Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Sematext Blog, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Swing Is Swinging Java Out of the Desktop

Swing Is Swinging Java Out of the Desktop

Over the last few months I have made more than a passing reference to the fact that I personally feel that, in its present state, Java doesn't stand much chance on the desktop against the march of Microsoft's WinForm technology from the .NET Framework. A view, I have discovered, shared by many of you. Before I go on, let me clarify my position here so we are all on the same page. The frameworks currently available to the Java developer from the standard JDK, of course, are AWT and Swing. Naturally we are not talking about other client-side technologies, such as SWT, Thinlets, and Droplets to name a few, but more on them later.

The less said about AWT the better. It doesn't even stand up to the functionality of an HTML page with a basic FORM embedded in it. But we were told not to despair, Sun promised a much better technology was in the works. We were then presented with Swing, which definitely looked the part. However, while academically a sound design, in reality it is a dog-slow technology that suffers from far too much abstraction and object creation to be practical. Swing applications require a lot of memory and a lot of horsepower to get anywhere with them. I know there are some great examples of Swing applications, and 9 times out of 10, I am shown Forte and other heavy weight IDEs, which conversely are great examples of how much stress Swing really does put on the desktop.

There are some great analysis pieces on why Swing is slow and impractical on many Java forums around the planet, but I urge you to check out some of the discussions on JavaLobby and Slashdot. You will notice the conspicuous absence of many counter arguments.

I have already mentioned in a previous editorial how we've missed the boat with applets and how Macromedia have stolen Java's thunder with their Flash technology. It grates on my nerves every time I surf to a particularly Flash-heavy site, as this was the precise role Java was promised to deliver. I strongly believe that AWT lost us this battle, and Swing was far too heavy to be anywhere near a browser to be even considered in the running.

The title of my editorial (sadly not mine but from a poster to our Ask JDJ feature) sums it up very well: If Swing is our only hope then boy are we in trouble!

However do not despair. I have news - great news - about Java on the client side. We may have lost the first round of battles, but the war is still to be fought. We can't rely on Sun to offer us help here (in fact I am awaiting an e-mail back from the tech lead at Sun for client -side Java, who is still to defend their Swing position), so we have to look to third parties for their efforts. You won't be disappointed.

The first technology I would love to tell you about is an effort from an individual buried deep within Europe, www.thinlet.com. This is a very lightweight GUI framework, with very rich widgets that you can easily use. You describe your front-end using XML and building up an applet is very quick and easy. The size of the framework is 30KB. That's it! Check out his Amazon demo and please e-mail if you aren't impressed. This is why Java is so exciting and shouldn't be underestimated.

The second technology is the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) from the Eclipse project. This is a little heavier than the Thinlet technology and is there to build applications that would ordinarily be installed on the desktop. This is a direct competitor to Swing, and from all reports, does a much better job. By all accounts, running their Eclipse IDE on a 400Mhz machine whips along and is very fast, in stark contrast from running an equivalent Swing application within the same constraints.

If you need your faith in Java re-energized, then look to the community and what they are doing. If you are waiting on Sun, then don't, they are too busy fighting Microsoft than to worry about the actual technology they supposedly fighting for!

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (79)

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
When Enterprises started adopting Hadoop-based Big Data environments over the last ten years, they were mainly on-premise deployments. Organizations would spin up and manage large Hadoop clusters, where they would funnel exabytes or petabytes of unstructured data.However, over the last few years the economics of maintaining this enormous infrastructure compared with the elastic scalability of viable cloud options has changed this equation. The growth of cloud storage, cloud-managed big data e...
Your applications have evolved, your computing needs are changing, and your servers have become more and more dense. But your data center hasn't changed so you can't get the benefits of cheaper, better, smaller, faster... until now. Colovore is Silicon Valley's premier provider of high-density colocation solutions that are a perfect fit for companies operating modern, high-performance hardware. No other Bay Area colo provider can match our density, operating efficiency, and ease of scalability.
ScaleMP is the leader in virtualization for in-memory high-end computing, providing higher performance and lower total cost of ownership as compared with traditional shared-memory systems. The company's innovative Versatile SMP (vSMP) architecture aggregates multiple x86 systems into a single virtual x86 system, delivering an industry-standard, high-end shared-memory computer. Using software to replace custom hardware and components, ScaleMP offers a new, revolutionary computing paradigm. vSMP F...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
The graph represents a network of 1,329 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained "#DevOps", or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets, taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 18,000 tweets. The network was obtained from Twitter on Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 23:50 UTC. The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 7-hour, 6-minute period from Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 16:29 UTC to Thursday, 10 January 2019 at 23:36 UTC. Additional tweets that were mentioned in this...