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The moose likes Swing / AWT / SWT and the fly likes Desktop Apps gaining some momentum, but at what expense? Big Moose Saloon
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Desktop Apps gaining some momentum, but at what expense?

Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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http://weblogs.java.net/pub/wlg/648
I have had some mixed thoughts after reading this article. But it makes you wonder. Can M$ lead a trend back to Rich Desktop Clients? I have asked several people suggestions on certain projects, and everyone is always screaming "WEB APP, WEB APP!".
I really like SWING. And personally, I prefer a desktop application to a Web application for the sake of usability. You can really pack in a lot of control into a SWING app vs a Web App. the problem of course is always maintainability and distribution.
Does anyone else see the desktop app coming back? And if so, how can we utilize SWING to really take on this run. Can SWING compete and overcome its rough history on the desktop?
Any comments? I posted this here because it is SWING oriented.


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A. Wolf
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Joined: Sep 28, 2003
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Microsoft continues its strategy to cut off Java from end users.

Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by A. Wolf:


If you think about it though, and Microsoft tries to do away with Web Apps which in essence are a multiplatform software solution, and if they are effective, all they are going to do is increase a couple of things.
1. People will just install 3rd party browsers (Mozilla, Firebird, etc)
2. Developers will be searching for Cross platform desktop solutions. Can someone say JAVA??!!
One of the key points of web apps is that they will work wherever you have a browser. Who cares about the OS. Well, if we can start supporting more Java Desktop apps, then the same thing can happen with JAVA in that regard. It's a cross platform solution. Who cares about the OS.
Jason Steele
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Joined: Apr 25, 2003
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I think that current Swing implementations are great! It is perfectly feasible to build entire (not to mention good looking) desktop apps that compete well with MS. What Java programmers have to do is think, design, and implement better that MS, and it can be done. Open Source is a global think tank. Java is still young. Things will get better for Swing developers. Besides, Swing can be used in web apps.

Additionally...MS will not try to rid the world of web apps. In contrast, they have embraced it and are attempting to corner that market as well with the latest and greatest .Net initiative. I could care less though... I have nothing against Microsoft. I am also a VB developer. However...I find that when I want to reach a broader base, I rely on my love of Java, because Java allows me to build powerful servers and clients that are easily ported and deployed on multilpe OS unlike MS.
My Vote???
Java....Swing....here to stay, gaining ground baby!


An egg is a chicken's house!
Gregg Bolinger
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Besides, Swing can be used in web apps.
Uhh, sort of, not really, but kind of. A typical web app will not have an applet. And in order to use Swing through a web browser, you still have to use an applet
MS will not try to rid the world of web apps.
Did you read the article?
Microsoft is placing its bets that fat clients represent the future of software, not browser-based thin clients. In fact, they are phasing out development of a stand-alone Web browser. Longhorn will have HTML viewing/browsing capability built right into the OS, and there will no longer be an Internet Explorer.
That's exactly what they are trying to do. They don't want all these apps running around that can run on any OS. They want you to be forced into running Windows Workstations so that you can run these apps. With so many web apps, it is possible for business and people to not worry about the OS. MS wants you to really worry about the OS and they want you to run theirs.
[ November 13, 2003: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
A. Wolf
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"viewing capability built right into the OS".
What does that mean? as of right now, i can open a folder and type a url into the address bar and the folder window turns into IE. will it just not be IE anymore and you are viewing webpages through a "folder" or any type of window that has no-java-capabilities? because if thats the case, Im sure someone will create a plugin or addon to make it java compatible(if thats possible) maybe Sun? either way I think im misunderstanding something.... help me out please...
Gregg Bolinger
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I think the problem is that MS is changing the API for browser actions. By removing the stand alone IE browser from the OS, this lets them create some new integrated API for embedded browsing that MS doesn't have to give access to. So even if someone wants to make a plugin, M$ will have to give them access to the API first. Whether or not they do that is the question.
Igor Romanov
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Joined: Nov 24, 2001
Posts: 23
My "vision" is that while swing has some BIG drawbacks, like low speed (yes, i know, it can be FAST, but we just don't have so much MEGAPROGRAMMERS out here 8))), need for some extra-staff to be installed and so on - I feel that with WebStart approach Java can gain more popularity.
And thanks to .NET - there's a lot of crap apps approaching, and they are even slower than Swing based stuff, just look out all these NET based freeware RSS readers...
Regarding crossplatform and so on - I feel it's not that much important in desktop world... I mean it's Windows out there, a lot of Windows. Maybe Mac OSes, but i think not that much (am I right?)
So, in summary, I think that "magically" lounching Java progs from a web page is a really good stuff for an average user and I think that if using in a right way by java community it can attract people to Java tech...


