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Sun Microsystems

Sun Gives Up on Java Tools 103

According to a story published yesterday evening on the ZDNet Web site, Sun Microsystems, Inc. is going to drop Java Workshop and Java Studio. Instead, the article says, they are shopping for an outside company that produces and supports Java tools. NetBeans is mentioned as a possible acquisition, but that's only a rumor at this point.
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Sun Gives Up on Java Tools

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  • I don't see the masses beating down doors for the Microsoft development tools.

    Yeah, no one uses that VB thing, or that VC++ thing.

  • > This bug that you refer to about slow printing is referenced in the Java Developer Connection's Bug Parade.

    Yes, I know, trust me, I used to check the Bug Parade quite often to work around bugs in the JDK and even submited two bugs. (or one ? can't remenber). I found it very useful to work around the bugs.

    I used the "fix" (disabling the double buffering before printing), but still printing was slow, and it was really hard to format the bill the way I wanted... Maybe I shouldn't have used the JDK directly but there wasn't any IDE with the Java2 platform.

    Moral of the story, do not believe the hype from Sun and magazines even techie one such as Dr Dobbs.

    Maybe sometimes, Java will mature into a usable tool for making applications (and not applets), but before I try it again, this time I will check carefuly the bug parade ...
  • Though I use texteditor mostly, I can see the benefit. Servlets are typically made up of several more or less standard non visual components (beans) that are connected together. IDEs like visual age contain nice functionality for connecting such components, so not only is it possible, it is probably a nice thing to have too!

  • Most benchmarks show both IBM's vm and Sun's hotspot to be way faster than anything MS has. I think there are several other VMs out there that are faster to. MS more or less stopped developing their VM and J++ long time ago.
    1. The only future they see for Java is as a client in a client/server world where Sun makes all the servers. Um... Java runs great on AS/400s, System 390, RS/6000, OS/2, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows NT and HPUX. Here's clue #1: Sun doesn't make all these servers.
    2. They claim Java is a write-once-run-anywhere system, but they haven't worked very hard at getting other operating systems to run period. That's right, they haven't, but IBM, Microsoft, and HP have. What's your point again?
    3. Sun is hedging their bets on the SunRay1, which is a Java thinclient, that will more than likely only work with Sun servers. Interesting. Let's see some actual information about the SunRay: "Sun Ray can run any kind of software, including Windows 98, Windows NT, Linux and Sun's own Solaris operating system." Wait a minute! It's not a Java thin client... you're just full of shit!
    4. I stopped supporting Sun *long* ago... it's making me sick. Maybe if you took the nice pills the nice doctors give you, you'll get better and they'll let you out of the padded room.
    BTW, who marked this guy's post "Insightful"?
  • Care to show me those supposed benchmarks?

    I suppose this is what you are looking for:

  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:38AM (#1662703) Homepage
    You are right about sun using Java as a tool to stimulate hardware sales but everything else you say is BS.

    First Java is getting big on the server side. Suns vm is particularly good in running server side stuff. They are also pushing it on the embedded machine side (again good for hw sales).

    Your qualification of the sunray as a Java thin client is not correct. The new SunRay1 machines do not include a clientside vm. They don't need to because all they do is display the output of apps (possibly Java apps) on the server side.

    "but I stopped supporting Sun *long* ago"

    That is no excuse for spreading ill informed rumours.
  • "Why don't I see them? Oh, yeah I forgot, its all "server side". Right. "

    Yeah, it's all hype. Millions of Java programmers are just playing quake all day and reading slashdot. Of course they are not producing anything that works.


    "Don't believe the hype. Java isn't mature."

    Are you?
  • That's only for one specific area for java. if you benchmark raw processing speed and graphics you'll see very different results.
  • Imagine, you can write on your CV that you not only know Java, not only worked for Sun, but build Sun's Java tools. These people were in demand like hot applepie.

    I used to work with someone who had worked on jdb, the original Java debugger from Sun. He was easily one of the worst programmers I have ever had the displeasure of working with...


  • Sun is losing interest in Java, and it's starting to show. The only future they see for Java is as a client in a client/server world where Sun makes all the servers. So why should they spend their time building an IDE or RAD[1] tools?

    If you look at the history of Java, and take a step back, it's actually fairly easy to see that Sun is losing interest in Java's original intentions. They sued Microsoft over it just to be a thorn in their side. They claim Java is a write-once-run-anywhere system, but they haven't worked very hard at getting other operating systems to run period.

    It seems to me that at this point, Sun is hedging their bets on the SunRay1, which is a Java thinclient, that will more than likely only work with Sun servers. They want us to live in a world where we all use Java thinclients to work with our files and information on Sun servers. They want everyone else out of the picture of the Internet; they want to be the "dot-com" period. No Microsoft, no IBM, no nobody. I don't know about you, but I stopped supporting Sun *long* ago, and they're just going to get less and less support from me every day. They're making Microsoft-like moves at every turn, and it's making me sick.

