Long time member of the Java community. Author of JHTML and the SmugMug Java API, worked with the DZone crew for a while and Product Services Manager at Genuitec. Also the creator of The "Break it Down" Blog and comedy site Up My Own Ass. Riyad has posted 6 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Is Java Becoming Irrelevant?

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Sun Microsystems announced today that it would be laying off 6,000 employees (18% of it’s workforce) in an attempt to better realign itself with “global economic climate”. The company will be focusing on:
  • Application Development (?)
  • Systems Platform (Solaris, Glassfish, Java, etc.)
  • Infrastructure Development (Server Hardware, etc.)

With Sun’s stock (JAVA) falling from 20 at the same time last year to around 4 today it isn’t much of a surprise that the company has had to reel back costs and rethink some strategies going forward.

You have to wonder if the Java/Open Source-everything strategy Schwartz pushed is paying off or just making the open source folks happy while loosing Sun footing in the servers and platforms market.

With a strong push by the community and interested parties such as RedHat, IBM and Oracle, betting their server and platform offerings on Java/Linux and trying to drive that effort through the OpenJDK project it’s plausible to think that Sun’s own “official” Java release could become less and less important as we move forward.

Eclipse began this trend by completely invalidating the Swing UI stack in the JDK with the introduction of both SWT/JFace and the Eclipse platform itself (implicitly bringing along the importance of OSGi as an industry-leading design force)

With RedHat/JBoss (RHT) hovering around 18, Oracle/WebLogic (ORCL) floating around 16 and IBM/WebSphere (IBM) balancing around 80, you can imagine there are some pretty powerful companies, completely vested in Java, that will take this omen of Sun’s slide as a moment to jump forward and become the new stewards of the direction for what used to be a language, but is now a platform.

You can even see some disruptive forces in the Java space like Spring getting their foot in the door and eventually kicking it wide open with “easier solutions” to enterprise Java - that so far the community has mostly agreed with as seen by it’s penetration.

Spring in and of itself is a platform; another means of approaching the Java development problems. Another approach to how to develop and deploy your Java applications (enterprise, client or otherwise).

The purpose of pointing all these pieces out is that there are a lot of big elephants in the room, with their businesses and revenue streams tied directly to the same platform and the one-time stoic steward of this platform is slowly showing signs of weakness. I’m proporting that we are going to see some interesting transitions starting in Java land; not beginning with direct attacks on Java or attempts to wrestle the language out of Sun’s control, but instead peripheral attacks on the language by devaluing it as a language itself and pushing forward as a platform or an engine as a means of execution for other languages controlled by other sources.

One quick example is Spring recently aquiring the Groovy/Grails camp. Not directly Java related, but gives them more leverage in the platform space because it is JVM friendly.

Interestingly enough in an attempt to give longer legs to Java, the Sun team is working hard on opening up the JVM to host alternative dynamic languages; for example, JRuby is becoming hugely popular.

With all these new doors opening, the key to controlling Java may not be through a kung-fu grip directly against the base platform, but by controlling the most popular (and best integrated) 1-off language that becomes the Next Big Thing(tm).

If there is a pending invalidation of the platform I’ve been curious why Sun has been whole-heartedly helping this effort forward with the work on the VM boosting success in hosting additional languages. Certainly Java-proper has enough leverage and penetration now (being through the hype-dissolution-acceptance cycle) that providing the ability to host additional dynamic languages isn’t going to help that penetration by leaps and bounds (I’m talking enterprise commitments end-to-end).

If Sun had a proprietary grip on Java and it’s deployment, then hosting more things on the platform is a great idea, because you still need the platform… but Sun doesn’t have that type of grip over Java. They have a commercial lock-in on the platform side by giving you a do-or-die option (GPL or Commercial License) but beyond that, if you are simply deploying solutions on the platform, Sun has no leverage over you any longer and you are free to innovate right past Sun’s control.

An example might be Linux in this regard. IBM, RedHat, Oracle and a few other big powerhouses all rely on Linux for their company strategies and while it serves as the platform for their technology stacks, Linux (the community, Linus or otherwise) have zero leverage or garuntee of benefit from that relationship. Linux in this case is irrelevant, no one is getting rich off of it, no one controls it and no one can. The gelatenous mass that is “Linux” has no leverage over itself or against these companies if it wanted, it’s a brain-dead participant in the server-stack-war that is being dragged along for the ride because it allows itself to be.

