Java ME has served me reasonably well as a platform to develop Hecl on over the years. It certainly has some problems, but it has two huge advantages: it’s everywhere, and it’s reasonably accessible, in that I can develop for it on Linux.
Lately, all the buzz has been about the iPhone, and Android, and this seems to be irritating the guys at Sun who are tasked with creating interest around Java ME. Some of what they’ve been putting out in response is pretty weak. Look at this:
Don’t they have better things to do than sitting around drawing dead Androids? Here are a few things that I can think of for them to be doing:
http://java.sun.com/javafx/downloads/ – No Linux version. This is supposed to be ‘the future’, but it all looks murky to me. What is it, exactly? Who will be running it? When can I get a phone?
Clarify what the deal with open source and Java is. I go here: http://www.sun.com/software/opensource/java/ and I see some stuff about open sourcing implementations, but it takes a lot of clicking to anything that looks like what I might actually want. I finally get to a phoneme thing, and that looks interesting, but kind of buried off in a corner.
Get out there and talk with developers. Google has several ‘developer advocates’ on Freenode’s #android irc channel, as well as various people involved in different aspects of the effort who drop by from time to time. #j2me is fairly quiet, and I’ve never seen hide nor hair of anyone from Sun.
Stop ragging on Android and iPhone. Be proud of what you’ve got, but realize that like everything out there, you can’t rest on your laurels. Talk about the cool things you’re doing, and spell it out clearly why I should be interested, or how it will make my life better.
Fix up your web sites. There are a ton of pages on Java ME and JFX and this that and the other thing. Make it clearer, simpler, more direct.
Here’s are a couple more “nyah nyah nyah” pieces. In this one he even quotes John “SCO has something on Linux” Dvorak:
They’re catching flack in the comments because of the attitude. The last post above is about how Google released a new Java ME version of their gmail application. Duh, of course they did; they want to make their stuff as widely available as possible, and no one disputes that Java ME is all over the place. But Sun can sit there and pat themselves on the back, or they can concentrate on what their vision of mobile programming for the future is. We know that Java ME is currently what’s out there, and widely deployed. Pointing that out with regards to what Google is shipping is pointless.
To be fair, there are plenty of posts are about interesting things they have going on, but there have been too many of these “mud slingers” about the competition, and it makes Sun look scared. Take the lead, show the stuff you’re working on, tell us when we can expect it, show us the source code, show us the vibrant community, tell us about the events. Also, admit your mistakes. Everyone makes them – the difference is in how you deal with them. Tell us how you’re going to improve stuff in the future so they won’t happen again.
Apple and Google have done some nice stuff with the iPhone and Android. If all Sun does is say nasty things about platforms that a lot of people are clearly interested in and like, it looks like they’re out of touch with reality. The reality is that Sun does have good tech and good people, but they need to do a more effective job with what they have, and push a more positive message about what they’re doing.