    -RISCy Business | Rabid unix guy, networking guru
  • If you want a nice, lean Java IDE, go with Kawa []. VisualAge is nice (as well as nice and fat) but more suited for a team doing a big project.

    If you are working on your own, Kawa is nice. If provides just about everything you need for small Java projects.

    It is especially nice for students, as it is cheap ($29 academic pricing) and simple.

    Frankly, I'd rather Sun concentrated on the core language and left tools (and many of the APIs) to third parties.

  • Sun recently acquired Forte, a development tools vendor who had been moving towards the greener pastures of middleware/integration software.

    Also, does anyone really believe this NC stuff? I've done the math on a market model; I can't get it to add up.
  • I'll look into it...but...
    If you're talking about J++ being proprietry, I disagree. It gives you the option of writing faster applications - and basically using Java as a language - rather than a platform (which i very often go for since i like java cause of the beutiful stylish language - not the lack of speed and cross platform ability - native compiler here i come).
    you can write 100% pure java apps in J++, and actually have the fastest compiler and debugger for java out there.
    I like the option of being able to access hundreds of my own COM objects, the Windows API and standard DLLs easily through java.
    then again, i consider java a nice language - not a religion.
  • by Nabuchodonosor ( 65294 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @04:51AM (#1662714) Homepage
    Emacs, JDE and JDK. do we need something else to write and compile java code? no.
  • You couldn't have used a worst example: Printing with Java.

    I've tried to used Java, six month ago for a small shop. My problems began when I tried to print bills, with the JDK 1.1.7, the printing system was crude to say the least, and I didn't manage to generate "not too ugly" bills so as Java2 just went out and reviews said that it was really good, I decided to use it.

    It turned out that the printing wasn't compatible with the old way, so I decided to use the new printing API whose design was much better, but it turned out that the implementation was quite poor: it was sloooooow, a memory pig and sometimes it just didn't worked.

    So maybe you can print raw text with java, but even with Java 2.0 you couldn't print even simple page.

    For the GUI, AWT design is quite poor, Swing is much better but it is a bit slow and memory intensive. There is a bug in the Java bug's parade which was there for more than a year the last time I checked: users were furious.

    So for the two example, you have given Java is quite poor...

    I've been burned badly by Java and won't use it again for a long time: too many bugs.

    I don't understand at all, how it is possible that magazine are so stupid to hype any novelty without talking about its downside.
    There was a fairly thorough review of Java2 in Dr Dobbs, and they didn't talk about these problem with printing and said that it was totally upward compatible... :-((

  • If you look at the history of Java, and take a step back, it's actually fairly easy to see that Sun is losing interest in Java's original intentions. They sued Microsoft over it just to be a thorn in their side. They claim Java is a write-once-run-anywhere system, but they haven't worked very hard at getting other operating systems to run period.

    Bzzzt! Would you care to try again?

    Java's original intention was to run on small devices (the *7 smart remote and smart TVs (I know, oxymoron)). The AWT was a hack that came later; written quickly and released far too soon by people who clearly knew nothing about GUIs.

    Where is Sun focusing now? Jini (embedded devices, mostly) and server-side Java. These are the places that Java shines. If anything, the embrace of server-side Java is an EXPANSION of the original goals, not a retraction. If Sun can sucessfully execute on Jini, the original dream (lots of embedded devices with different CPUs from different manufacturers can all be programmed in the same language and communicate with each other seamlessly) will win.

    What has changes is the temporary focus on applications for PCs has been dropped. This isn't a big surprise, since there's virtually no money in software for PCs. MS owns the office market. Adobe and Quark control the page layout and photo editing market. Other large companies own their specific bits. While there are plenty of small companies picking the scraps from the teeth of the giants, there's no serious money in going head-to-head with these companies. There's a reason why all the well-funded startups are providing services over the Internet, and not software for PCs.


  • I mean, come on, it was a great idea but the only thing it seems to have accomplished is a make bad web pages.

    Yes, you can do some cool things but ask yourself this: How often do say to yourself "Hey, that's a cool way to use Java on a web page" as opposed to "Damn this Java Applet/Script annoys the crap out of me". I find myself saying the latter.

    Off the web, my few experiences have been with buggy, hideously slow apps. Bah!

    Java...Ick! Yuck! Ptui! Don't even get me started on Java-Script.
  • If you're still doing Java 1.1x development, Jikes is also a very fast (and very good) compiler.

    For VM's, you really can't beat the JDK 1.2 with HotSpot - especially so for server apps, but I was developing an all Swing Java GUI and the speedup going from any 1.1 VM to the Java 2 VM was impressive.
  • Most of the Java developers I've had contact with have a least a few years of C++, or some other language. I myself have done Java development for about the last three years, but have programmed a lot in C++, before that C, and also other things like scheme and elisp.

