of success than trying to put out our own browser plugin. Besides, I'm still on a high trying to get over how good the update 10 plugin is :)

All the best,
Gili

Message was edited by: cowwoc

Rewrote my reply from scratch :)

cowwoc
Offline
Joined: 2003-08-24

I have two questions I'd love to see answered:

1) Why is it so hard to do anything with JTable and anything that interacts with Document in Swing? The basic Swing components are great but the more complex components are totally unintuitive. For example, there are countless people asking how to get JTable to highlight the contents of a cell when a user hits TAB. There are countless people asking how to validate the contents of a JTable cell and prevent focus from leaving if it's invalid. The only way to find these answers is to Google them. I bet you not a single person managed to implement this completely by themselves. Someone needs to ask themselves why that is...

I would love to see more use-case oriented components with a lot of this functionality built-in right off the bat instead of expecting us to build it all ourselves. Even if we need to build it ourselves the functionality shouldn't be scattered across 3 different classes and require very unintuitive interactions.

2) This might sound like a silly question but bear with me: why does it take so long to install or uninstall Java? Flash installs in under 10 seconds. Java can take *minutes*. I'm sorry but if I'm visiting a website that asks me to install a plugin that takes a minute to install (or reboot sometimes!) I'm completely turned off. I'll cancel the plugin install and never visit the site again.

Java6 update 10 is a much lighter download, but if I recall correctly the installer/uninstaller still takes forever to run. I don't understand why. Is it scanning the entire hard-drive or something?!

fatbatman
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Joined: 2004-12-24

I agree, the Java installation is slow.

---

To be quite honest I'm disapointed with Update 10.
-Start up time is not as good as I'd hoped it would be.
-I can't specify the packages I require for the kernal installer, so it's not worth using.
-The ugly orange java logo is still there.
-The install process is still clunky(+ yahoo)
-Default http networking code!? I'm not certain about this but it's my hunch that the default networking code used by java such as Toolkit.getImage() for remote images is not as fast as loading an image in Firefox. Has anyone done any tests on this?

That said update 10 is a step in the right direction, but it's definitely not a game changer. It now all depends on Java 7/JavaFX + (JMC) getting multimedia support streaming video, webcam, audio support. (the fact these aren't currently supported in applets is insane).

Message was edited by: fatbatman

robilad
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Joined: 2004-05-05

Regarding the wish for a popular site like Wikipedia to use the Java plugin: they've been doing it for years - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortado_(software)

fred34
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Joined: 2004-06-19

You mentioned earlier that we need a big site to use the plugin like Facebook or MySpace.....Facebook DOES use the plugin. Try uploading some photos! Their browser for finding local photos to be uploaded is pure Java!

carcour
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Joined: 2003-06-18

Facebook's uses a Java applet which they probably bought, it doesn't work for a lot of people that's why they're using my application Bloom which is a Java app too http://antaki.ca/bloom/.

I think that the new plugin is not as fast as Flash or Silverlight, it's going to be hard to compete with them. Applets will only succeed only for specialized stuff. Galileo is a good idea but it's just too slow, 4-5s to show a simple page is not acceptable.

The plugin needs to be improved for under 1s startup as Flash does now. Check Jacob Nielsen recommendations: http://www.useit.com/papers/responsetime.html.

marvinpwarble
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Joined: 2008-07-26

> Facebook's uses a Java applet which they probably
> bought, it doesn't work for a lot of people that's
> why they're using my application Bloom which is a
> Java app too http://antaki.ca/bloom/.
>
> I think that the new plugin is not as fast as Flash
> or Silverlight, it's going to be hard to compete with
> them. Applets will only succeed only for specialized
> stuff. Galileo is a good idea but it's just too slow,
> 4-5s to show a simple page is not acceptable.
>
> The plugin needs to be improved for under 1s startup
> as Flash does now. Check Jacob Nielsen
> recommendations:
> http://www.useit.com/papers/responsetime.html.

