Inside SWT

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The GUI world is a mess

It's no secret that the GUI world is a mess. It was bad on the desktop, but it's worse on the web. Products that have both a desktop and web presence need to build and maintain both. That's two messes instead of one.

Web and desktop applications, though maddeningly similar, have certain key differences. First off, there are two fundamental types of web applications. The first and the majority, are traditional hyperlink-based applications. They provide access to remote content using the familiar "document browsing" web metaphor. The second and the new breed, are desktop-like applications that create and manipulate complex content. They use the familiar "stay in the same window" desktop metaphor. Hybrids of the two are possible.

Desktop-like web applications, especially AJAX ones, are difficult to build, debug and maintain. That's why there is such excitement over things like web spreadsheets and word processors that, while functional, are so basic they would be laughed off the desktop.

This concludes today's edition of: Stating the Obvious.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back to work!

Ok, so now it's September, the vacations are over we are on the hook for both Eclipse 3.5 and e4 work. The planning is coming to an end soon and the work is about to begin (not that people haven't been working all along).

For SWT, there are lots of fun and interesting things going on. The cocoa port will be real. My old friend Scott Kovatch of Adobe and Apple fame is working with us daily, not just submitting patches but owning and implementing entire areas. For those of you watching the last little while, the cocoa port is classic SWT. Hack, get a pile of code working, step back, evaluate, refactor, fix the tools, hack, get a pile of code working, step back, evaluate, refactor ...

I'm hoping to get back to blogging more regularly. Not that you care, but it's always fun when I say something stupid, like "The worst platform in the world is Mozilla", the subject of my next post.