Won’t Sun share this same fate as Java advances and continues to become a platform for platforms. Spring with Groovy, RedHat with Python, IBM with what… PHP? Let’s give Oracle Ruby then (all hypotheticals)… at this point all the big boys now have their own “secret sauce”, it’s all rehosted on Java, Sun has no control over these new Next Big Thing(tm) and it’s platform will just get dragged along for the ride in the form of OpenJDK, ontop of Linux, hosting some proprietary solution that is made relevant by the huge backing force behind it.

We are likely going to see a resurgance of programming-language wars starting up soon as each company picks it mascot, builds tools around it, integration platforms for it and starts pushing their solution as God’s Honest Truth. The question won’t be “Java, Ruby, PHP?” it will be “IBM, RedHat, Oracle… Spring?”

Everything goes in cycles, we did this a decade ago, we’re bound to do it again.

(Original Article)


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Riyad Kalla.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


David Gilbert replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 1:43pm

Eclipse began this trend by completely invalidating the Swing UI stack in the JDK...

"Completely invalidating"?  I'd like some of what you're smoking!

Seriously, when you write stuff like that the credibility of your whole post goes down a *lot*.

Andrej Koelewijn replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 2:30pm

What a nonsense. You're afraid that java will become as irrelevant as linux? Because nobody gets rich of it and nobody controls it?

Yes, linux is very irrelevant. It's used in phones, navigation devices, televisions, pvr's, etc, etc. Millions of devices are running on Linux, and you call it irrelevant?

Thousands of programmers are employed because they know linux, how to manage it, how to develop for it, and how to enhance it. And you say they don't benefit from linux?

Cheaper computers/laptops/netbooks/devices are made possible because linux is cheaper and consumers do not benefit?

Steve Perkins replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 2:41pm

  1. There sure are some WTF?!? whoppers in this article on the technical side.  For instance, I don't get how Eclipse has "invalidated" Swing for desktop app development.  For one thing, Java has never been all that "valid" for desktop apps in the first place, no matter which GUI framework you look at!  Secondly, almost all of the Eclipse/SWT apps I see out there are just specialized IDE's.  I wish that the Java community could have a proper flamewar over desktop app standards, but unfortunately that's just an argument over who's the lesser loser.
  2. Most of this article focuses on how Sun's control of the core language spec is made less relevant by frameworks like Spring, and alternative JRE-targets like Groovy.  Excellent topic, but how does that warrant a misleading "Is Java Becoming Irrelevant?" flamebait title?  It sounds like the proper title would be, "Is Sun Becoming Irrelevant?".  A larger ecosystem around Java and the JRE might de-emphasize certain debates over the core spec (e.g. should we add closures?), but hardly seems to signal a decline of the platform in the enterprise.
  3. This article illustrates why programmers shouldn't play armchair financial analysts.  What is the relevance of this company's stock "hovering around 18", and that company's stock "balancing around 80"?  This is the kind of fundamental financial ignorance that calls Google "expensive" because it's hundreds of dollars a share, and other stocks "cheap" because they're in the teens.  Apples and oranges... raw share prices are irrelevant in a vacuum!  They're just a product of a company's total market value, divided by the number of shares outstanding (which varies wildly). 

    For a more useful view, look at a company's P/E ratio... which in a nutshell measures how expensive a stock is relative to how much actual profit they're making (the lower the number, the "cheaper" a stock in relative to its value).  RedHat is currently between 25-30, which is on the high side but not insane.  Oracle is around 15, which is pretty reasonable for a growth tech company.  IBM is in single-digits, which puts it in conservative Old Economy territory.  Sun is NaN, because they currently have no profits at all. 

    The takeaway?  Yes, Sun is struggling... but all the other major players in the Java ecosystem are solid (relative to the overall market, anyway).  If Sun ultimately collapsed, you would probably see them acquired as the newest IBM division.  The enterprise market is generally divided into "Microsoft" and "Not Microsoft", with Java being the flagship of the latter.  There's just too much money invested in that camp, and no alternative standard to be found anywhere on their horizon.  If you start to see the IBM's and Oracle's rally to some new common flag, then it would be time for concern (sorry, Ruby, you're nowhere near there yet).  Until then, the reality is simply that Java is far bigger than Sun itself ever will be.

