Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Belated JavaPolis Roundup

This past week I had the good luck to be invited to speak at JavaPolis and while there, even for only 2 days of the weeklong event, amazing stuff seemed to be dropping out of the sky like rain.

My talk was in the first slot of the first day of training (before the official conference start), but despite the hour and the day, folks still came to hear about Dojo. Following me were Jonas Jacobi and John Fallows' talk on JSF+Dojo, but little did I know (until a half hour before they gave the talk) that they'd written a new Comet server from scratch for the talk, and it implements Bayeux! Their demo hooked a Dojo table and chart widget up to a set of Bayeux channels for updating stock prices. It's always fun to see everything on the screen update in unison.

The next day, some of the folks working on Phobos cornered me to show some of the server-side Dojo integration they've been working on. It's amazing to see JavaScript finally "getting there" on the server side, and I'm glad we can be a part of it.

Lastly, there was some spirited debate in the never-ending static vs. dynamic languages debate over dinner. Not sure I swayed anyone at the table, but there was a pretty strong dynamic languages contingent at the conference in general, which I wasn't expecting.

I was happy to hear that the Swing team at Sun is starting to really get that startup time and complexity really are significant limiting factors. To that end I started to throw together a very small dojo.widget.SwingWidget namespace and I was surprised at how simple it was to get things dynamically updating compared to earlier experiments with SWT. Desktop access and portable desktop UIs have always been the one place where dynamic languages fall down, so perhaps we really can make a difference with JavaScript + Dojo + Java in liberating desktop programmers. Swing programmers who are interested in seeing how deep this particular rabbit hole goes should get in contact with me...might make for some sexy demos of Java 6 if we can show that there's no external dependency chain and it's faster to develop in than Java.