Echo2: building Web 2.0 in Java

During some heated discussion on the Apple Java Dev mailing list as to why there still is not Java 6 available in Leopard, with some serious calls to port OpenJDK to OSX, Will Gilbert pointed to the Echo2 demo by Nextapp, which is written with a Java™ library. Here is what Will had to say:
I eventually found little known framework which blew my socks off with performance and seduced me with the source code I would be writing. It was Echo2 from NextApp.com. Fully open source and free. There is nice demo at:

http://demo.nextapp.com/Demo/app

Use the accordion pane to select the "Technology" panel, the click on the "Java Development" button you can see the source code, then run the app which is defined by the source. You will see an immediate similarity to AWT with a flavor of Swing.

I don't know if you have already committed to a development platform, if not, check out Echo2. More specifically take a look at the Echo2 fork which was done by some guys in Australia called Cooee at Karora.org. They took the Echo2 source, added a nice bug reporting system (JIRA), scheduled releases, and Maven repository support.

I you have Leopard, you now have Maven installed. You can run a archetype which I've been developing to create a runnable demo application. This archetype is underdevelopment and is likely to change.

From terminal run the following. Maven will install what it need and then create the application

% mvn archetype:create \\
-DarchetypeGroupId=org.karora.cooee.sandbox.informagen \\
-DarchetypeArtifactId=webapp \\
-DarchetypeVersion=1.0.0 \\
-DremoteRepositories=http://informagen.com/maven2 \\
-DgroupId=com.foo.bar \\
-DartifactId=xxxxx
   .
   . [INFO] BUILD SUCCESSFUL
   .
% cd xxxxx
% more readme.txt

Anyway, that is a really nice discovery that got my mind off my disappointment with the unavailability of even a preview of Java 6 on Leopard. This is an OSX release that otherwise has many very nice features. Here are some of my initial impressions:

  • The user interface is snappier
  • Spotlight finally works (It used to take forever to find things, and the user interface was terrible).
  • The Finder is very much improved. The nice big graphics previews helped me find a few videos I did not know I had. With the click of a space you can see the first page of a NeoOffice document. (NeoOffice is a free and excellent Office suite with the User Interface written in Java btw)
  • Spaces, the multi windowing environment, is dead beautiful, but broken. You can drag one web browser window from one virtual desktop to another with one simple gesture, but then when you want to switch between a number of web browser in different windows using alt-tab you usually end up in the original window. Using Expose keys does not help that much either. So you have to have all windows from one application on the same virtual window. You also don't get much choice for selecting your short cut keys, which means that you may have trouble with it interfering with other applications.
  • Netbeans 6 beta 2 works very well on Leopard. There have been some improvements to the graphics library in their new Java release which has broken IntelliJ and Eclipse though. NetBeans 6 by the way is getting to be really really good.
  • Matt Neuburg post some well illustrated criticisms on the new features in Leopard, which I agree with. The last point about the help windows being impossible get out of the foreground is, it is true, quite bizarre.
  • Some minor and not so minor bugs in The lame Leopard blog

But the final and best review is as usual John Siracusa's Ars Technica review. No marketing hype. Real facts, and good criticism.

Comments:

Switch workspaces using the Ctrl-number keys (I redefined to Opt number keys). They work all the time.

Posted by Jim Rome on October 27, 2007 at 03:58 PM CEST #

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Posted by startoy on October 27, 2007 at 04:44 PM CEST #

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