cheers,<br />Igor Romanov
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Igor Romanov:
My "vision" is that while swing has some BIG drawbacks, like low speed (yes, i know, it can be FAST, but we just don't have so much MEGAPROGRAMMERS out here 8))), need for some extra-staff to be installed and so on - I feel that with WebStart approach Java can gain more popularity.
And thanks to .NET - there's a lot of crap apps approaching, and they are even slower than Swing based stuff, just look out all these NET based freeware RSS readers...
Regarding crossplatform and so on - I feel it's not that much important in desktop world... I mean it's Windows out there, a lot of Windows. Maybe Mac OSes, but i think not that much (am I right?)
So, in summary, I think that "magically" lounching Java progs from a web page is a really good stuff for an average user and I think that if using in a right way by java community it can attract people to Java tech...

I agree about Webstart. I think it's a good technology to deliver Swing apps to the desktop. But I disagree about not thinking too much about Cross Platform. Yes, it is a Windows World for the most part on the Desktop. But why go to the hassle of having to re-code/re-compile an application for the few people that do not run windows and want to run your app? Keeping Cross-Platform in mind is always a good idea.
Igor Romanov
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Joined: Nov 24, 2001
Posts: 23
I think it's a good idea, yes, but not always. People out there, "users", are not much conserned about some strange guys on strange OSes )
If someone just need to, say, clean a registry or check HDD for viryses. And just think, he can go to some www.windows-utils-online.com, and click a link, and voi-la!!
It works! HDD is checked, viruses are removed! No installs, no updates! Java, baby! )
What I mean is, that if Java is about to become a desktop superstar it should provide more and more integration with underlying OS... People will ask for tray icons, and things like that. It will be really dificult to keep the balance than. But I hope that something will be invented, like some, "custom services", OS dependand, that could checked ( do we support tray icon feature? yes, good - use it now ) before used, or smth. similar...
Gregg Bolinger
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It works! HDD is checked, viruses are removed! No installs, no updates! Java, baby! )
What I mean is, that if Java is about to become a desktop superstar it should provide more and more integration with underlying OS... People will ask for tray icons, and things like that.

Swing Desktops have their limitations, yes. I would NEVER EVER EVER think to use Java for anti-virus or HDD checking. Those are 2 OS specific operations. I'm not saying that SWING take over the desktop, I am just saying that more Swing Desktop apps are a good thing. Java SWING is for high level operations, much like the java language itself. So keep Swing in its scope, and develop better applications, and away we go...
Gavin Bong
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Joined: Apr 25, 2003
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In the field of RIA, Macromedia Flex (aka Royale) seems promising.
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Gavin Bong:
In the field of RIA, Macromedia Flex (aka Royale) seems promising.

Promising in what way? Especially if MS wants to rid the world of Internet Apps? Could you expand on that a bit and tell us how this fits into the current discussion?
Ken Blair
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Joined: Jul 15, 2003
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Regarding crossplatform and so on - I feel it's not that much important in desktop world... I mean it's Windows out there, a lot of Windows. Maybe Mac OSes, but i think not that much (am I right?)

I would strongly disagree, I think for precisely that reason it is very important. It's a Windows world, but we have to remember one of the big reasons it's a Windows world when it comes to desktops: availability of quality software. All too many users, whether it's at home or at the workplace, use Windows not so much out of a desire for Windows but a desire for the software that runs on Windows. I know I'm not alone when I say that I would love nothing more than to throw Windows XP Professional in the trash and never buy another product from Microsoft, however, nearly all the software and games I want to use require Windows, what choice does that leave me?
I think the key to stirring up competition is abandoning this philosophy of producing Windows programs because it's a Windows world. If we produce software for Windows, then the end-user is forced to use Windows to use our software. True, there are a lot of issues with speed and performance, but hardware is getting better and cheaper and these differences are becoming marginal in most applications. If we start producing more quality cross-platform solutions then we give the user the ability to actually use something besides Windows. At least that's the way I see it.
Ashik Uzzaman
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Joined: Jul 05, 2001
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Swing is what I like best for the GUI of my apps, a lot better than the web-app counterparts though I am hopeful java server faces will attract me to the webapp UIs in near future.
But what about SWT? Do people not use it frequently despite its performance gains?


Ashik Uzzaman
Senior Member of Technical Staff, Salesforce.com, San Francisco, CA, USA.
 
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