some big development decisions to be made

Sat, Dec 4, 2010

Although I don’t develop Java applications for OS X, I do use OS X as my development platform of choice as it’s such a smooth and reliable OS and the fact that Apple have always been a version behind the main JDK release has never bothered me. It’s a trade off I’m willing to make, to be able to develop on such a great platform. However, I suppose this day had to come, when Apple announced they are no longer providing Java after Snow Leopard (10.6). There’s also a nice precise of the decision here. It looks like the best Java IDE around, IntelliJ IDEA may not run on future versions of OS X which will mean I’ll have to think about using another OS for developing Java systems. Linux? It’s possibly the worst desktop experience I’ve ever had so that leaves Windows as the only option. Run Windows on a VM in OS X? No point. Why spend so much on a MacBook just to run Windows? Just buy a cheap laptop and keep the rest of your cash for loads of memory and virus scanners.

Moving to Windows would be a productivity nightmare although no doubt I’d prolly get used to it, again, as I used to develop Windows printer drivers but the Mac is just so good at the whole user experience thing plus it has a unix backend which meshes perfectly with what I do. Moving back to Windows after almost 10 years on OS X would be very very difficult. On the one hand, it seems like yet more “get orf my laaaand” vitriol from Steve Jobs, in much the same manner he treats Flash but on the other, they do have a point. If Oracle can’t be arsed providing an OS X port, why should Apple? Oracle are too busy suing Google to actually bother with Java it seems to me.

Java is in a bit of a mess at the moment, now that Oracle are throwing their weight around and I really don’t know where it’s going. I’ve no plans to develop for Android as the iOS range of devices is streets ahead of it in just about every way so I expect I’ll need a Mac to continue to develop iPhone/iPad apps but I’d really like to still be able to develop Java systems, not for OS X but on OS X. The combination of a unix backend, superb front end and IDEA is the best solution by far for my Java development needs.

So come on Apple. Please keep shipping the JDK!

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