    As for puzzling over why code runs slow - you can write slow code in any language. If you don't use a profiler and aren't familiar with when to used a linked list vs. a hashtable (or whatever) then your C++ code isn't going to be very spry either. I had to develop a fill Swing app targeted for a P90(!), so I know a little something now about optimizing Java for performance.

    Actually, I'd say that in Java you have to take a little more time on optimizing than C++ - but that time is greatly offset by the quicker development time and reduction of memory problems you encounter.
  • MS just wrote a compiler for the BASIC language which was developped by somebody else (I don't remember his name right now).

    John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth.

  • It is 4 years. And if you have not seen significant speed progress, it is probably cause you have not written a single line in java.
  • Java...Ick! Yuck! Ptui! Don't even get me started on Java-Script.

    ... Which has absolutely nothing to do with Java.
  • maybe because the spec is open and there are lots of other people makings tools better than sun?

    ibm has jike
    symantec has their jit and cafe
    inprise has jbuilder

    there is plenty of competition that sun isn't trying to kill!

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."

  • Sorry, you're absolutely wrong. Benchmarks show Microsoft's is the fastest - and from experience, I find microsoft's to be several times faster than Hotspot. What do you mean by sun's hotspot to be way faster? ROFL, it sucks crap. I remember sun claiming it made java as fast or faster than C++. It's crap, no speed improvement graphics wise (where MSJVM still kicks ass) and marginal improvement (no more than two times) with processing - still slower than microsoft's vm. Care to show me those supposed benchmarks? MS more or less stopped developing their VM and J++ long time ago Funny, they just released a new build a week ago. Proof here []
  • I doubt if they are giving up on Java as a whole. They probably just found some better tools, and figured that re-inventing the wheel wasn't that smart.

    Hat's off to Sun for being able to say that the competition has better stuff, and consolidating.

  • I never thought it was a great idea that the same company controlled the language spec as well as competed with others in the development environment market. Maybe now they can focus on the stinking language and deliver some of the details on those promises they made a couple years ago.

    I just wish they'd leave Netbeans alone, they'll probably wreck it.

    "Hands off my Netbeans, they're very sensitive right now." []
  • Last time I tried (the evaluation versions of) JavaStudio and JavaWorkshop (about a year ago, if not longer), some hacking was involved in order to get them to work on Linux, even though the tools were entirely written in Java.
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @11:09PM (#1662733)

    Way back in December, Sun said that they'd release the source sometime this year under the Sun Community Source License. Well, instead of giving the Open Source community a chance to improve the product and make it work well, they never released the source and are now dumping the whole thing to gobble up yet another company. Seems like if they just would've taken a chance on Open Source, they could've possibly saved themselves a lot of money. Message to Open Source community: Sun obviously doesn't trust you -- think long and hard before you trust them.

    As an aside: Java really is a pretty nice language. I can't imagine any other company being such a screw-up when it comes to Java -- they fscking invented it, for chrissakes!


  • Java Studio and Java Workshop were not particularly bad also not particularly good. Therefore it ids a good thing that SUN is dropping it. Netbeans on the other hand is a very promissing product. It is written in 100% Java and uses the swing classes for it's GUI. It is available for free evaluation. I think I heard somewhere that they were going to integrate with togetherJ which is a UML oriented Java IDE. The cool thing about this program is that while you type your Java code, the UML diagram is updated. If you draw UML on the other hand your code is updated accordingly.

    Needless to say that both programs prove the suitability of Java to make desktop applications, something insiders already knew. Sure you need lots of memory and a fast processor but then it is really usable. I have run both programs and they both made a solid impression on me. There were some gitches in the form of exceptions but they did not crash the application.

    Oh yeah, please don't bother posting the usual "Java sucks" and "Java is slow" postings. If you have to at least provide some new arguments, the old ones are obsolete and have been countered many times on this site.
  • I've tried real hard to use Java lately, but it's just hasn't worked out.

    Recently I was asked to create a new client/server system using HTTP (yes, it had to be HTTP). And that system has to respond to huge loads and many thousand connections/second. So I thought of Java servlets. And then I thought I would see what was out there in the way of an IDE and such. I was not impressed. Everything I looked at pretty much sucked.

    Java is real nice and all, but I'm still waiting to see what the point is. There are no good tools, Sun doesn't know what it wants, MS keeps subverting everything in the name of marketing hype, and people keep trying to find a niche for something (Java) that was needlessly invented. (Anyone remember Kim Polese and how "push technolgy" was going to revolutionize your world? She's still trying to find a product that can live up to the hype her investors have paid her for...)