Thanks for the comments. If you don't mind me asking, what browser and platform are you running? I don't see that kind of sluggishness on my test machines. I agree 4 to 5 secs is too long to load a simple web page.

Thanks,
M. Warble

cowwoc
Offline
Joined: 2003-08-24

I also see similar delays. It's about 4-5 seconds to load the main page, then another 2-3 seconds to load other pages. As far as I understand it's not the plugin but rather the application downloading its resources from the server. I don't think it's hard-drive or cpu bound but you'd need to profile it to be sure.

linuxhippy
Offline
Joined: 2004-01-07

> That could be addressed. Doesn't seem to be a
> problem for open source projects and organizations
> like Mozilla and Apache. That's basically what I'm
> suggesting.
Well it depends wether a single individual makes profit, or an organization.

> The idea is to create some websites that offer a
> service with a broad appeal and with some really nice
> features that make people want to install the
> plug-in, because they feel like they're missing out
> or being left behind without it.
Yes, I agree the idea is nice.
Its just the fact wether it will succeed or not causes me to hastitate.
There are big player which spend millions for advertising, just to make their "website with service" a success - just be later generate revenue with advertising.

> Sun should have taken this initiative a long time
> ago. To me, Sun should have a group of developers,
> graphics artists, and thinkers whose only purpose is
> to develop websites that push their technology and
> appeal to the masses. As far as I know they don't.
> They can create all the cool demos they want, but
> that only appeals to developers.
Nono, not again. I guess I've heard that "Sun should have done" phrase about 3-4 times last week.
Everybody has different opinions what Sun should have done and what not, so it seems Sun just didn't fullfill every whish/need which ... well ... does not surprise me.
After all thats what open-source is about, fullfill your wishes yourself :)

> It's all about investment. The plug-in isn't
> going to promote itself.
I absolutly agree about this point.
But in my opinion Sun does the right thing - develop good technolgy developers can work with.
Sun isn't a content provider, and I really doubt they would succeed as such (just looking at "Java and You").
Developers are start using the plugin, not users - and I doubt that a single site (be it by Sun or individuals) would change anything.

> Does that make more sense?
It absolutly makes sence, I just have doubt it will succeed.

> When Japanese cars
> started to become really popular in the 80's he was
> furious at those people who weren't buying American.
I could use another analogy.

1.) Imagine car-companies which sell you the same boring technology with five different names, every year another old technology re-labeld. Looks a bit different but everything was already there.
The have a very strong marketing department, forcing them to innovate where there simply is nothing to innovate. So you buy a new car every year, just to get the hyper-cool stuff which in fact is just the same boring stuff it always was.

Thats how I see Microsoft, Adobe and many others.
They sell their products and their goal is maximum money.
So in order to sell enough stuff, I see "innovations" without end. However if you look closer all that cool things are just marketing bubbles.
Do you really think C# will be a language MS will be proud of in 5 years, I think they won't. They just put in everything they can imagine, just to make everybody happy. It never worked long this way.
Same for adobe and flash.
And whats about all those "Cloud computing" and "Webservices" buzzwords, and all the stuff we had in the past 5 years.

Sure its clever marketing, but I don't prefer it that way. And after all, users (which may be atracted by such marketing) don't create webapps ;)

2.) Another analogy: You are a car-manufacturer and you've licensed engine technology which only runs with the creator's fuel. Sure, you only have to pay for the engine technology, but all your customers will pay much more just to get gasoline.

Why should I force my users to windows, because of the technology I am using? Why should I cause my customers to buy expensive Flex Server-Side-Software or clustering stuff.
I came across many technologies from many companies and it always impressed me that Sun did not try to sueeze money out of me, as almost all others (of course) tried to do. No vendor lock-in has quite a great value.

Wow its late, I guess I'll go to bed ;)

Good luck, Clemens

marvinpwarble
Offline
Joined: 2008-07-26

This conversation is extremely depressing.

