The Myth of Rapid GUI-based Development
By jtb on Jun 05, 2007
I got my hands on a session pass at Java One's "community one" event, and decided to attend two session for which I am a newbie: JRuby and Matisse - both of which were under the "Netbeans Track".
Both of the sessions were essentially a demo, which consisted of someone very well versed with both the technology and Netbeans quickly clicking and typing to produce some interesting application in an unreasonably short amount of time. Wow! What really gave me goose bumps was when the audience applauded the results. Not goose bumps because I was impressed, but the kind of goose bumps you get when you are embarrassed for someone else.
For any GUI-based development, whether it's portlets, EJBs, SWT applications, or whatever, there will come a point very quickly when you need to do more than the "hello world" component. At that point, you will need to have an intimate knowledge of the underlying technology. Now, the problems is that the GUI lets you get from 0 to 5 without any real knowledge. To do anything more, you need to go back and learn what the GUI did to get you from 0 to 5, which is more difficult than just going from 0 to 5 the "hard" way, by actually learning.
Rapid GUI-based development tools make good demos. They impress product managers and sales folks. They even sell products. But they are not solutions for real developers.