Dana Gardner recently did a post on ‘NetBeans maybe a hedge for ISVs…’. His post was based on a briefing he had with the NetBean’s folk. In the past, I have enjoyed a lot of Dana’s analysis but this post needs a bit of discussion. 🙂
I think the general thesis of his blog is that ‘if you want to develop in Java you have to use NetBeans.’ For me I just don’t see this as being true. The statement:
if you’re an Eclipse shop, to make sure you have a handle on NetBeans to ensure that you have an end-to-end Java strength (as that becomes finally possible) and while IBM walks away from Java on the client?
I just don’t see what part of end-to-end Java Eclipse doesn’t support? We support Swing, J2EE, EJB 3, Nokia is starting a J2ME project, etc. Also, I don’t see anyone walking away from Java on the client. At Eclipse we have a lot of people using Eclipse RCP to build end user applications for the desktop. I certainly don’t speak for IBM but in my mind their Workplace announcements are a strong endorsement of Java on the desktop; not walking away.
The next statement also touches upon the Eclipse support of different clients:
that need to hedge their bets by being able to move on a dime regardless of how the world plays out — fat client, rich client, thin client, no client — is NetBeans a risk reducer?
I think we have support for all of these. Fat client = Eclipse RCP with no update manager connectivity; Rich Client = Eclipse RCP (and it rocks :-)); thin client = check out the new proposal for AJAX tools; no client = Eclipse WTP. Not sure how NetBeans reduces the risk? In fact, I would add embedded clients, parallel computers, etc. I agree the world is a complex set of deployment targets, if you ask me Eclipse has a much wider support.
Another part of Dana’s blog has me thinking:
Is the common denominator of Java to NetBeans a strategic advantage that no one but Sun can manage and extend, and which is neither controlled by Microsoft nor IBM?
For me the strength of Java is the community. I believe Eclipse is an important part of the Java community and I like to think we add a lot of value. Lots of organizations are pushing forward the Java community, not just Sun. For everyone’s sake, I certainly hope this continues to be true.
The one thing I agree is that the SWT and Swing discussion misses the point. Lots of Eclipse users build Swing applications. I think this is great. They have chosen the technology that best meets their needs. SWT is an alternative technology that other people like and meets their needs. Choice is good. No?
So I really don’t see the hedge. The good news is that we have hundreds of ISVs that are happy members of the Eclipse community and we keep on growing. I don’t see anyone hedging. 🙂