Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


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Thread: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?

  1. #1
    Lori Piquet Guest

    Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?

    Is Swing as bad as they say? Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    because of real or perceived performance issues? Which is it: real or
    perceived? Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the desktop?

    (Link to come shortly.)

    Lori Piquet
    Editor-in-chief
    DevX



  2. #2
    Uwe W. Radu Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    >Is Swing as bad as they say?
    > Which is it: real or perceived?


    Pretty much. Just check out some of the flagship apps, such as Borland's
    JBuilder, which pushes Swing about as far as it will go. They're very sluggish
    applications, both in terms of overall response, as well as little GUI things,
    such as mousing over menus or toolbars and feeling like trying to run in
    honey. The GUI is not quite crisp and keeping up with experienced users.

    The other main problem is startup lag. Java apps have a lot of startup overhead,
    including the constant time to load the JVM, which becomes particularly noticeable
    with small to medium-sized apps. Let's face it, such apps are the bread and
    butter of corporate development: tons of custom programs to massage data
    or display odd reports to this or that manager or department. These apps
    might be run so frequently that having any significant lag can become very
    annoying after a while.


  3. #3
    Mike Mitchell Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?

    On 11 Sep 2002 18:18:30 -0700, "Uwe W. Radu" <uradu@cdc.net> wrote:

    >The other main problem is startup lag. Java apps have a lot of startup overhead,
    >including the constant time to load the JVM, which becomes particularly noticeable
    >with small to medium-sized apps. Let's face it, such apps are the bread and
    >butter of corporate development: tons of custom programs to massage data
    >or display odd reports to this or that manager or department. These apps
    >might be run so frequently that having any significant lag can become very
    >annoying after a while.


    Can't the exact same criticism be levelled at .Net also? Surely the
    CLR is very similar to the JVM? And I've heard elsewhere that VB.Net
    apps are very lethargic compared with natively-compiled VB6 ones. The
    IDE as well.

    MM

  4. #4
    Eddie Burdak Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?

    Mike,

    Mike Mitchell wrote:
    > Can't the exact same criticism be levelled at .Net also? Surely the
    > CLR is very similar to the JVM? And I've heard elsewhere that VB.Net
    > apps are very lethargic compared with natively-compiled VB6 ones.

    The
    > IDE as well.


    From the little I've played I'd say there about as bad/good as each
    other

    Eddie


  5. #5
    Rob Abbe Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    Sun has not given up on the desktop. The performance in 1.4.1 is not bad
    at all. It is more than adequate for business applications. Webstart is
    also very nice and an indicator that Sun still wants a place on the desktop.

    "Lori Piquet" <lpiquet@devx.com> wrote:
    >Is Swing as bad as they say? Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    >because of real or perceived performance issues? Which is it: real or
    >perceived? Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the desktop?
    >
    >(Link to come shortly.)
    >
    >Lori Piquet
    >Editor-in-chief
    >DevX
    >
    >



  6. #6
    drhender Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    Mike Mitchell <kylix_is@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
    >On 11 Sep 2002 18:18:30 -0700, "Uwe W. Radu" <uradu@cdc.net> wrote:
    >Can't the exact same criticism be levelled at .Net also? Surely the
    >CLR is very similar to the JVM? And I've heard elsewhere that VB.Net
    >apps are very lethargic compared with natively-compiled VB6 ones. The
    >IDE as well.


    You are speaking without knowledge, my friend. It is true that the CLR parallels
    the JVM, but you make a couple of incorrect assumptions. First of all, you
    imply that the starting of the JVM-like beast is where the performance hit
    is taken. Not so; the real performance hit is taken when the JIT compiler
    converts the non-os specific code (.class or .jar files on Java and the .ism
    files under .Net) to OS-specific binary-code. Your second assumption is
    that like Java, the CLR must do this every time you start the application.
    This is not the case. Unlike Java, the output of the JIT compiler can be
    saved to disk so that it doesn't have to be jit'ed every time the application
    is started. (Look up NGEN on Microsoft's MSDN site for details.) The result
    is that an application's startup is drastically reduced.

    One might argue that this is no longer write-once, run-anywhere, but since
    the CLR has the option of returning to the .ism files to jit the code. Besides,
    I don't know if you've noticed, but Redmond doesn't seem to be all that interested
    in the write-once, run-anywhere concept anyway. Why would they be? Afterall
    they are more interested in selling Windows that allowing a developer to
    write software that runs on other platforms as well as it does on Windows.
    Doing so would provide an exit from the Windows monopoly on the desktop
    that they currently enjoy.

  7. #7
    Lori Piquet Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?

