Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Charlotte Spencer-Smith, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Swing Baby, Yeah!!!

With JVMs being pulled from Internet Explorer, Java's attention moved off the desktop and onto the server

Back in 1996, Java was originally hailed as a way of making the Web more appealing through applets, and, with its "write one, run anywhere" philosophy, as the holy grail for desktop apps that would be truly cross platform. The truth is that both were oversold at the time. With the combination of low bandwidth Internet connections and early Swing releases not living up to user expectations occurring in the middle of the Microsoft vs. Sun "pure Java" fight that resulted in JVMs being pulled from Internet Explorer, Java's attention moved off the desktop and onto the server.

It's now 2006 and the world is a very different place. Java Virtual Machines are now present on about 85% of desktop PCs, about two-thirds of which are at 1.3 or higher. The top 10 PC OEMs now redistribute a JRE with their product and, in January 2006 alone, there were over 30 million downloads of the Windows Java SE.

More intelligent and demanding users are become increasing disillusioned with the poor page-based, latency bound user interface model that the browser-centric world delivers. To a large extent all of the AJAX hype being whipped up at the moment is a recognition of this fact, although what it's actually doing is elevating the discussion to be one of "how do we deliver rich content" rather than bun fights over "HTML rocks, Swing sucks, baa."

At JavaOne's opening keynote this year, the absolute highlight for me that showed how far Swing has come was a demo of an application that used Web services APIs from flickr.com and maps.google.com, popular and high-content Web sites in their own rights, and trumped both sites with a beautiful Swing program. Romain Guy, one of the Swing engineers who'd written the program, used it to navigate his photo album pictures from flickr, using 3D smooth animation, reflection techniques, and beautiful user interface effects that fully demonstrated the power of desktop applications. The program then picked up Google maps data to show the route Romain had taken during a recent road trip that merged with photos he'd taken on the way. The power of this message was simple: the desktop can be used to integrate back-end data that is available on the Web (through Web services) and create a user interface experience that is richer than anything the Web could offer and truly puts the user back in control. It was beautiful to watch, and ironically reminded me of how Flash developers used to show off how they could make the Web experience better, except the Swing demo was an order of magnitude higher than anything Web 2.0 could possibly hope to offer. It also struck a chord with the idea that while all the server guys are focusing on SOA and ways for back ends to publish their data and re-usable services, it's now open season again as to what the user interface is going to be. Swing is totally there now: mature, fixed, better, and 100% ready to step up to the challenge.

Leaving bombast aside, technology never wins because it's better. The battleground in traction is largely based on perception, ideas, and adoption by the community. What's encouraging about Swing is that it is doing well on all three fronts.

In a recent Evans Data survey of Java development trends, developers were asked where they spent most of their time building apps. Forty-one percent said they wrote desktop apps, 37% J2EE, 4% Java on mobile devices, while the remainder apparently didn't know what they do at work each day As for the future, when questioned about which Mustang features people were most looking forward to, over 60% answered that they're turned on by the Desktop Java enhancements.

The community around Desktop Java has really grown over the past few years and Mustang is now reaping some of this crop. SwingLabs (http://swinglabs.org/index.jsp) is an umbrella for an open source laboratory of projects whose common goal is to make Swing easier to write, faster, and better and to rally around Desktop Java. It's crop includes the timing framework being showcased at JavaOne, a very crisp and elegant API to do animation effects. SwingX has reaped the cool visual effects like drop shadow borders and custom highlighting that powered the JavaOne keynote demo. In addition to these and other fabulous improvements to Swing on the glass, there is also recognition that serious Desktop Java projects have to wrestle many other types of animal to the ground as well. The Data Binding project is looking at taking away the pain involved when binding Swing GUIs to back-end data sources. The Application Framework project is looking at the life cycle surrounding desktop. This is all good stuff.

One of the features Swing used to always get beaten up about was that it's an emulated widget toolkit and, as such, has to fake out in low-level Java 2D drawing code what the actual native widgets look like. Even though 1.4.1 improved this over previous releases, the arrow didn't quite hit the bulls-eye. Thankfully though this looks like it's now got closure as Mustang is going to use native APIs on Windows and GTK to find out how exactly, pixel perfect, each OS's widgets are being rendered. No more Swing versus SWT fights on newsgroups, phew.

Swing is really coming back hard with some great new features and for me was definitely the star of JavaOne. I talked to many other people who were also impressed with what they saw and are now seriously considering revisiting it. Web 2.0 hysteria is turning the focus of IT away from server-implementation technologies and back onto the user interface experience. When the guy next to you steps up to home plate clutching his JavaScript for Dummies book, let's hear it for the desktop: "Swing AJAX developer swing, swing AJAX developer swing."

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Joe Winchester 06/23/06 10:55:07 AM EDT

Hi David,
I wasn't making fun of Java Enterprise or Java mobil.. I was making fun of the percentage who couldn't answer what they do at work. I am a huge fan of all aspects of Java, my point was that there is a lot of Java desktop stuff still going on, and that Swing is really really good now. Mustang has a lot of very cool stuff in it, Swing labs is creating very solid frameworks, and I've been playing with some of the new JDNC stuff and it is incredibly solid. The Swing team have done an outstanding job, and a lot of people's perception of Swing is probably of Swing 1.1. People are trying to build richer user interfaces, whether it's with Flash or AJAX or whatever, and I just want people to reconsider building first class desktop apps with what is now a modern and very powerful Swing release.
Joe

David 06/22/06 07:21:07 PM EDT

You made fun of the java developers who did not do desktop apps, j2ee or mobile. While web apps may contain some "j2ee parts," I think many programmers do no consider these j2ee unless you are doing enterprise javabeans. Those who use pojo with servlets/jsps often do not think of themselves as j2ee -- except when we put it on our resumes!

David Bolsover 06/21/06 03:13:24 AM EDT

Trackback Added: Java Swing; Swing Baby, Yeah!!! ? Back in 1996, Java was originally hailed as a way of making the Web more appealing through applets, an...

JDJ News Desk 06/20/06 03:27:28 PM EDT

Back in 1996, Java was originally hailed as a way of making the Web more appealing through applets, and, with its 'write one, run anywhere' philosophy, as the holy grail for desktop apps that would be truly cross platform. The truth is that both were oversold at the time. With the combination of low bandwidth Internet connections and early Swing releases not living up to user expectations occurring in the middle of the Microsoft vs. Sun 'pure Java' fight that resulted in JVMs being pulled from Internet Explorer, Java's attention moved off the desktop and onto the server.

David Bolsover 06/14/06 06:03:23 AM EDT

I have been following the Swinglabs developments for over 18 months now - this stuff rocks! I have already deployed applications using the JDNC 0.6 libraries and with the promise of JSR 295: Beans Binding the future for Java on the desktop looks very good indeed.

@ThingsExpo Stories
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...