    Anyway, it's a chicken and egg thing. Better tools mean better apps. The best Java IDE anyone could find was written in Java. That's a very scary thing to think about. Sun should dump the tools onto someone who cares (and who'll write the IDE in ANSI C). Then maybe we'll have a language (and apps) worth the hype.


  • Of course I do all my stuff with vim! :)

    Actually, I quite like xemacs with JDE [].

  • Yup,

    But the Sun Community Source License is not open source by any definition (unless it has changed recently), so such a release would hardly have been meaningful.

    I work with (not _for_) Sun a fair deal, and they are extremely cagey on Open Source stuff. A definite case of fence sitting a bet hedging, IMHO.

    They try to position linux as ideal for Unix newbies who are upgrading for NT, but unsuitable for 'real work' such as serving Star Office...

    With the acquisition of Netscape's server software, they tend to say the same about Apache - "It's great for old fashioned HTML pages, but now that you need Java, XML, DOM, LDAP and CORBA, you really want to look at a proper server".

    It's not great. Mind you Solaris rocks once you get bash/gcc/kde on it :_)
  • If they aren't going to support them, maybe they could be convinced to release them under the GPL, or some other license less restrictive than the SCSL.

    Although the SCSL is arguably better than no sources at all. (Some people may disagree.)

  • Which IDEs did you look at? I'd consider JBuilder and Visual Age to both 'not suck'.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A few weeks back, Sun announced the takeover of Forte Software [], an Enterprise end-to-end development and integration tools supplier. Forte have a product called SynerJ (it's in Beta 2 at the moment)which is a Java Development environment something like JBuilder or Cafe - but it can be used to build distributed apps very easily. Sun paid millions for Forte - so they must rate SynerJ rather highly. JavaStudio was cack, so no surprises about this story. Maybe they want SynerJ to be the dev enironment of choice.
  • I believe Sun arranged for Borland to port their JBuilder IDE to Solaris. This product is now in beta.

    Apparently this is a 100% Java product, so it is also expected to be available for Linux, assuming the Linux JVM is up to it...

    JBuilder on NT is a good product, so if the 100% Java conversion doesn't slow it down too much (and JBuilder 3 is 80% Java already) this is certainly something to look forward to.
  • by Em ( 18925 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @11:26PM (#1662742)
    The Java IDE has been something of a mess for a while, so it's good to see it get cleaned up a bit. Sensible decision from Sun too (shocker).

    [cue plug-my-favourite spout] So this leaves us with Kawa (nice and simple), JBuilder (hideously unstable) and VisualAge (a proper object development environment).

    I wish more IDEs for "object" languages took the VisualAge approach and didn't act like Java is really just a different C or C++. It's not! It's a different Smalltalk.

    This is why VisualAge's environment, built on the VisualAge Smalltalk product, works so much better than the rest for serious object development. I know a lot of people seem to think it's weird - but I think this is the fence you have to climb over to get away from all that C-style worrying about source files and compilers and all that old stuff.

    Just my 0.0^2.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sun's Java tools never were excelent. Although they maybe have the best GridBagLayout editor of all IDEs. But that doesn't compensate for other glitches.

    The reason why the stuff was - hmmm - so uncool was explained by a developer of the JWS v2 to me: Not a single developer from the first version was on the development team of the next version. They all left, because of better offeres from other companies.

    Imagine, you can write on your CV that you not only know Java, not only worked for Sun, but build Sun's Java tools. These people were in demand like hot applepie.

    So v2 was build by "newbees". And most likely they all spend their time now in higher payed jobs somewere else. From that point of view it is a good idea by Sun not to go through this for a v3, but instead give up. Beeing Sun in that business might really mean, that you can't keep a Java developer for more than a few month.
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @11:35PM (#1662744) Homepage

    You are right about the tools, not about the language. I've been using Java since the 1.02 version and I always found that IDEs did not support the latest features. Since those often were the features I relied on I often ended up using an editor and a compiler. Over the years I have become convinced that most experienced Java programmers work this way. Perhaps they use an IDE to make editing/compiling/debugging more easy, but they sure don't use an IDE to drag and drop apps together. The latter is done by less experienced programmers. I have not seen the latest generation of IDEs for Java. I heard they are much better at supporting beans and swing which is good for newbies but not for me. I always disliked GUI editors because I always end up changing stuff manually at which point the GUI editor becomes useless.

    As for the application you tried to build, a heavy server app, it really depends on which virtual machine you use what the performance of your system will be. Especially the number of threads that is supported varies from machine to machine (and is also OS dependend). I think at this moment you should either use sun's hotspot vm or IBM's vm to get maximum performance.

    "Anyway, it's a chicken and egg thing. Better tools mean better apps. The best Java IDE anyone could find was written in Java. That's a very scary thing to think about."