    Sorry. I forgot to post the link last night.
    Here it is (but I'm glad the conversation has taken off anyway):
    http://www.devx.com/free/hotlinks/20...te091102-1.asp

    Lori Piquet

    "Lori Piquet" <lpiquet@devx.com> wrote in message
    news:3d7f8ad2$1@10.1.10.29...
    > Is Swing as bad as they say? Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    > because of real or perceived performance issues? Which is it: real or
    > perceived? Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the

    desktop?
    >
    > (Link to come shortly.)
    >
    > Lori Piquet
    > Editor-in-chief
    > DevX
    >
    >




  8. #8
    Marc Latham Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    "Lori Piquet" <lpiquet@devx.com> wrote:
    >Is Swing as bad as they say? Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    >because of real or perceived performance issues? Which is it: real or
    >perceived? Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the desktop?
    >
    >(Link to come shortly.)
    >
    >Lori Piquet
    >Editor-in-chief
    >DevX
    >
    >

    As a developer and application designer I avoid writing or specing applications
    that use Java for 2 reasons 1) the applications run in intrepreted mode and
    are as slow as molassas 2) The base of developers writing in Java is so small
    that it is hard to get good developers at a reasonable cost.

    As a user I avoid using java based apps because they are so slow, their open
    time on the same hardware/ os is twice or more that of native apps. The
    oracle GUI database administration tools are a perfect example. Their tools
    before java were fast after java I have switched to other tools to access
    my oracle databases because I don't have time to wait on them to run.

    Also as a developer I don't want to ship my source code in an open format,
    I spend 2 years writing something and then have some big corporation steal
    it and use it no thanks. The best way to prevent code theft is not to expose
    the code. Also from a supportability issue if the users can open the code
    and modify it how the heck am I supposed to support them when the code they
    are running may not even match the original distribution.

  9. #9
    Uwe W. Radu Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    > One might argue that this is no longer write-once, run-anywhere


    Only in the sense that it's not that exact same code that actually hits the
    CPU when executing. But then again, why is that important? The spirit of
    write-once-run-anywhere is portability, and that particular cat can be skinned
    more than one way. I actually like the (optional) approach taken by .NET
    of compile-at-install: you only compile the code once to native at installation
    time, and from then on use the native code. The critical thing then is to
    provide the class libraries and compiler on all target platforms, which is
    not all that different from providing a VM on all those platforms.

  10. #10
    Uwe W. Radu Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    > Surely the CLR is very similar to the JVM?


    No, not really. There is no VM in .NET (though planned, I hear), only a JIT
    compiler. Secondly, .NET apps can be compiled two ways, either at run-time,
    or at installation time. I'd say common usage once .NET hits the masses will
    probably favor the second approach for obvious performance reasons.

    > And I've heard elsewhere that VB.Net apps are very
    > lethargic compared with natively-compiled VB6 ones.


    Not "very" but still noticeably, especially at first run. But they're still
    more responsive than comparable Swing apps.

    > The IDE as well.


    That is completely immaterial since the IDE isn't .NET itself (to my knowledge),
    unlike JBuilder, which is all Java. VS.NET is simply a beast and probably
    still not terribly optimized; they probably just rushed it out the door to
    have a delivery.

  11. #11
    Bruce Attah Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    "Uwe W. Radu" <uradu@cdc.net> wrote:
    >
    >I actually like the (optional) approach taken by .NET
    >of compile-at-install: you only compile the code once to native at >installation

    time, and from then on use the native code. The critical thing >then is to
    provide the class libraries and compiler on all target platforms, >which
    is not all that different from providing a VM on all those platforms.

    I agree. It has always seemed obvious to me that this is the way Java should
    be distributed, but Sun doesn't seem to like the idea, for some reason. Back
    in the dark ages, Pascal was originally succesful because it was distributed
    as a "P-code" compiler and a P-code virtual machine. Great portability was
    a big attraction, but then it gained a reputation for slowness, and C became
    more popular. Sun should learn from history. Portability at the source code/intermediate
    code level, coupled with speed on actual delivery is the way to win.

    What's more, if they think about it, the Java-to-native compiler-installer
    could have a few bells and whistles attached that would attract developers.
    What if the compiler implemented protocols to check the byte-code somehow
    (the signature concept could be fed a course of steroids, since installation
    is a relatively infrequent thing) to ensure that it was what it said it was,
    or check that the user was suitably registered or otherwise qualified before
    installing anything? Users and developers would both love this.



  12. #12
    Uwe W. Radu Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    > Portability at the source code/intermediate code level,
    > coupled with speed on actual delivery is the way to win.


    Actually, I like the Delphi/Kylix type of portability even more, but that's
    another story <g>. There's something to not being sandboxed that just appeals
    to me. In the absence of that, the .NET approach is the next best thing.
    So far I like most things about .NET, especially since it's been spawned
    by a veteran Pascal/Delphi guy. But let's not forget that we're still at
    the "bait" stage of Microsoft's two-pronged strategy, when they still have
    to look good. It's the "switch" that I'm afraid of. Hopefully Mono on Linux
    will provide a usable independent fork by then.


  13. #13
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    "Lori Piquet" <lpiquet@devx.com> wrote:
    >Is Swing as bad as they say?

