Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eating your own dogfood

I'm preparing some applet demos for my impending JavaOne technical session, and one of them is using some of the JavaOne schedule data to allow users to see live changes to session attendance, filter by session date, time, room and name.

It's a fairly simple AltioLive application, and doesn't do much more that the conference session catalog JavaOne website, which uses HTML controls and full page refreshes to search the catalog on user-specifed criteria, but it's far more interactive and user-friendly. That got me thinking: why don't Sun have applets on the JavaOne site? Certainly the usual 'barriers' to running applets on websites such as large JRE downloads for users without Java would be almost certainly be non-issues to such a pro-Java audience?

They obviously couldn't deploy anything using their current favourite rich UI solution, JavaFX, due to its bleeding-edge nature, but a 'filthy rich' Swing applet would go a long way to supporting Sun's efforts to promote Java as a viable rich internet UI tool. Much of their recent efforts rely on the new Java 6 Update 10 to fix deficiencies in applet deployment, which is only just in beta, so let's hope that when the Update 10 improvements are generally available we start seeing more applets in the wild.

Having said that, the forthcoming Altio website revamp doesn't use applets, Altio or otherwise, aside from for demo applications, and we're even planning on using Flash on the front page, so we're just as guilty as Sun.


Danny said...

Sounds like a great session. Two of our developers will be at JavaOne and they are looking forward to your talk.
We are big fans of the applet and web 2.0 as we use both heavily on our site See you in SF.

Gary Thompson said...

I just visited this is a cool applet. It's applets like this that make me think there needs to be a bigger focus upon the Applet community.

Flex and Flash have a big community - so the critical mass has built up since 2003/4.

I'd hate to think applets get the reputation for being a Enterprise only tool - we need to find more cool Applets like this and get them advertised.

jim said...

We have a little 'Cool Applets' roll-call at the end of our presentation, which we'll definitely add to, but it's certainly a good idea to show all the different ways applets can be used.

The end-user shouldn't have to know or care what their web app is written with though, so it's only going to increase awareness amongst developers - which is no bad thing, as many of them still think of applets as they were circa-1999.

Danny said...

Thanks for the feedback guys and thanks for including us in your roll call. We very much agree that the applet community needs to grow and become as big as flex and flash. Let us know if we can help in anyway with the presentation. Email dmoon [at] upnext [dot] com.