It reminds me of the scene from the movie The Aviator where Howard Hughes is testifying in a Senate hearing and he accuses the senator leading the hearing of conspiring with the owner of Pan Am. The Senator in defense of the owner of Pan Am says he's a great patriot and he's not in the airline business to make money. To which Hughes replies, "Well I bet his shareholders will be relieved to hear that."

marvinpwarble
Offline
Joined: 2008-07-26

Thanks for the response. I hope your right.

marvinpwarble
Offline
Joined: 2008-07-26

I expected this thread to generate more discussion.

Message was edited by: marvinpwarble

linuxhippy
Offline
Joined: 2004-01-07

> I expected this thread to generate more discussion.

Well its just my opinion...
You are not the first, many projects like this disappeared after initial enthusiasm. After all some publicity about the new plugin would be great of course, but you only registered a web-site with a
Furthermore I guess there are doubt wether your idea is really non-profit once it would start up.

Your suggestions simply don't make a lot of sence to me to be honest, please don't take offense.

- Clemens

marvinpwarble
Offline
Joined: 2008-07-26

> After all some
> publicity about the new plugin would be great of
> course, but you only registered a web-site with a

Your thought here appears incomplete. What were you trying to say?

> Furthermore I guess there are doubt wether your idea
> is really non-profit once it would start up.

That could be addressed. Doesn't seem to be a problem for open source projects and organizations like Mozilla and Apache. That's basically what I'm suggesting.

> Your suggestions simply don't make a lot of sence to
> me to be honest, please don't take offense.
>
> - Clemens

No offense taken, but I'm curious as to what exactly doesn't make sense. Maybe I'm not expressing my ideas clear enough. What I'm trying to say is that if you could create a website(s) that had a broad user base like Wikipedia (as a non-commercial example) that used the Java Plug-in, the issue of the acceptance of the plug-in would become a mute point. If Amazon.com, MySpace, or Facebook, decided to add advanced features to their website that used the plug-in, again, the acceptance issue would disappear.

The idea is to create some websites that offer a service with a broad appeal and with some really nice features that make people want to install the plug-in, because they feel like they're missing out or being left behind without it.

Large commercial sites aren't going to do this, because it's too much of a risk to their revenue. Non-commercial sites without a vetted interest in Java aren't going to take the risk either. Their end goal is to get a cool site up and running as quick as possible and available to the widest audience possible. The only people who can change things are the people with a vetted interest in Java: Sun and Java Developers.

Sun should have taken this initiative a long time ago. To me, Sun should have a group of developers, graphics artists, and thinkers whose only purpose is to develop websites that push their technology and appeal to the masses. As far as I know they don't. They can create all the cool demos they want, but that only appeals to developers.

So it seems any hope of making the plug-in a success will have to come from the Java community itself. And unfortunately websites that use the plug-in, but only cater to Java developers, aren't going to cut it. It's all about investment. The plug-in isn't going to promote itself.

The only two websites that I have ever been too that weren't developer related that made use of the plug-in were Comedy Central's Video library and NOAA's animated doppler radar and I think Comedy Central has since dropped Java.

Does that make more sense?

On a slightly different note...

I would consider myself new to the Java community. I've been developing with it now for only about 4 years, but I have noticed some characteristics with Sun and the Java community that I consider to be a flawed mentality, at least from a marketing standpoint. I think this is an accurate observation and intend no offense by it. I'm curious if anyone else notices this.

To explain it, I'd like to use an analogy. My father worked for General Motors for most of his career. He is a blue collar gearhead. We only owned GM cars. When he wasn't working at the factory he was usually out underneath one of the cars trying to fix something that was wrong with it. He didn't mind. To him it was a hobby. But it was a necessary hobby, because there always seemed to be something wrong with one of the cars. When Japanese cars started to become really popular in the 80's he was furious at those people who weren't buying American. [b]He didn't understand that most people weren't gearheads and that they wanted a car that didn't require constant tinkering with.[/b] The only thing they wanted to know was how to drive it and where the gas cap was. They didn't want to know about the carburetor or distributor or the timing belt or how to fix them. Most people have better things to do with their time. To them a car is just another tool for increasing efficiency in life. He's now retired and I think he finally gets it, but it took him a long time to figure that out.