    It doesn't surprise me that the best IDEs were Java programs. To test and debug a Java program you need to run a vm anyway. To read out properties and events from a bean, you need to do Java stuff. To run a Java GUI component, you need a Java vm. A Java IDE needs to do all these things at the same time so you might as well implement the whole thing in Java. Doing so also speeds up the development process of the IDE dramatically so that's good. And most developers have fast machines on their desk so performance is not a real big issue.
  • JBuilder 2.01 and 3.0 are OK stability-wise in my experience. What version/environments have you had problems with?

    I agree that VisualAge is nice.
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @06:29AM (#1662747) Homepage
    An additional advantage of this simplicity is that development time is much lower than with c/c++. Because of this development cost is lower and more features can be built into the system.

    C/C++ is nice if you need to deal with hardware directly since it gives a lot of flexibility in this area. The same flexibility backfires if you apply these languages in domains where hardware interaction is not needed (for instance an object oriented ecommerce server application). Generally an expert C/C++ programmer is needed to deliver clean code. Expert C/C++ programmers are scarce and it is a waste of their skill top let them chase stupid errors in pointer arithmetic. You could benefit more from their skill if they applied their knowledge to the actual problem that needs to be solved: how to meet the requirements efficiently. Java allows this. because of its simplicity even newby programmers can deliver nice applications. Expert Java programmers can be very productive in Java.

    When I started my CS study, the language we had to learn was C. I had to learn the hard way about pointers and stuff like that. Then Java came along. Within weeks I was producing programs more quickly then I ever could in C. Generally you need only a fraction of the LOC needed to implement the same stuff in C.

    "I cannot see any advantages in using Java (beside of attracting programmers that cannot handle pointers and dynamic allocation :)) ) "

    Boy you must be blind. Perhaps handling pointers and static allocation is special hobby of you (it bores me since it slows me down). You should realize that each time you spend time on that you are wasting time because these are tasks that can and should be automated (like Java does). The only reason not to automate them has always been performance. And that argument is becoming of less relevance with each new release of Java. The garbage collection algoritms in the current generation of VMs are pretty good and the performance penalty of using dynamic allocation is not so big as it used to be. Further improvements in that area are on the way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Those tools weren't ever that hot anyhow. Emacs is the best java editor ever ( imho, of course ) and since IBM's Visual Age for Java is in beta for Linux ( and runs faster than the win32 version ) we certainly aren't without good Linux Java tools.

    It'll also help keep em honest about fully disclosing the language features and misfeatures to all of the tool developers, present and future.

    No Microsoftian supersecret language / os features that only show up in our brand of software.

  • Well... that almost looks as if Sun didn't want a possible contender in Forte and bought them defensively. Remember, while the millions that Sun used to buy Forte were good news for FRTE holders (stock was in the single digets, Sun bought for .3 shares of SUNW) it didn't represent that large an invenstment from Sun's standpoint.
  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @06:48AM (#1662751) Homepage
    Its even more fun to watch c programmers become obsolete like Cobol programmers are these days. In a few years there will be a huge amount of legacy of code written in C/C++. It will no longer be the default choice for most programming tasks with the sole exception of very low level hardware stuff. Of course legacy code needs to be maintained so there will be plenty of jobs for these fellows.

    Java has been closing the infamous speed gap during the past few years. Most whining about Java performance in this tread seems to be obsolete. Guys this is slashdot, news for nerds stuff that matters. You should know better. True some pioneer projects like corel's wordperfect for Java failed miserably, but there are commercial and succesfull Java programs all over the place nowadays (or millions of Java programmers are wasting their time each day). Netbeans, which is mentioned in the article is a nice example.

    As for myself, I think I can counter the claim about not knowing about other technologies. I programmed a lot of languages ranging from logic languages like prolog to functional languages like Gofer and Lisp. I also did C, Pascal, basic, C++ and smalltalk. I even spent some time with scripting languages like Javascript and perl (puke, if you've seen a decent language before you just have to dislike it's syntax).
  • Sun doesn't need JBuilder to be on Solaris.

    Most people who run Solaris are interested in have stable, enterprise-class applications.

    Sun already owns (or will officially own very shortly) the best product for building these applications in Java-- SynerJ from Forte.

    These guys were building cross-platform tremendously stable applications long before Java was around, and they have taken the good parts of their proprietary language and put them into SynerJ. It's seriously so much more advanced in certain areas than other tools, I'll be surprised if Sun keeps any of the other Java development or deployment stuff they've got.

    Disclaimer: I don't work for Forte, but I have used their TOOL product, and seen what the Java product can do. It's *very* impressive.
  • I taught a course in Java, and encouraged all my students to download Java Workshop because it's free for educational purposes. Unfortunately, it's extremely slow and a little buggy on Windows, not up to par with even Microsoft's "Visual" IDE, which after several iterations is turning into a decent product.

    Java, and especially Java Beans, NEEDS a decent, freely available IDE. If Sun is going to push one, I like to see them push one more refined than Workshop.

