A Year of Stuff - The Ugly Stuff

This is the final entry in my “A year of stuff - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” series. Unfortunately, there’s only one thing which I feel is ugly enough (I don’t know where to lay the blame for it) to fit in here.

And that’s support of Java 5 (or 1.5, or whatever Sun are calling it nowadays) on the Mac. The situation is that Java 5 is not available on the Mac at all, and is not expected until the release of Tiger (which is scheduled for release at some point in “the first half of 2005”). When Tiger does arrive, it’s believed that it will be the only version of OSX which will be allowed to use it. This is annoying. Whilst hardly anyone is producing Java 5 applications currently, many people are using this time to learn what new advantages Java 5 has to offer. The lack of a Java 5 development facility on OSX could be said to be forcing Java developers who wish to stay at the head of the curve to switch to other systems (at least temporarily) until Apple releases a Java 5 SDK.

This directly affects me because my university has decided to standardise on Java 5 for this academic year. Whether this is a good or bad decision is academic (ha), but the fact is that they made that decision. I can develop Java 5 applications on the Windows and Linux boxes that I have available to me, but not on my iBook. This causes my iBook to be of less use to me than it otherwise would.

Of course, if Sun chose to develop a version of their SDK for Macs as well as Windows, Linux and Solaris versions which it does support, then we’d have Java 5 support on the Mac already. But it doesn’t, and Apple have decided to tie Java support into Tiger - meaning that Mac based Java Developers will be between 4 and 9 months behind the curve by the time Tiger rears its head. I’ll be purchasing a copy of Tiger as soon as it does appear primarily for this reason, but I won’t be happy about it.

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workingwith.me.uk is a resource for web developers created by Neil Crosby, a web developer who lives and works in London, England. More about the site.

Neil Crosby now blogs at The Code Train and also runs NeilCrosby.com, The Ten Word Review and Everything is Rubbish.