The Best Things In Life Are Free: Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8.0, Page 3
While Java Studio Creator offers a superb "VB like" user experience for rapidly creating web based apps with a minimum of fuss, it is more apparent than ever that there is really nothing equivalent for swing based applications.
If swing still has a part to play in future development (and I firmly believe it does, web UIs even with AJAX will only go so far, and a cross platform, rich and mature GUI library with simple web delivery, i.e. Java Web Start, makes a compelling case for filling the hole) then what seems to be missing is a RAD tool with the same focus as Java Studio Creator, but for swing.
Creator's strength comes from its focus on doing one thing and doing it well. Data binding, drag and drop development, WYSIWYG GUI construction and so forth make it a perfect VB level development tool. While Matisse from NetBeans 5.0 is clearly the wave of future swing development, NetBeans itself lacks some of the focus that Creator has - NetBeans being more of a generalized development tool.
Perhaps we will some day soon see a Creator like project that incorporates Matisse in the Sun tools lineup, or perhaps it will be rolled into Creator itself. On the other hand I could be way off base. The current tools suite really makes a good case for having something like this at some stage though.
From reading recent interviews with Jonathan Schwartz, I have seen him repeatedly stated that Sun's development tools are not only all being made available for free, but that they will soon also be open sourced as well. It has certainly already started to happen (NetBeans has always been open source, Glassfish is also now open source). In time it is clear that we can expect Java Studio Enterprise and Creator to be open-sourced. In the meantime, the step of making them freely available is a good one.
I think it is certainly safe to say that anyone currently using NetBeans 4.1 for enterprise level development would probably do well to take a look at the new Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8 offering, especially now that it is free to download and use. The new features in Sun Java Studio Enterprise 8 like UML integration, load testing, and the AVK make a compelling case for enterprise development. Likewise, eclipse users should check it out. I use eclipse too, and I like it a lot, but these days I tend to choose my IDE based on the project requirements, and increasingly I find eclipse a little fragmented in it's enterprise development story.
Of course, bleeding edge users, fans of Matisse, or those with an aversion to signing up for free registration to get tools will be wanting to stick with Eclipse or NetBeans. IDEA still represents the geeks choice of IDE if you are willing to pay for it.
Finally, for anyone involved in simple java web app development, or even those wondering what all the fuss with ruby on rails is about, I would urge you to download Java Studio Creator 2 EA (and full when available) now that it is free. Until you have seen the rapid development that is possible with this tool, you will not believe it. It is aimed squarely at the same problem domain that ruby on rails is targeted at. I would love to see more comparisons between Java Studio Creator 2 development and ruby on rails, rather than the current vogue of comparing it with hand editing J2EE or spring configuration files without any IDE support.
You can sign up for the SDN, and download Java Studio Enterprise and Java Studio Creator at http://developers.sun.com
About the Author
Dick Wall is a Lead Systems Engineer for NewEnergy Associates, A Siemens Company based in Atlanta, GA that provides energy IT and consulting solutions for decision support and energy operations. He can be reached for comment on this and other matters at email@example.com. He also co-hosts the Java Posse with Tor Norbye and Carl Quinn, a podcast devoted to Java News and Interviews, which can be found at http://javaposse.com.