[GEEK/JAVAONE] Java Web Start - still falling short

Java Web Start is a piece of Java platform that's meant to ease the deployment and updating of Java applications. It's a great idea, but disappointingly implemented. There were several JavaOne sessions about Web Start.

There are some great enhancements coming in Java 5.0 (1.5)
  • A semi-miraculous JAR compression technology (called Pack200, who knows why) which in some cases achieves a claimed 10-1 compression. You need to know that Java applications are notoriously huge because and so this is welcome news.
  • Beyond this, there are a set of features allowing more control of the placement of shortcuts, onto the desktop, in the start menu, and various other items.
However, disappointingly, I have to say that they still don't get it. If Java wants to support the creation of no-compromise user experiences on the desktop more is needed:
  • there is insufficient control of shortcut placement
  • there still is no crossplataform, cross browser, automatic download of the required run time libraries (JRE)
And worse, when asked when these and other deficiencies would get corrected the speaker said something along the lines of: "oh those are good ideas that we are talking about. We'll consider it for the next release."

With 1.5 to 2.5 year release cycle this is not really good enough
Posted on June 30, 2004 and filed under Programming.