-----Original Message-----
From: java400-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:java400-l-
bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of albartell

I would be curious to hear the challenges of Java vs. .NET to develop rich
front-ends. Anybody have decent experience in both?


They are both horrid, Java more so.

They both suffer from the 80/20 rule (more like 95/5 rule from my experience) the last 20% of the UI is where you spend 80% of the time coding for (or rather against) obscure use cases and/or user 'creativeness'. This is where *every* project begins to run over, especially if QA get a good run at it too.

Java additionally suffers from the 'write once, test everywhere' syndrome; there are platform only and cross-platform bugs in Java that really get annoying, real fast. Even simple things like the layout managers for the UI behave differently on Windows and Linux. When you bring MacOS into the fold it really tests your nerves. I can't count the number of times our code makes a call to our static function to determine what OS we're on, so that we can code around some obscure Java bug or worse some Java platform difference to which Sun basically says, "tough, live with it, code around it, we're not fixing it."

But really, coding a GUI in any language is the same; you get basic to medium functionality from the language (and from language helpers like IDE's and/or frameworks) but (as Joe rightly states) once you start veering off of someone else's idea of what's 'right' - an believe me it *always* happens, especially if you're using customer feedback to push feature requests - you end up spending a disproportionate amount of time (and often diminishing returns) bending over backwards to implement it.

Take an simple Windows app; you cannon implement the true look & feel of say Office2003 or 2007 with the pretty ribbons & widgets - which users want - using .NET (or Visual Studio). Well that's not strictly true, you can but do you really want to be responsible for painting the whole component from scratch? You could of course buy these components and subclass them, if that's feasible.

UI's, and GUI's more so, are a money and a time pit to any project - I hate them! But it pays the bills, so I just get on with it, regardless (in spite of?) of the language, the framework of de jour, the scripting language, the latest buzzwords management deem to be a must have, etc., etc...

-phil


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