Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

One IDE to Rule Them All

One IDE to Rule Them All

At JavaOne, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Sun's Software Group, outlined his mission to increase the number of Java developers from 3 million to 10 million. The hope is to attract these extra seven million from the legions of Visual Basic (VB) developers. Visual Basic's strength comes from a tool experience that is inseparable from the language and, in order to capture their mind share, Java needs the killer IDE.

Early Java programming books were often bundled with a copy of Visual Café, allowing readers to concentrate on learning the language syntax instead of esoteric JDK command syntax. While some programmers pride themselves on writing macros to customize their favorite text editors, integrated development environments (IDEs) offer the easy life of code assist, incremental compilation, and integrated debuggers.

Since Visual Café, a number of great IDEs have been created. JBuilder, IntelliJ, and Eclipse lead the 2003 JDJ Readers' Choice Awards with TogetherJ, Oracle9i Developer, and Sun ONE all equally worthy of pole positions. The irony is that having so many good development tools is a weakness, not a strength, when it comes to tackling Microsoft.

The current Java IDE landscape makes extensibility APIs either constrained to the lowest common denominator or proprietary to each vendor. JavaBeans and JavaServer Faces (JSF) are examples of the former because, while components can be good citizens for how a tool will use them, they cannot exercise sufficient control over the environment hosting them. To truly leverage a tool requires knowledge of its object model for representing artifacts, the life-cycle API for how data is persisted, and the control of event notification between viewers. If the IDE surfaces these internals to the component, a much richer edit time experience can be created. The case in point is Microsoft Design-Time Control (DTC), which allows customization of Web page components through in-place ActiveX controls that run within the source editor. Java's answer to DTC is JSF. Without being able to surface a satisfactory mechanism to plug into the IDE's viewers, the source-editing experience relies on using the JSF component as you would any other JavaServer Page (JSP) tag library or JavaBean. This is not going to lure the VB crowd who want in-place preferences dialogs for their component embedded directly in the source page.

The most successful challenge to Microsoft tools in the Java space so far is to adopt a proprietary approach as used by JBuilder, IntelliJ, or Eclipse. These surface the APIs that tool vendors and component builders need to leverage the edit time experience. However, their bespoke interfaces cause fragmentation in the tools space, and while JSR 198 is a well-intentioned attempt to resolve this problem, it's too little too late and is fated to become the lowest common denominator.

Any successful extension API needs to be more than skin deep, and what motivation do the tools vendors have to come together and agree on a common object model or life-cycle API? It is IBM's doomed AD cycle all over again. If a compromise API is reached, the IDE vendors will do half-hearted shoe horning of this into their existing tool, while still retaining their internal extension APIs for serious platform development. The issue is further complicated by the inability of Swing and SWT to interoperate, and if the GUI toolkit can't be agreed upon, there is surely little hope that the internals can converge.

The only solution I see is for one of the existing IDEs to become the de facto tool for Java. The benefit of having only one tool is that people can program to its extension API, have access to the internals of its object model and construction and, in an ideal scenario, the tool would be offered with JDK downloads to round off the whole Java "out of the box" experience. This way when the seven million newcomers we are hoping to attract first taste Java, they feel at home with a rich set of design-time tools fully integrated with the language.

More Stories By Henry Roswell

Henry Roswell is a veteran consultant who would like to think he's seen it all, but is constantly amazed by new events every day.

Comments (7)

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
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...