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Rich Clients Re-Visited (Java)

James Gosling commenting about NetBeans current and future releases:

"What's in store for the future of Java Studio Creator? You can drag and drop components and build these apps beautifully, and subsequent versions of Creator are going to broaden that scope. The next version of Creator, for instance, isn't going to be limited to generating HTML as the output but [will] be able to build rich clients."

http://www.computerworld.com/developmenttopics/development/java/story/0,10801,94291,00.html?f=x10

With all of the talk from both camps, it seems like Rich Client may be the future after all.......

Gen'xer
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"With all of the talk from both camps, it seems like Rich Client may be the future after all......."

I think "all this talk" is what's often referred to as self serving rhetoric. It's hardly surprizing that the Java people want rich Java clients, just as it isn't suprizing to hear the .NET people advocating .NET rich clients. It's especially weak coming from the Java camp, as Java started life as a tool for rich clients running in a sandbox (almost a decade ago), and it was a dismal failure in that realm. Whether one particular tool can build a rich Java client is hardly a turning point..

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

It's almost as if Sun is starting to think of itself as having first rate desktop products.  Looking Glass, and now this rich client crap.

.net, the equivalent of MS Bob.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

This is a tough issue.  In reality, it's actually two issues. 

From a developer perspective, it's all about the technical advantages and disadvantages of thick vs thin clients (user experience, ease of development, deployment, etc etc etc).  This is completely separate from the "my dev platform is better than yours" battle based on the purely technical merits of .NET vs Java.

But from a MS vs Sun perspective, it's about a political war for a piece of the desktop PC pie.  MS recognized the new abundance of platform independent thin-client apps, and got in gear to produce better tools for building rich clients because it increases the foothold of the Windows OS.

Meanwhile, Sun wants, and has always wanted, to be a major desktop player...  Not entirely sure of their motivation, but I would guess most likely to make themselves a household name by putting Sun Java in the face of millions of users.  Therefore they have not given up hope, and will continue to develop tools to enable Java on the desktop.

So, if there is any self-serving rhetoric being bandied about, it's definately a Sun vs MS thing, not a thick vs thin client thing.  Long after the landscape of client vs server app development has evened out, Microsoft and Sun will still be finding new fronts on which to engage each other in competition.

Joe
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

OT, but I actually saw a Sun desktop box today - for the first time I think <g>

It was in a University library and was running Mozilla to allow access to the library catalogue and web pages for guests of the library ("no printing, no emailing" from these boxes). Students and staff used one of the dozens of Win2000 boxes along side.

I managed to crash it in 5 minutes by loading an map on the Transperth website while trying to look up how to get to a different campus <VBG>

Les C
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

"but I actually saw a Sun desktop box today - for the first time I think"

Odd.

There were dozens of Sun desktop boxen at my university and several at the place I used to work at.

Leauki (Andrew J. Brehm)
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

>> With all of the talk from both camps, it seems like Rich Client may be the future after all.......  <<

Of course, since distributed computing is the overall trend.  Reality is moving away from the centralized computing (like mainframes, web applications, etc) and towards distributed computing.

Web apps will always be useful for:  1) non interactive stuff like search, company brochures, information.  2) anonymous access apps 3) alternative UI apps (like OWA) 3) apps with simple UI requirements (banking apps, vendor account apps), 4) rarely used apps 5) corporate apps

Deployment is the only advantage to web apps, and it just isn't compelling.  Desktop apps can be deployed fairly painlessly.

Gunnar Skogsholm
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

They run sun computers at the library at my university for all the catalogues etc. I would say that at any given time at least 20-50% of them are out of order. This number was higher when they used to run Netscape 4 (I think... it was some version that didn't even support style sheets), now they have upgraded to Mozilla.  Needless to say, they are slowly replacing these machines with normal old Windows boxes.

Daniel S
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

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