Java News from Saturday, July 2, 2005

As expected a few people wrote in to tell me they're using NetBeans. Several of them said Netbeans works very well for them on Windows and my problems must be Mac related, which sort of misses the point. What so upsets Sun about Eclipse (besides the name) is not that it's an IDE that competes with NetBeans. There are plenty of those. The concern is that Eclipse is a complete development platform that makes large parts of Java irrelevant. It effectively takes control of Java away from Sun and puts it in IBM's hands. In other words, it's not Eclipse that worries Sun. It's the SWT and the RCP.

Thus what's really of interest is not the comparison between the IDEs. It's the comparison between the development platforms. That's why Sun is suddenly pushing Netbeans so hard after abandoning and ignoring IDE after IDE for the last ten years. (Java Workshop anyone?) Sun doesn't need to produce an IDE for Java. They're quite happy for Oracle and Borland and others to serve that market. But they desperately need to prevent developers from defecting to the SWT. That means they have to produce a Swing-based, cross-platform IDE that can compete with Eclipse. So far they haven't done that. Eclipse, built on top of the SWT, runs just fine on the Mac. It's certainly not perfect, but it's good enough. NetBeans isn't. If NetBeans can only run acceptably on Windows, then Sun has failed; and their failure proves that Swing is not a viable cross-platform development environment. IBM wins.

Bernhard Fastenrath has posted GetOpt 0.97, a free (GPL) Java library that parses command line options such as -d, --help and -version. The command line options and responses can be stored in XML. Version 0.97 fixes bugs, especially involving the built-in web server. Java 1.4.2 or later is required.