Mozilla to Form Major Component of Sun Java Desktop System

Tuesday September 16th, 2003

Sun Microsystems today unveiled its Java Desktop System, which will feature Mozilla 1.4 as a major component. Formerly known as Project Mad Hatter, Sun's new software is a complete enterprise desktop solution based on Linux and GNOME. It will cost $100 per user when it ships in December this year, or $50 if bought as an add-on to the Java Enterprise System. As well as Mozilla, the desktop environment also features the StarOffice 7 office suite (also announced today), the Evolution personal information manager (complete with a connector for the Sun ONE Calendar Server), the Jabber instant messaging system and RealPlayer streaming media software. As you might expect, the Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 1.4.2 is included, though the desktop environment as a whole is not Java-based.

#22 Re: "High-quality Java client applications"

by leafdigital

Friday September 19th, 2003 2:32 AM

You are replying to this message

There *are* high-quality Java applications. It's just that most of them are Java development environments... (Which also tend to be huge and require a great deal of memory, but you expect that of development environments; Java *is* more memory-hungry than native code, I'll concede that.)

As for busy cursors, Java applications can display busy cursors. The fact that some often may not is a bug in the program and something the programmers should address, not a bug in Java. It's something that could be easier - Java doesn't have anything as simple as MFC's CWaitCursor, you have to go find a window to set your cursor on blah blah blah - but it is doable. (There are a handful of instances within the system API that do cause problems, like opening a file browser, which still take ages for no apparent reason... a programmer could make a wait-cursor display even in this case, but it's a bit of hassle and it ought to be built-in.)

The main reason most Java client applications are of fairly poor quality (in terms of usability) is that most developers are willing to accept low standards. For example, many applications use the default (ugly) Metal look-and-feel - for no apparent reason. A one-line call will set it up to use the OS-native L&F. If the application is written as a simple proof-of-concept or not expecting actual 'normal users', no wonder they don't bother spending time on ensuring that controls in the dialogs are laid out nicely. Sadly, filesharing aside, not too many Java applications are written with serious expectation of actual users.

I'd like to see some major projects (other than Java IDEs like Eclipse) in Java, with a Bugzilla-like database and developers/users who will actually file bugs on things like default L&F or menu arrangements, right down to 'you need space between those two elements, use a standard four-pixel spacer'. Even where I work here there are people who will let any kind of shit go in their Java dialogue layouts, it seems to be a particular problem compared to previous use of C++Builder where it was easier to add space between things just by moving them on the form. (But less flexible, which is critical now that we have to support changing font size everywhere...)