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Java for dektop GUI programming?  RSS feed

 
Bryan Cairns
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Personally I have a fair bit of experience with C#, VB, Delphi and worked with C++ a little bit and only briefly touched java in the early 1990s.

I am looking to branch off away from Microsoft only desktops and want to do GUI desktop applications for Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix�along with desktop applications I also do a fair amount of web sites�. which lead me to Java � I had read that J2EE is the King of server side code.

Have researched a lot of languages and I keep coming back to both Java and C++.

Every programming language is a tool, and you should use the right tool for the job�my friends tell me to forget java for desktop applications, and use C++ instead those tools like QT and wxWidgets easier to work with and distribute to the end user.

Just curious if anyone has experience making commercial grade applications for the desktop using java? I am looking at making applications that could run with or without a runtime environment installed. � I hate asking a user to download a 20+ Meg framework just to run a 20k calculator application... not to mention if the end user is not technical in any way�.and then there is the issue of making it harder to decompile your code.

Also I have been looking into distribution applications such as Excelsior Jet http://www.excelsior-usa.com/jet.html

Anyone have experience with tools such as this or other Ahead-of-Time / Native compilers that allow java to run without the JRE and still use things like SWT?
 
Ulf Dittmer
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I don't have any statistics, but my impression is that most computers ship with Java preinstalled. Certainly the PCs of the major vendors do (Dell, Gateway, IBM/Lenovo, HP, ...) as does Mac OS X. Not sure about Linux, but you could look that up on the respective distro sites. So as long as you don't require the latest JRE (Java 6), you might be fine.
 
Robert Waals
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I am running a fairly successfull open source project called Data Crow. It is a Swing desktop application. Only rarely I get support questions from people who downloaded the software and are unable to start because no Java VM has been installed. Most operating systems come with a Java version.

I have a couple of tips in case you decide to go for a Java application:
1 - Make sure you do not tie your application to the latest version of Java. Not all operating systems will have this latest version installed. As a rule I support the second latest Java version.
2 - Make it easy to start your application. Use an .exe wrapper for Windows distributions / provide a .sh file for Linux users. (JSmooth: http://jsmooth.sourceforge.net/).
3 - Use an (open source) installer which gives the option to install the Java VM (if not present). (IzPack: http://izpack.org/).

[ UD: fixed URLs ]
[ April 24, 2008: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]
 
Bryan Cairns
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Thanks for the responses - I will check out those links and take the comments to heart.
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