JavaOne 2012 has come to an end though it feels like it hasn't even started yet! What happened, time is a weird thing.
Too many things to report on. James Gosling's appearance at the JavaOne community keynote was seen, by everyone (which is quite a lot) of people I talked to, as the highlight of the conference. It was interesting that the software for the Duke's Choice Award winning Liquid Robotics that James Gosling is now part of and came to talk about is a Swing application that uses the WorldWind libraries. It was also interesting that James Gosling pointed out to the conference: "There are things you can't do using HTML."
That brings me to the wonderful counter argument to the above, which I spend my time running into a lot: "Yes, but that's niche." It's a killer argument, i.e., it kills all discussions completely in one fell swoop. Kind of when you're talking about someone and then this sentence drops into the conversation: "Yes, but she's got cancer now."
Here's one implementation of "Yes, but that's niche":
Here's another implementation, though it contradicts the above [despite often being used by the same people], since JavaFX is a Java desktop technology:
In other words, anything that doesn't fit within the currently dominant philosophy is "niche", for no other reason than that it doesn't fit within the currently dominant philosophy... regardless of the actual needs of real developers. Saying "Yes, but that's niche", kills the discussion completely, because it relegates one side of the conversation to the arcane and irrelevant corners of the universe. You're kind of like Cobol now, or something like a wacky cartoon character at a party for grown ups, as soon as "Yes, but that's niche" is said. What's worst about "Yes, but that's niche" is that it doesn't enter into any discussion about user requirements, i.e., there's so few that need this particular solution that we don't even need to talk about them anymore.
Note, of course, that I'm not referring specifically or generically to anyone or anything in particular. Just picking up from conversations I've picked up on as I was scurrying around the Hilton's corridors while looking for the location of my next presentation over the past few days. It does, however, mean that there were people thinking "Yes, but that's niche" while listening to James Gosling pointing out that HTML is not the be-all and end-all of absolutely everything.
And so this all leaves me wondering: How many applications must be part of a niche for the niche to no longer be a niche? And what if there are multiple small niches that have the same requirements? Don't all those small niches together form a larger whole, one that should be taken seriously, i.e., a whole that is not a niche?