JavaOne: Parting Thoughts

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Within a few short hours, I’ll be heading for home (I’m on Frontier 669, in case you want to change your flight) and several days of backlogged work, but before I go I wanted to capture some of the random thoughts and comments that have been circulating the past few days.

  1. On NetBeans Day: I’d meant to blog this earlier, but Sunday’s NetBeans day was remarkably well attended. I’m told there were around 800 people there – well up from last year, and as you can tell here it was mostly standing room only. One of the demos included the construction of an MP3 player populated by the iTunes database, which was impressively easy but seemed to skip (in demo fashion) most of the heavy lifting. It also featured a few hints of Ajaxian features to come, which drew some commentary from the folks sitting nearby. All in all, a good day.
  2. On Eclipse v NetBeans: Having met with folks from both sides, I continue to be impressed by the progress each platform drives in the other. I believe that Eclipse is better because of NetBeans, and NetBeans is better because of Eclipse. On the ongoing divide between the two, here’s a basic summary of my position in case it’s been unclear: competition is good, to a point. One very well known technical person that I respect told me here that he didn’t want to see a world where there was only a single toolkit to work from, as is the case in the .NET universe with Visual Studio. Fair enough, and generally speaking I default to the developer position in such cases. But looking at the implications of the continuing division between the two platforms, customers and ISVs alike are faced to make a choice – sometimes a difficult one. Having multiple toolkits might be a good idea, but having two separate and incompatible plugin architectures is not. While the NetBeans folks have told me that several ISVs have approached them about implementing to NetBeans in addition to an Eclipse plugin, this is not ideal and simply not feasible for many organizations. So while I appreciate that the Eclipse v NetBeans competition does result in better all around toolkits, it also negatively impacts customers and ISVs alike. What’s the solution? There isn’t one I can see, at the present time. Expect more of the same for the foreseeable future.
  3. On Sun & the FSF: In one of the Press/Analyst Q&A sessions, Jonathan Schwartz was asked about the FSF and Richard Stallman in particular. His answer, that the market had room for many different approaches, and that Sun believed that Stallman personally drives a great deal of creativity and innovation, could not – IMO only – have been handled any better. This is what my colleague might term being competitive without being competitive, and would that more technology business was conducted with such rational, respectful discourse.
  4. On the Sun/IBM Thawing: Overheard from a fellow attendee: “It’s about damn time.” Amen.
  5. Attendance: The show has been very heavily attended, from what I can see and from what I’m told. There are tons of developers here, but interestingly the exhibitor population seems down slightly. There doesn’t seem to be any known reason for this, and the attending vendors are actually pleased because it makes for less competition, but it’s curious nonetheless. Even the individual booth sizes seem down.

Lastly, let me say an overdue thank you on behalf of both James and myself to the Sun AR Team (Jennifer, Preston and Randy) for taking excellent care of us as usual, and getting us time with the people we need to talk to. You guys rock.

So good show all around, and now it’s about time to get back to work.


  1. i don't disagree with much in there; both platforms have strengths and weaknesses. the difficulty i have is in the divide they create for plugins. that's not mere rhetoric, that's a problem. perhaps not for the individual developer, but certainly for the ISVs catering to that developer.

  2. personally think eclipse/netbeans as the two choices gives both companies an opportunity to set standards that matter. I love NB for some stuff (growing), hate it for others. Same with Eclipse. Put the rhetoric aside, and go innovate.

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