Michael Bien replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 3:35pm

yea..., exactly... lets start porting the internet to VB. I am sure they have a better performing stock anyway....

sorry, couldn't resist. it seems to be trendy to bash others. There are fewer and fewer good technical blogs around and more and more soap operas.

Riyad Kalla replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 5:29pm in response to: Andrej Koelewijn


"irrelevant" in the "business has to make a profit" sense, the article starts with the news of Sun's 6000-person layoff and falling shares.

Not "irrelevant" meaning "not important", these things are all very important - from the technical perspective.

This was a business article, not a technical-merits-who's-important-one.

Riyad Kalla replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 5:38pm in response to: Steve Perkins

Steve, thanks for the comments.

1. I would argue this point pretty heavily. Most of the folks here on JL are familiar with the Eclipse platform in the form of the IDEs it takes, but that makes up a small portion of the applications that are shipped on Eclipse. When you get on the Eclipse-consulting side of things you get a bit more insight into all the other applications and deployments of Eclipse outside of the dev space.


2. That's an interesting point, unfortunately the statement "Sun is irrelevant" is a much wider net... I have no idea what Sun's income from it's server-platform look like, it might be thriving with that and enterprise Solaris installs... I really don't know, so I couldn't speak to Sun. I would also clarify that Java *is* becoming irrelevant, it's no longer becoming a decision point (just like Linux)... it *is* the choice, there is no debate, the debate is now becoming which *stack* you choose ontop of it. That is where RedHat, Spring, IBM and however else brings their own platform to the table ontop of Java.

You can tell when something becomes irrelevant when it is just assumed... it's just assumed if you are going to ship a server stack you'll probably do it on Linux... if you are going to ship an enterprise server solution it's *probably* on Java (atleast for all those big companies I mentioned) etc. etc... there is no value in Java, the value is going to come from what these folks do *ontop* of Java.

This is a lot like making a car... you don't argue the values of plastics anymore (like you might have back in the 70s and 80s), you already *know* half your car is going to be plastic, there is no value in it, you don't put it on a brochure "Has more plastic!", you just know you need it, and are going to use it. Your value will come from other things you build on it.

(Just to clarify I mean business value... sales value... income value... not technical value).


3. ... this is exactly my point. Java (assuming you aren't deploying on Microsoft) is a forgone conclusion, the future competition of languages and these technology companies won't come from a stronger foothold in the Java camp, but from created value most likely brought forth by some advancements in JVM-hosted dynamic languages.

Riyad Kalla replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 5:39pm in response to: Michael Bien

Sorry for the confusion, this wasn't a technical post; it's a business post.

ff aaa replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 8:22pm

terrible article.

Manjuka Soysa replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 9:21pm

I stopped reading after 'completely invalidating the Swing UI stack'

Riyad Kalla replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 10:21pm in response to: Manjuka Soysa


Sorry to hear that, there is quite a bit more in there.

Jess Holle replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 10:51pm in response to: Manjuka Soysa

I stopped reading after 'completely invalidating the Swing UI stack'

As well you should.  SWT was at the time a good swift kick in Sun's pants to improve Swing.

Since that point Sun has dramatically improved Swing and SWT seems to have no reason for continued existence -- except to help ensure that some of us will never ever choose Eclipse as our RCP of choice because it effectively requires learning and using a non-standard, niche GUI toolkit.

Delivering a separate set of native libraries on every platform above and beyond what the JRE already does just to get a 2D GUI?  That may be okay for some things but is totally unworkable for many others. There's no reason to use an API with such baggage when Swing works quite nicely today and is built in to the JRE.

I'd have to say SWT actually helped me decide to try other IDEs prior to Eclipse as well -- as I wanted something I could extend using the same GUI APIs I use everywhere else.

Steve Perkins replied on Sat, 2008/11/15 - 11:31pm

Just an FYI... Java actually represents a relatively tiny portion of Sun's revenue.  The lion's share of Sun's revenue still comes from Solaris (being eaten alive by Linux) and hardware sales (being eaten alive by commodity Intel racks).  I've never really understood exactly how Sun makes any licensing revenue from Java, but that's apparently the closest thing to a growth segment as they have!