  • "Just as Microsoft got it's true start by developing BASIC (read your history kiddies, that's where Billion-dollar Bill got started), Sun developed Java from the ground up..."

    I may be mistaken but you seem to imply ("Just as") that MS developed BASIC from the ground up, at least that is how I read this sentence, which is quite false. MS just wrote a compiler for the BASIC language which was developped by somebody else (I don't remember his name right now).
  • Ever used Microsoft's virtual machine?
    fast as hell, especially with graphics. Hotspot - despite the hype - doesn't speed up sun's java over MSJVM.
    Seen how long it takes for java or javac to even start running?
    Jikes is pretty good, but jvc is faster.

    I'm a java programmer, this is from experience.
    It's no fib that NT is the best java platform too.
  • "[Java apps] will all perform the same functionality."

    Not to burst your bubble or anything but, I have not found this to be the case. Fist let me say, I like Java - the language is great and its a great concept. However, I have worked with a number of large enterprise customers that have had lots of trouble with Java. Every VM that runs on different machines can be thought of as processors released by different vendors (ie Intel vs AMD vs Motorola). And, every version of a VM is much the same as different chip releases from the same company (ie P-Pro, PII, etc). So the problem that always occurs is, Java applications must be written and QA'd for a _very_ specific VM on a specific platform. So instead of having to just maintain different hardware achitectures, a lot of folks are having to also manage many different virtual machines (usually one for each product installed). This becomes very messy when you start installing 3rd party Java products. Once you have 3-4 VMs installed, keeping classpaths and environments proper is hell. And to say the least, its anything but platform independent (no more so than C. Perl is the most portable I've seen). Add on top of this that Sun still *owns* Java and is not willing to hand it over to a standards group and I see little reason to use Java for anything serious.

  • I can say a lot of good things about Visual Age, the debugger is great, the source browser is very comprehensive, and I used it on one large project for almost eight months. However, I would not recommend it for Java development.

    The generated Java for the visual development is about the worst of the IDEs -- very convoluted and voluminous. We were working with EJB and JDBC, and the integration of those tools, at least for the moment, is awkward and arduous to use.

    Finally, I have to say that I come down on the side of not liking the versioning system. Once you understand open editions and releases it can work fine, but the CVS-style checkout/diff/checkin is more usable and flexible.
  • I'm replying to a comment scored *5* that implies that Microsoft invent BASIC. BASIC was invented in 1965 at Dartmouth College. MS developed a BASIC interpreter, first for the MITS Altair I think.
  • I don't think so. Sun licensed the Java WorkShop to Imperial Software ( added their Java GUI builder (Visaj) to it. Rumor has it that it's about to appear on Linux as well.

    If you look at the copyright on Sun's Visual WorkShop GUI builder you'll see that it's from Imperial too (X-Designer). Maybe Sun's buying them.

  • I've heard good rumours about IBM's JDK for Linux.
    Granted, it's not Java2 yet, but...
  • JBuilder 3 is already dreadfully slow, especially the parts that are written in Java (e.g. the help system). I dread to think how slow a pure java version will be.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Having recently spoken with the JDK team at the JAOO Conference in DEnmark, they gave the impression that the Java Tools are DEAD, but they still do the JDK stuff ofcourse...They said that doing development tools wasnt Suns Key Compentance, and that there are people / companies who are simply better at doing this. Furthermore they said that the would only make dev tools to further the acceptance of java, and not to make business...
  • But the Sun Community Source License is not open source by any definition (unless it has changed recently), so such a release would hardly have been meaningful.

    Well, I agree with you about the openness of the SCSL, but it couldn't have hurt them to throw the code out there for people to kick around and maybe do something interesting with it, especially since the non-openness that we're aware of would allow them to keep the fruits of any labor. It would be more understandable if they were going to continue developing it themselves -- but after promising to release the code under the SCSL, it just strikes me as a dickhead move to just chuck it in the dumpster and go buy another company.

    Mind you Solaris rocks once you get bash/gcc/kde on it :_)

    Heh, I'll agree with you there, at least on the first two, although gcc was an absolute necessity once I discovered, to my surprise, that my SPARC didn't even come with a compiler of its own! ;-/


  • Of course you do know that there are other Workshop licensees who are making product out
    of Workshop....

  • It's one of the best java applications i've used, I think the guys who write it (like KDevel) have copied Visual Studio :).
    I hope netbeans doesn't get munted if sun buys them.

    BTW, can they make a java development tool that doesn't take 70mb of ram and that's _fast_?
    Netbeans doesn't run on microsoft's virtual machine - which basically dooms it to very slow AWT graphics.
  • by dkh2 ( 29130 ) <dkh2 AT WhyDoMyTitsItch DOT com> on Friday September 24, 1999 @02:33AM (#1662775) Homepage
    Sun has a clue that Microsoft hasn't. If you're good at developing a language you should do that. If you're good at developing tools you should do that instead. Go with your strength and not what you dream of your strength being. (Unfortunately, it looks like Microsoft's strength is in bullying the competition in all arenas.)