    No. It is not perfect and could be better. What isn't?

    >Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    >because of real or perceived performance issues?

    No. I like the fact that I can deploy my app or client on any platform.
    It gives my clients and customers choice as to how they spend their money.

    >Which is it: real or
    >perceived?

    Mostly percieved. Some of it is real. But I would say the good out weighs
    the bad (Most people complain about unimportant things, things solved or
    solved by 3 party tools and things solved by good programming techniques).
    If there comes a better Java GUI tool I will use it. SWT might be that
    tool (for the apps I do).

    >Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the desktop?

    Maybe a little. Those building Java (which is more than Sun) have seemed
    (as everyone else has - MS, ...) concentrated more on browser based UIs.
    I think they (and everyone else) over estimated the worth and usefulness
    and maintainability (...) of browswer based UIs. For example, IBM shipped
    WSAD without a built in GUI builder for Swing or SWT. Users had to use VAJ
    (or something else) for that. IBM has put shipping WAS 5 on hold till next
    month to get WSAD 5 out the door this month. WSAD 5 includes a GUI builder.
    Hmmm.

    I think the problem here (as evident in your questions) is that Java != Sun.
    Java is greater than Sun.

  14. #14
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    It kills me when people say Java is slow. Java is being used where speed
    is important like the financial arena.

    As for the base of Java programmers - Well avoid .Net because the base is
    smaller. You under estimate the number of Java programmers. Java programmers
    typically are paid more because crappy Java apps are really crappy. Most
    good ones can't be whipped out. The same is true for .Net. VB was ok for
    whipping out apps. But when it comes time to maintain or modify ... . BTW,
    I am being paid as much and more for my MS programming than my Java programming.

    As for slow Java apps - try Eclipse 2.0.
    The question really is - Is it fast enough? Usually yes. So if you are
    concerned with program speed you should be programming in Assembly. You're
    not? The tool you are using must be fast enough.

    The reason I think Oracle Java UIs aren't that good (actually they really
    aren't that bad) is because they don't make money at it, not because they
    are done in Java. This is the reason things like printer drivers are so
    bad. Don't forget Oracle runs on at least one more platform than SQL Server
    and they need to have a UI for each.

    As for code theft - use an obfuscator. Don't be fooled into thinking your
    code in other languages can't be stolen without some extra effort on your
    part. The best deterant to software theft - don't sell it.

    As for users changing the code - don't ship the .java files. There are native
    compilers for Java too. I don't see the problem here. Linux users can
    change the code. It doesn't seem to cause a problem there.


    "Marc Latham" <mlatham23@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >"Lori Piquet" <lpiquet@devx.com> wrote:
    >>Is Swing as bad as they say? Do you avoid writing desktop apps with Swing
    >>because of real or perceived performance issues? Which is it: real or
    >>perceived? Do you think Sun is remiss in its support of Java on the desktop?
    >>
    >>(Link to come shortly.)
    >>
    >>Lori Piquet
    >>Editor-in-chief
    >>DevX
    >>
    >>

    >As a developer and application designer I avoid writing or specing applications
    >that use Java for 2 reasons 1) the applications run in intrepreted mode

    and
    >are as slow as molassas 2) The base of developers writing in Java is so

    small
    >that it is hard to get good developers at a reasonable cost.
    >
    >As a user I avoid using java based apps because they are so slow, their

    open
    >time on the same hardware/ os is twice or more that of native apps. The
    >oracle GUI database administration tools are a perfect example. Their tools
    >before java were fast after java I have switched to other tools to access
    >my oracle databases because I don't have time to wait on them to run.
    >
    >Also as a developer I don't want to ship my source code in an open format,
    >I spend 2 years writing something and then have some big corporation steal
    >it and use it no thanks. The best way to prevent code theft is not to expose
    >the code. Also from a supportability issue if the users can open the code
    >and modify it how the heck am I supposed to support them when the code they
    >are running may not even match the original distribution.



  15. #15
    Alexander Jerusalem Guest

    Re: Has Sun Given Up on the Desktop?


    "Marc Latham" <mlatham23@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >As a developer and application designer I avoid writing or specing applications
    >that use Java for 2 reasons 1) the applications run in intrepreted mode

    and
    >are as slow as molassas


    They run in interpreted mode only if you specifically tell the VM to do so.
    By default Java applications are compiled just in time.

    >Also as a developer I don't want to ship my source code in an open format,
    >I spend 2 years writing something and then have some big corporation steal
    >it and use it no thanks. The best way to prevent code theft is not to expose
    >the code. Also from a supportability issue if the users can open the code
    >and modify it how the heck am I supposed to support them when the code they
    >are running may not even match the original distribution.


    I'm sorry but I have to ask that: Have you ever in your life written or seen
    a Java application? Just to remind you, Java is a compiled language. You
    need not ship your source code and you can even obfuscate the byte code so
    that it cannot be reengineered.

    Regards

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