It's a shame, because Sun has probably the best engineers in the industry and comes up with some amazing technology.  Their problems are more on the management and marketing side.  I'm not just referring to the insanity of having a "Java 2" that is "Version 6" with an actual release number of "1.6".  I'm talking about the big-picture miscalculations... like several years back when they were arguing that "The Network Is The Computer!", that dumb-terminals were going to make a comeback, and that people didn't need a big expensive PC on every desk.  It turns out that people prefer their own PC, rather than a dumb-terminal that's totally dependant on a Sun server (shocking!).  I roll my eyes in the same manner when I hear about "grid computing", "the cloud", and other such terms that never live up to the hype financially.  Sure... thin clients, outsourced hosting, and all these other things find their niche in the market... but they never seem to take over the world in the way Sun bets the farm on. 

Another big miscalculation was being so slow and resistant to warm up to the open source community.  Most of the concerns they had (freeloaders, loss of control) never quite play out in reality.  By way of comparison... sure, there are plenty of freeloaders who use CentOS linux rather than commercial RedHat.  However, almost all those people are folks who wouldn't have bought a RedHat license anyway, so RedHat isn't REALLY losing any money.  Moreover, if a CentOS box blows up, it doesn't hurt RedHat's reputation because it's seen as a freeloader knock-off.  A large company doesn't really lose control when others fork its product, because large enterprises always want the perceived safety of "the name"... and with Solaris or Java, the name is still owned and controlled by Sun.  As a practical matter, opening up source is just a P.R. move... hackers and freeloaders play around with niche forks, but enterprises with actual cash continue to do business with the trunk.  Despite Solaris being an arguably better OS than Linux, it's probably too late for it to regain its lost market share... and time will soon tell whether Sun waited to long to get the GPL ball rolling with Java.

Last but not least, despite Sun cranking out absolutely brilliant technology, the problems that it solves just doesn't fit the direction that the industry is moving.  Their midrange hardware is great, and Solaris handles multi-threaded applications like no other OS... but good does all that really do you when shops are moving away from the big iron and toward racks of clustered Linux boxes on cheap Intel chips?  Sun is still geared up for the world of 10 years ago when hardware was a luxury, and is ill-equipped to compete in today's world of Asian sweatshops where hardware is a commodity.  

I love Sun to death, I really do.  Java has been my professional livelihood for over a decade now.  Solaris is the best commercial UNIX out there.  I love OpenOffice, and MySQL is my database of choice for personal development and internal projects.  They're doing cool things with GlassFish.  They've even whipped NetBeans into shape (finally!) such that I'm almost ready to drop Eclipse.  But all that said, I just don't see a path on the horizon for those guys to make money.  I'm not worried about what that means for Java, because Java is much bigger than Sun.  However, I do worry that the industry would be a less innovative and less cool place without Sun around... and I hope they figure out a business strategy to get back in the black and stay independent.  

Riyad Kalla replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 12:31am


After seeing a series of comments here and over at DZone, there are a few key points I want to clarify... clarify the hell out of:

  • Java's irrelevancy, as claimed by this article, does not mean Java is not important or Java is bad... in fact it actually makes the opposite assertion. Java is so universally accepted that it's a foregon conclusion. This article is not about Java or not Java, it's about "Ok, we all have Java... who's going to control the next step up ontop of the Java platform?"
  • This is not a SWT/Swing article... if you got hung up on that single detail please keep reading beyond that. I may have used the wrong example in that sentence (too sensitive), but it still stands.
  • The assessment of SWT invaliding Swing earlier and Eclipse invalidating bigger portions of the JDK is not a technology-war-statement... companies looking to spend millions in an R&D budget on both product apps as well as internal tool development cannot look away from the blinding light that is the Eclipse space.
  • The application platform is what people want, they don't care Swing, SWT, JFace, FlergUI... it doesn't matter, they need solutions and others are providing them. Things like super-packages, modularized JDK, JavaFX... that's great, but companies with money don't care - the developers at JavaLobby care, the developers at some of these companies may care at an individual level, but I doubt AIG is going to launch investment management tools on core Java once JavaFX and superpackages launch... or Bank of America will re-author it's banking machine software on Swing because one of their devs things it's "way better now that SWT came out and kicked it into gear"... bah, these project leads at these companies have to minimize risk - why do you think companies like IBM still make $4000/seat for RAD? It's not because developers are stupid.
This may very well be my fault for writing a business article on JavaLobby that sounds a lot like the beginning of every other technology war that ever started here... it's not. Big companies will never stop strugling to find new strategies to lock people into their application and hardware stack; we haven't experienced that in the Java world for a while now, but we are about to see a resurgance of it.  I look forward to any comments folks have about the business case for/against this.


