Java and Mono (was Re: Managing multiple computers at home)

Michael L Torrie torriem at
Mon Mar 27 13:26:41 MST 2006

On Mon, 2006-03-27 at 12:27 -0700, Bryan Sant wrote:
> Some of you old-timers will know that historically I've never been a
> big fan of Java's Swing GUI either.  Swing has been the biggest black
> eye for Java.  Anyone who believes Java is slow has typically come to
> that conclusion by using a Swing app for about 2 seconds.  Let's be
> honest, in the past, Swing has SUCKED!!  However, the next release of
> Java (Mustang) has made Swing very acceptable.  The look and
> performance of Swing-based apps on Mustang are indistinguishable from
> native apps.  So basically now, you can write your GUI app in Java and
> people won't go, "Wow, that thing looks and runs like crap!".  Your
> users will never know it was written in Java or that it's not native.

How is this handled on linux?  Are they going with GTK, Qt or what?
Will it pick up my gnome themes (like Java 1.5 tried and failed to do)?
SWT has a variety of "native" look and feels for linux including Gtk and
Motif.  Will Java adopt a similar strategy?

> I've worked pretty heavily with SWT (a Java GUI toolkit that delegates
> to native widgets) because of my disgust with Swing in the past, but
> now, I have no desire to continue working with SWT.  With Mustang,
> Swing is great now.  And with the Netbeans GUI builder (free and OSS),
> making cross-platform GUI apps is as easy as Visual Studio (even
> better in my opinion).

Does anyone here have an opinion of SwingWT?

> See the Netbeans GUI builder in action here:

I'm not sure how I feel about the layout manipulation here.  It is kind
of neat that you can lay out form elements without worrying about or
messing with layout containers and still have it resize and re-lay out
the elements properly.  I can see how this could be easier to use, but I
wonder how well the layouts work when the UI designer isn't involved
with setting up how the layout managers actually work. 

> By the way, did you know that Swing already is the most popular
> desktop technology in North America?

I somehow doubt that.  Win32 and MFC still reign supreme from what I can
see.  Or other thin wrappers around win32.  Any article that says "...
Swing ... has surpassed WinForms as the dominant GUI development
toolkit" indicates to me that this is all meaningless.  The number of
real-world apps out there actually using WinForms and .NET at this point
is pretty minuscule.  And since .NET uptake among large windows app
makers seems to be pretty small and immature at this point, obviously
Swing is more widely used than WinForms.  In short the blog entry below
is BS.  I guess what he meant to say was that in the world of Java
vs .NET, Swing is more widely used than WinForms.  

Swing is a very well-designed toolkit.  And if it can look, act, and
feel like a native toolkit, then that will be great.  Certainly Swing is
a better overall kit than SWT.  There's no reason why Swing sucks
architecturally or from the programmer's point of view.  It's just the
end-user's point of view that sucked in the past.

> Java Swing popularity has grown 27% since fall of 2004.  Just some
> food for thought if you think that desktop Java is a sinking ship and
> that the crazy salaries that Java folk currently make won't last.  It
> will.  Java is getting more popular, not less.

Somehow I wonder if the high IT salaries in general will last for many
years.  I know that BYU, for example, is starting to really feel the
effects of high IT costs.  

I think that one would be foolish to have a skill-set exclusively in one
language.  Being able to hop between Java, C++, Python, C#, and whatever
language of the day is out there is probably a pretty important thing
long-term.  I have a goal to learn one new language every year and to
write some large program in it.  This year I'm doing python.  Next year
may be C#.


> -Bryan
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