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Computational Annoyances
posted Thursday June 24, 2004 @ 14:32 by bigass Rants

I know that I'm always talking about tech stuff which draws a fine line between those who care (or want to learn) and those who don't understand a word coming out of my mouth (er, keyboard?). But this is something that people who use or design software should know about, in short.. stay away from Java...

I've never been one who enjoys the 'Java Experience'. It reminds me too much of production systems written in Oracle Forms/PL. Generally speaking, it's my opinion that Java is a clunky, temperamental, poorly abstracted 'environment' for lazy programmers to write inefficient byte code. Really though, I'm not biased.

It's bad enough that I might have to endure webpages from time to time that use this 'environment' to display stupid little widgets, views and crappy games. But then imagine having to use it to run a program that you actually use on a daily basis. This is where I was coming from before my latest painful foray into JRE hell.

I've been using Azereus (bittorrent client) for about a month now, off and on. The application itself (GUI / Logic / Protocol implementation) is very good. Add to this a plugin architecture that provides useful functionality like SafePeer blocking and content distribution and it's a winning combination. But wouldn't you know it that the damn thing is written in Java.

There's an infinitely small chance that someone either from Sun or the Azereus team is reading this post, but if they are, here are some suggestions.

If you have an autoupdate routine please ensure it works, or at the bare minimum ensure that it fails gracefully. Let me define graceful as not popping up into a death loop and prompting me to download the same 3.3mb update every time I open the program. If the manual update process is as simple as replacing a .JAR file, then don't make the 'auto' update any more complicated. That said, my installation has been borked every single time a minor update has been detected by the client. It is literally less work for me to download and save the new JAR file from sourceforge, overwriting the old one than it is in trying to debug your shitty autoupdate routine for you. Really though, not as much your fault as it is with the Java architecture, which is why I will not use even great applications written in this absolutely horrible architecture. I'm sure it has to do with the fact that my version of SWT, JAR, or some obscure pathname/ini/dat/bat file isn't set or my minor JRE revision code is .9783 when it should be .29733.

Silly me.

Here's my shortlist:
1. Use one version number, say JRE 3.0. None of this 'Sun Java Webstart JRE Plugin English v1.3.245.33 win32 Windows XP'

2. Have this simply versioned JRE platform be able to run everything back to version 1.0 (or thereabouts). There's absolutely no good reason that I should have to install 4 different 'environments' to run 4 different programs, all written using build-sensitive functionality (eg. Encryption, File I/O and Network I/O).

3. Error messages: unless I'm the developer, I don't need 3 pages full of stack dump, loaded modules, fault lines, debug information and a recipe to a really tasty Greek salad (I'll take your word for it!). And even if you were going to include it for the developers to track errors, even they probably can't decipher what it means. If the program fails, simply tell me (the end user) so. If I want to see the errors, give me a verbose option or log it to file. That's what every other normal program does, Java should be no exception (har har, pun intended).

4. Get/Supply some decent widgets. 1990 just called, they want their default UI components back. Seriously, it's painfully obtuse trying to get anything done using these typically basic SDK type GUIs. Granted this isn't exactly a problem with the architecture, as much as the developers. But if 50% of developers are going to rip off the SDK, atleast make the SDK look appealing.

5. I don't need another environment. I already have several environments that are working just fine, they run programs natively and display webpages without stack dumping because I looked at them the wrong way or because I don't have a setting 'just so'.

6. Check to see if someone is trying to write something mission critical in Java and slap them if so. Without fail, anything organizationally important that is written in Java has failed or refused to run on basic client configurations for me at one time or another. Creating public keys for key demand side and real time power industry network management at an enterprise level? Don't freaking do it in Java!

Whew. Don't get me started.

posted by Powell on Thursday June 24, 2004 @ 17:10:

Too long, didnt read it...could I get a summation? ;-p

posted by wolf on Thursday June 24, 2004 @ 18:04:

ya, short and to the point: FUCK JAVA

posted by R2K on Thursday June 24, 2004 @ 22:50:

are there coles notes for that novel

posted by wolf [website] on Thursday June 24, 2004 @ 23:07:

actually there is, visit the webiste link in my comment post.

posted by biig [website] on Friday June 25, 2004 @ 09:41:

Hahahaha, that's going to be my new avatar image!

posted by theferg on Saturday June 26, 2004 @ 13:19:

Heres a summation of my bad day at work "I got bit by a cat today" (sad face).
Heres a summation of Biig's bad day: "Ahhh blah blah Java is a stupid architecture program, all my bits and widgets are fucked, the platform is backward, my SWT is less than sufficient LOL, the environment is polluted with revision code and the SDK does NOT look appealing" (mad face).
Dude - JAVA IS NOT LISTENING! Stop being such a computer nerd! :)

posted by wolf on Saturday June 26, 2004 @ 17:59:

wow, steph talking puter language is wicked.

posted by biig on Sunday June 27, 2004 @ 12:37:

haha, damn that was HOT!

posted by Powell on Wednesday June 30, 2004 @ 14:12:

*shakes head at Biig*

posted by wolf on Sunday August 1, 2004 @ 19:14:

wow look at all the people coming to this news article from google, rock on!

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