Romain Guy’s comments on desktop Java and much needed improvements?

Romain Guy, a former Sun intern now known for his involvement with the Aerith demo shown at JavaOne and interviewee on JavaPosse, has an interesting blog post on his site about the current state of the Java desktop support.

He makes an interesting point that the majority of Java developers in the US are Swing developers, not Java EE, and yet EE gets all the attention (possibly because this is the space where the big buck projects are, both for developers and tool vendors). I find this an interesting statistic, but I’m not sure where he gets this information. Maybe it’s just because I work in an EE world, but I rarely come across any Java developers who have experience with Swing.

However, I agree that Swing needs to take a close look at the simplification efforts going on in the EE world, as it has a lot to learn (not just the list of needed features that Romain lists). With the current trends towards Rich-client applications and web developers trying hard to squeeze out more and more from an already over-stressed browser client platform, the current trend seems to indicate one of two possible directions, either a) there is going to be an increase in Java desktop apps as developers realize it is considerably easier to build a rich client application using an API set that is designed to do exactly this (instead of trying to do unnatural things with Javascript and CSS), or b) the browser is about to evolve into a true rich client platform with a new browser released that provides the ability to build true rich client applications.

Since option b) is less likely to occur without the backing of a major company to push this into the mainstream, for the short term I think we will see an increasing number of Swing projects. However, the possibility that some company (or open source effort) will release a ‘rich client super platform’ does sound like an interesting option…

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