    Just as Microsoft got it's true start by developing BASIC (read your history kiddies, that's where Billion-dollar Bill got started), Sun developed Java from the ground up and should stick with the language development aspects of Java. Sun is wise to contract out or otherwise semi-divest themselves of the development of tools for Java.

    Additionally, while some would argue that only the people who truly know Java from the inside out, from the ground up, would know how to build the best tools... I don't see the masses beating down doors for the Microsoft development tools. In fact, a fresh set of eyes that is NOT completely steeped in the language development hurdles works without the encumberance of that knowledge. They work on the language in it's existing state of development.

    As I heard Fats Waller (Jazz/Blues LEGEND) say in an interview once: "Be what you is."

    D. Keith Higgs
    CWRU. Kelvin Smith Library

  • Even under solaris, on a fast box, JWS was never much of a speed demon. However, it did have the best GridBagLayout tools I've seen yet in a GUI builder for Java.

    But on the other hand, if you ever had to unwrap all the layers of the "shadow" components to get at the AWT classes directly, I don't think you'd be complaining too loudly about JWS's demise.
  • JB3's IDE is also already almost Pure Java, which is presumably why it is so slow.

    On the other hand, by doing a large project like JBuilder in Java, they are learning a lot about its slowness, suffering from that slowness, and thus having plenty of experience trying to make it faster.

    If and when they get JB running quickly, that will be a good sign that Java is ready for "Prime Time" for large complex desktop apps.

  • Windows NT and COM are built 'from the ground up' just as much as Java ever was.

    Microsoft seem to have more of an idea how to write compilers and virtual machines tho.
    J++'s compiler and MSJVM are both like 3 or 4 times faster than anything anyone else (including sun) has come up with. I guess that's why they won best VM, Compiler & Debugger at java one.
    I use J++ primaraly because it's fast. I can't stand working with a java based one for long because i don't have a PII-500 and cant be bothered waiting 5 minutes for the darn things to load.
  • Sure there are bugs in Java 2. Some are annoying but usually you can work around them. As for printing, I've no experience using that part of the API but surely its not as bad as you say or otherwise I had been hearing about it more often. Java AWT sucked but was small and functional which made it useful. You could do more with it than with HTML forms and that was the idea. Of course for application development it was useless which is why we have swing today. I have yet to see a GUI framework that allows you to write such complex and portable applications like Swing does. Sure it is a bit slow on lowend machines but for most applications the performance is fine. I have no complaints about performance on my pretty average 233 PII with 64 Mb.

    I'm sorry to see that you decided to give up Java after a few minor disappointments. Has it occured to you that the bad performance you had might be caused by your programming style rather than Java. Java allows you to do much flexible stuff but that usually involves a performance price. Creating objects all over the place for instance, is usually a bad idea, especially in loops.
  • worked fine for me.
  • The best Java IDE anyone could find was written in Java. That's a very scary thing to think about. Sun should dump the tools onto someone who cares (and who'll write the IDE in ANSI C).

    If you can't write a decent IDE in Java, then perhaps Java isn't worth using as a language. A corollary to "Write once, run anywhere" should be the ability to develop on any platform that will run Java -- something that you CAN NOT do in ANSI C!

  • Don't forget: run and debug as well :-) JDE/Emacs is the only usefull tool out there. You just don't need anything else!
  • In the interests of fairness, I feel it is my duty to say that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

  • As for "Java closing the speed gap", I'll believe it when I see it - hearing this is like listening to a tired and broken record. 5 years and counting - and no significant speed progress. "Faster than C" Gosling used to predict. He hasn't repeated that prediction in the last 2 years. Oh wait - Java is the ultimate thin client - give me a break - it's the fattest and slowest and most browser-incompatable thin client ever created (with the only universally-deployable Java applets still written against the archaic 1.0.2 JVM). Oh wait - we were wrong about the GUI Java stuff - server side Java is the true way! Good thing that these mega-billion-dollar internet IPOs came along so that finally Java apps can be run on the expensive $100K+ hardware boxes it absolutely needs. In this regard, Sun's Java is a huge success since it greatly contributes to their hardware sales.
  • Forte's previous product - I forget what it's called - was a distrubuted, transactional object-oriented language - sort of like Java/EJB, but a couple of years ahead of its time, robust and very scaleable. Setting up distributed object environments didn't involve the bestiality with deployment descriptors EJB developers currently face; instead there was a nice graphical interface you used to drag and drop objects and application partitions within your environment. SynerJ essentially aims to bring this ease of deployment to EJB. It's actually in beta 3 right now - loads o'bugs to be worked out, but if Sun remains committed and it lives up to its promise, it will become an industry-leading EJB development tool.
  • This bug that you refer to about slow printing is referenced in the Java Developer Connection's Bug Parade. It's apparently due to the fact that all components in Java2 are double-buffered and printing via a paint(Graphics) method call will double buffer the Graphics and spool an image of the size of the page. The easiest workaround is to disable double buffering on the component in question. I've also read that by using a third method to provide the actual painting (and calling that method from both paint and print) you can thereby avoid the system operations (overhead) associated with a call to paint.

