Wednesday Oct 10, 2012

"Well, Swing took a bit of a beating this week..."

One unique aspect of the NetBeans community presence at JavaOne 2012 was its usage of large panels to highlight and discuss various aspects (e.g., Java EE, JavaFX, etc) of NetBeans IDE usage and tools. For example, here's a pic of one of the panels, taken by Markus Eisele:

Above you see me, Sean Comerford from, Gerrick Bivins from Halliburton, Angelo D'Agnano and Ioannis Kostaras from the NATO Programming Center, and Çağatay Çivici from PrimeFaces. (And Tinu Awopetu was also on the panel but not in the picture!)

On one of those panels a remark was made which has kind of stuck with me. Henry Arousell, a member of the "NetBeans Platform Discussion Panel", who works on accounting software in Sweden, together with Thomas Boqvist, who was also at JavaOne, said, a bit despondently, I thought, the following words at the start of the demo of his very professional looking accounting software: "Well, Swing took a bit of a beating this week..."

That remark comes in the light of several JavaFX sessions held at JavaOne, together with many sessions from the web and mobile worlds making the argument that the browser, tablet, and mobile platforms are the future of all applications everywhere. However, then I had another look at the list of Duke's Choice Award winners:

OK, there are 10 winners of the Duke's Choice Award this year. Three of them (JDuchess, London Java Community, Student Nokia Developer Group) are not awards for software, but for people or groups. So, that leaves seven awards. Three of them (Hadoop, Jelastic, and Parleys) are, in one way or another, some kind of web-oriented solution, though both Hadoop and Jelastic are broader than that, but are service-oriented solutions, relating to cloud technologies.

That leaves four others: NATO air defense software, Liquid Robotics software, AgroSense software, and UNHCR Refugee Registration software. All these are, on the software level, Java desktop solutions that, on the UI layer, make use of Java Swing, together with LuciadMaps (NATO), GeoToolkit (AgroSense), and WorldWind (Liquid Robotics). (And, it went even further than that, i.e., this is not passive usage of Swing but active and motivated: Timon Veenstra, during his AgroSense demo, said "There are far more Swing applications out there than we seem to think. Web developers just make more noise." And, during his Liquid Robotics demo, James Gosling said: "Not everything can be done in HTML.")

Seems to me that Java Swing was the enabler of more Duke's Choice Award winners this year than any other UI-oriented Java technology. Now, I'm not going to interpret that one way or another, since I've noticed that interpretations of facts tend to validate some underlying agenda. Take any fact anywhere and you can interpret it to prove whatever opinion you're already holding to be true.

Therefore, no interpretation from me. Simply stating the fact that Swing, far from taking a beating during JavaOne 2012, was a more significant user interface enabler of Duke's Choice Award winners than any other Java user interface technology. That's not an interpretation, but a fact.


Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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