Anyway...

demonduck
Offline
Joined: 2008-03-14

[b]He didn't understand that most people weren't gearheads and that they wanted a car that didn't require constant tinkering with. [/b]

I think the current group of Java Developers at SUN may figure this out as they apply
for their unemployment insurance.

Do I sound negative? Well give me some news that will change that....

demonduck
Offline
Joined: 2008-03-14

I wish you all the luck in the World. You are going to need it.

The big, first obstacle to your plan are the unresponsive armatures on the Java Dev Team
who think their ideas are the only ideas and everybody else -- like the people like you and
me -- who try to earn a living writing Java applets and apps -- are idiots.

So you have this just about impenetrable barrier to your goals from the start.

" There will no doubt be skeptics in the Java community who say this is a fool's errand. "

I would never call you a fool. But don't spend any more money on this project. You
are going to need it for your next project.

tdanecito
Offline
Joined: 2005-10-10

Hi Marvin,

I have been doing development both client and middle tier and database tier for over 24 years and java exclusively since 1996. You are right on why java was not being used on the client side but there was one other issue. That issue was communication with the servers over the internet. That was taken care of finally via SOAP but even that did not mature till recently with JAX-WS and web services. There are still other issues to give rich functionality (not to be confused with making a screen pretty) that need to be resolved.

I use java on the client side and am having downloads every minute of the day for MyUniPortal from all over the world. I have support from groups such as NASA and VLC who mention my portal on their sites. It is not uncommon to see users from Switzerland and India and Russia along with France and US all in the same hour.

More interesting is I am seeing more use of java 1.6.0_07 and less of earlier 1.6.0_02 for example in my apache access log. I have seen one or two accesses using 1.6.0_10 b33 and hopefully will see more over time.

So I am hoping to see more and this week I have people wanting to talk to me about funding to expand the use of my portal which means more java on the desktop.

Bottom line is java is slowly making its way to the desktop and hopefully we can get more support from Sun rather than less as they become aware it is happening. We need to let them know.

Best Regards,
Tony Anecito
Founder,
MyUniPortal
http://www.myuniportal.com

demonduck
Offline
Joined: 2008-03-14

You guys might want to hedge your bets ---- Java aint no money maker for SUN.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10075735-16.html?tag=newsLeadStoriesAr...

Something is about to happen at Sun. Unfortunately, no one outside the company seems to know what that "something" is.

As reported in Barron's, Southeastern Asset Management, Sun's largest institutional investor, just upped its stake in Sun to 21.2 percent and recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to indicate that it has significant plans for Sun:

The filing says that Southeastern "has talked to" Sun's management, and will have additional conversations with Sun and potentially with third parties "regarding opportunities to maximize the value of the company for all shareholders." Interestingly, the company with this filing changes the status of its filings from 13G, which implies a passive holding, to 13D, in order to "obtain the flexibility to discuss various alternatives."

Is Southeastern planning to take Sun private? Sell off major assets like StorageTek, for which Sun recently had to write down a massive amount of goodwill? Or is it planning to install a new CEO?

No one outside Southeastern seems to know what it has in mind, though IDG has reported Southeastern's belief that Sun is a software company, not a hardware company, and that may mean that Sun hardware will get the boot. Could Sun's increasing focus on open-source software generate outsized returns in the short term? It's unclear, though Larry Dignan of ZDNet is doubtful.

One thing is clear: Sun may look like a very different company over the next six months. For Sun investors, that may be very positive. For its employees...? That's potentially a different story.