Otengi Miloskov replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 12:42am

Java is here to stay, Everybody knows. Thousand of companies have invested in Java as Cobol or C++. All this articles about Java are just FUD and Trolls feeding up.

We need better articles in Javalobby with facts.


Riyad Kalla replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 1:45am in response to: Otengi Miloskov


That was the point of the article... the decision of "Java or Not?" is not even an issue any more, Java *is* the platform for what comes next.

This article is a look at *what* is coming next.

Andrej Koelewijn replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 3:36am in response to: Riyad Kalla


I was giving you business examples about why linux is a relevant choice.

Good Open source in my opinion means that not one single company decides the future of a product. Instead, open source means a lot of companies can collaborate on a software base. This means that they all invest a little to get a lot. Shared investment.

This allows them to focus on the parts that are relevant to them: pvr functionality, netbook ui, navigation functionality, phone functionality, etc. This means there's more innovation with less investment. You can innovate on top of an existing proven base. And you have the freedom to innovate, you can change whatever you want, not limited by a mother company that tells you what can be done with software you bought and what not.

Riyad Kalla replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 10:02am in response to: Andrej Koelewijn


I understood your point, it just wasn't the point of the article. I was discussing how Java is going to become the platform for platforms of the future and how these big companies cannot make a profit directly off it it and what their strategy might be for their *next steps*... and from that you wanted to argue the open source strategy benefits of Java and Linux. These are two separate things... completely separate.

As far as what *you* are saying, I agree 100%... you are actually rephrasing exact portions of my article... you mention that once people choose Linux they compete on a different level, wether that be the UI or services level ontop of the OS. That is exactly my point about Java, these companies are going to begin competeing at a new level ontop of Java; the trick for them is to figure out what the next level is and control it, so they can turn a profit with it... just like Motorola has done with it's custom mobile OS ontop of Linux or RedHat does with it's custom Linux distro ontop of the base Fedora/Cent platform or how Oracle does the same thing.

Łukasz Langa replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 2:47pm

Riyad, this word "irrelevant" you're using. I don't think it means what you think it means. And that's the main problem with your article.

Mark Unknown replied on Sun, 2008/11/16 - 7:55pm in response to: Jess Holle


because it effectively requires learning 


Not really. SWT/JFace is much like Swing.  And if you want to use Swing you can still do it with Eclipse RCP - http://www.triomii.com/


Jeroen Wenting replied on Tue, 2008/11/18 - 1:26am

ah. Away for 2 weeks and one of the first posts I see is the obligatory "Java iz ded" post.
2 of them in face. It's as if I've never been away.

There's been these postings here and elsewhere at least once a week (and usually more often) for the last decade or more, it's not happened yet.

Andrej Koelewijn replied on Tue, 2008/11/18 - 2:20am

I guess the author really meant to say:

Java is a commodity, not a Unique Selling Proposition.

Riyad Kalla replied on Tue, 2008/11/18 - 10:15am in response to: Andrej Koelewijn


That's a very good way of stating the first part of the article, the 2nd part (and point) is a look at what strategies these big boys may begin to use to get their kung-fu grip on the market; none of it involving control over Java (hence the 'irrelevancy' word).

Riyad Kalla replied on Tue, 2008/11/18 - 10:17am in response to: Jeroen Wenting


I'd recommend reading the article in it's entirety... or any of my comments, it's not a "Java is dead" article, far from it. It's more of a "Java is *here to stay*, but what's next and who's leading?"article.

I did find that 92% of people reading never made it past the title because they got so wriled up... next time I'll choose softer language; I think my choice of titles was too trite.