    In general, I have never found a bug in Java that I could not overcome easily with the assistance of the Bug Database or by looking at the Java/Swing source code.

    Concerning your comment about AWT design, I believe that it was Sun's intention to not give one full control over the _exact_ look of a program -- anyone who wishes to create a true cross-platform application would not be so concerned with _exact_ replication of a l&f across platforms. This is also a very hard task to accomplish with native widgets (lowest common denominator). To this end, Sun created Swing. (I do agree with you however that Swing is a bit memory intensive, but it is definitely getting much better).

    I hope this helps,

    Donovan Lange
  • If I heard correctly, MS .. um .. conscripted some public domain compiler from a Carolina university, and just slightly rewrote it. This is second or third hand, though.

    Think of it as software reuse.
  • Check out

    Borland's Linux page []

    Borland is seriously committing to Linux, which is good to see. And I like the "well, what do you want" angle instead of a "this is what we want you to have" approach to the project. I've used Borland Delphi & C++ Builder (cut my teeth on Borland's C++ v1.0 :) ) for quite some time, and quite frankly, they rock. A bit weak on debugging, but there's always the excellent Numega debug tools to help out...

    What Borland must focus on is making the path for Win * programmers to migrate to Linux as easy and intuitive as possible. This may irk the hardcore "never run windows" Linux programmers; how about it if they produce a development tool with skins like WinAmp, to please both camps?

  • At least, the applications I've used have been. JBuilder doesn't suck, but it _is_ kind of slow. Java is good for applications where either performance isn't critical, or where the performance-critical sections have already been written in native code. But isn't all that suitable (at this point) for building large, complex software applications that require good performance. Anyone remember Javagator?
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @03:47AM (#1662790)
    From my point of view, Java is completely obsolete. If you want to build fast and stable solutions, either on the client or server side, you should use proven technology like Perl, ANSI-C, ANSI-C++ (or Delphi/VB on the client side). I cannot see any advantages in using Java (beside of attracting programmers that cannot handle pointers and dynamic allocation :)) )

    So, how do you write a function that will print to the system printer in C++ that works across all systems?

    Or do anything that involves graphic displays?

    The point is while there are differences in the speed and memory requirements of the various VMs, they (At least to be java certified) will all perform the same functionality. Yes, there's still clutter between differences of M$'s VM and Sun's VM, and the like, but that's why Sun insists that only programs that have been tested to be fully compatible to be able to display this logo.

    Now, I won't argue that there are C and C++ toolkits that work across platforms. But too many of the times, these toolkits are limited to Unix and WinXX. And they are closed source, so that if you aren't one of the priveledged many, you're screwed.

    While Java's Open source-ness is still not for sure, there is nothing stopping anyone from making a new VM for their system, as they know what calls they have to put in.

    I would agrue that Java's dream never materiallized... but in the sense of being the windows killer. But Java's found other niches that they are easily killing. Any device with WinCE, for example... Java's footprint is much smaller, and more open and robust.

  • I cannot see any advantages in using Java (beside of attracting programmers that cannot handle pointers and dynamic allocation :)) )

    Or programmers who simply don't want the hassle of doing so. Java is easier to program in, in many ways (in some ways it's harder, I agree). Easier to some people, particularly geeks, means not worth doing. Personally, I want to code mathematical algorithms. I don't want to deal with hardware issues - ever! I don't like getting down and dirty with file formats, video display programming, etc... So, Java is perfect for me.
  • Sorry 'bout the ghastly pun.

    I knew a guy who worked in Sun's "Visual IDE" tools division a couple yrs ago, and couldn't help asking the obvious - How is it that Sun created Java, and the main tools being used to code java come from Symantec, MS, and IBM. It struck me as profoundly ironic that sun was releasing this revolutionary language and their competitor was making more money off it than they were. His view was that sun really sucked at developing GUI/IDE type stuff. I believe it.

    OTOH, sun is REALLY good at *nix stuff. I'm surprised that they didn't take the initiative to figure out how to win in the GUI world. This is quite a contrast to MS, which is ruthlessly quick at changing its focus, adapting, and winning marketshare.

    I also can't believe how badly they handled the core java people - half of them quit after the product took off, which doesn't exactly help.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington