John Gruber linked [1, 2] to two articles by Paul Kim and Terrence Talbot about Java, following Steve Jobs’ remark about it not being worth building into the iPhone. I foolishly went to read them, not realising that I was being caught into a Fractal Linking Cascade, ending in my reading of five rather long articles on the subject. I don’t regret it, though, because they were really interesting.
Here they are in reverse chronological order:
Imagine this: IFC looked a helluvalot like AppKit, in Java. No AWT. And it came with a friggin’ Interface Builder!
In the spirit of these articles, I’d like to tell a story, one that many have not heard and that, after all these years, should be told. It’s a story not only about what was, but about what might have been.
Me, I defected long ago. I’m another of those Apple Java engineers who dropped out. I spent five years as a raving Java fanboy, but I gave up after optimizing AWT, implementing drag and drop, and trying to make 1,200 pages of crappy APIs do the right thing on the Mac. Then I took a one-week Cocoa training course, and wrote the first prototype of iChat.
Damn, that stings a bit, doesn’t it? If I were an executive at Apple and over the last 10 years I haven’t really seen a compelling end product come out of all that work on Java, not to mention haggling with Sun over licensing terms the whole time, I’d be casting a skeptical eye as well.
Over the years Sun has played hardball with Apple over Java. While Sun has built the runtime for Solaris, Windows, and Linux, Apple has had to build and tune the Java runtime for the Mac while paying a heavy licensing fee for the privilege of doing Sun’s work for them.
And here in my order of interest. I recommend you at least read Jens Alfke’s post.