Slava Imeshev replied on Wed, 2008/11/19 - 12:57pm

Horrible article. If you make a statement, be so kind to support it or keep quiet.


Slava Imeshev


Riyad Kalla replied on Wed, 2008/11/19 - 1:09pm in response to: Slava Imeshev


Which part specifically was horrible? I did support it... quite a bit, what I didn't see support for was why it's apparently "horrible"?

Slava Imeshev replied on Wed, 2008/11/19 - 1:54pm

It is horrible because it is pointless. Alright, I will simplify it: What is the point of your post?


Riyad Kalla replied on Wed, 2008/11/19 - 2:04pm in response to: Slava Imeshev


This is why this story was voted down so much... no one took the time to read it because they got mad as soon as they saw the words "Java" and "irrelevant" in the same sentence.

The point of the article is explained, in detail, in the article. And then clarified 9 more times in every one of my comments that followed it up.

It's brilliant that you have refused to read any of it, are incensed, and demand a 10th clarification. I have a sneaking suspicious I could write a book here, clarifying my point, and your reply would be something along the lines of "you are an idiot" - so I'll just skip the long clarification and you call me an idiot and we'll be done with it ;)

David Gilbert replied on Thu, 2008/11/20 - 3:16am in response to: Riyad Kalla

[quote=rkalla]This is why this story was voted down so much... no one took the time to read it because they got mad as soon as they saw the words "Java" and "irrelevant" in the same sentence.[/quote]

Riyad - I read your article right through, three times, and all your clarifications.  I'd still vote it down.  I think I "get" what you were trying to say, which one of the other commenters pinpoints quite well:


I guess the author really meant to say:

Java is a commodity, not a Unique Selling Proposition.


But somehow you managed to take that positive and spin it into a negative story about Sun and Java (the current band-wagon), and pepper it with rubbish like "If there is a pending invalidation of the platform..." (WTF?) and "Eclipse began this trend by completely invalidating the Swing UI stack in the JDK with the introduction of both SWT/JFace and the Eclipse platform itself..." (more WTF?).

You keep defending your article, but I think you'd do better to simply acknowledge that you got it wrong and move on.  The article IS rubbish.


Riyad Kalla replied on Thu, 2008/11/20 - 9:36am in response to: David Gilbert


We'll have to agree to disagree. To clarify my point on Swing (I understand why you are hung up on this), Swing didn't loose to SWT because of any functionality or design metrics or because it wasn't a truly native LNF or because it was "slow" (it's not), Swing lost to SWT because Swing, JDK and Sun could not provide a end-to-end solution like the Eclipse platform to implementors.

From a *business* perspective, there is no value to Swing for me, the community, energy, resources and value behind Eclipse is incredible. I can get my team trained up on platform development and their work will be completely relevant for future projects (assuming we are all doing app dev... what is coming in E4 is yet to be seen). For me to take that same money and train my devs up in Swing is a gamble.

I don't care that NetBeans is a platform that only 1 company backs, you cannot compare it to Eclipse. The money and drive behind Eclipse (not the comitters, I mean the commercial-dollar-commitments) is unparalleled right now; in large part to the Eclipse Foundation doing a great job running that effort.

So this isn't an "in the trenches" discussion about the merits of a UI framework - that doesn't matter at all. We have to look at the bigger picture.

Ok so now that we beat that 1 example to death, I hope the rest of the article makes a bit more sense. Athen did a great summarization of the article over on JavaWorld and I think he couched the whole thing in a lot more accessible terms (not i18n, but just easier to digest ;) ), I don't know if reading it in his terms would help clarify that I'm not picking a fight at the micro/API level, I'm pointing out a potential shift in the storm clouds at the 10,000' level.

On a side note, regardless of wether we agree or not, Dave your work is appreciated by the whole community - current company included.

Manjuka Soysa replied on Thu, 2008/11/20 - 5:49pm

Riyad, you are doing it again. Do you have any figures on usage of SWT vs Swing?
The big turn-off for me was taking your opinion (Swing 'lost' to SWT) and presenting it as fact without backing it up. I have never used SWT, but have used Swing in many commercial and non-commercial projects. So if I was to write a similar article I would say SWT was a non-starter.

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