Who likes JDeveloper and who pooh-poohs?

Jan Vervecken started a recent thread on the OTN JDeveloper Forum entitled, “The forgotten Java IDE?” It’s quickly garnered a lot of replies (57 at the current count!). It’s lead me to do some thinking and some researching around the Web.

To paraphrase both Blondie aka “the man with no name” (Clint Eastwood) and Tuco (Eli Wallach) as they were wont to say in my all-time favorite movie, “There are two types of people in the world my friend, those who like JDeveloper, and those who pooh-pooh it.” Well, the world is more complex than that, but it seems to be the case that a given person either loves JDeveloper, or thinks it’s completely useless and irrelevant. Can both types of people be talking about the same thing?

In my experience on the OTN forums, at Java One, and from reading blogs and other Internet posts, I’ve been able to create some stereotypes of the two types of people, and gain some insight into the “why” of the stereotypes.

People who like JDeveloper tend to:

  • Already be Oracle customers
  • Have experience with 4GL languages, especially Oracle Forms
  • Use Oracle’s Application Development Framework (ADF)
  • Like the integrated SOA development tools in JDeveloper

People who pooh-pooh JDeveloper tend to:

  • Think of themselves as “hard-core” java programmers or “java gurus”
  • Dislike anything “proprietary,” and thus tend to discount ADF
  • Really like open source, “free” things (although, as a sidebar, my friend always used to say, “if it’s free, I can’t afford it”)

People who have traditionally used Oracle’s (quite good) 4GL tools like Oracle Forms tend to be able to jump right in to ADF, with some training of course, and work in JDeveloper in a familiar paradigm. For them, learning Java/J2EE in the context of doing a JDeveloper/ADF project, tends to be, “teach me the syntax” and, “learn the ADF framework.” All of the J2EE complexity is hidden under the covers of the ADF framework for these folks.

The hard-core java guys, on the other hand, want to fiddle with every bit and byte. Now, in my opinion, JDeveloper can do this just as well, if not better, than the other IDE’s out there (Eclipse, Netbeans, IntelliJ, etc); however, most of these folks already have an established IDE preference, and changing IDE’s is something that requires a conscious effort and reason to change. Thus, even though I really like JDeveloper, and think it’s a world-class IDE, and would like more people to use it (selfish reasons, I guess – I want to ensure that Oracle will always be putting lots of effort into new releases), I would say to this group of people, “keep using whatever you are using.” If you want a nice productive database development environment, or a nice BPEL development environment, come on over and take a look. Heck, I’d be willing to bet that most of the hard-core guys, if they would be willing to take an honest look at ADF, would find that there are some good things there for them.

As to which type of person am I… I’ve got some characteristics of both. I’ve done some Oracle Forms (mostly Forms 2.3 and Forms 3.0!) programming in my life. I actually got my start doing more hard-core C/C++ programming and did “hard-core” java before I got into ADF; so I guess I don’t fit the stereotypes I’ve laid out here.

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8 Responses to Who likes JDeveloper and who pooh-poohs?

  1. Hani Suleiman says:

    Interesting seeing JDeveloper guys spamming javablogs about their wonderful product, but I think this post is rather unfair to non-JDeveloper users. I commend you for correctly identifying the JDeveloper crowd (Oracle shops who are handcuffed to it with site licenses and so feel obliged to use everything ora), it’s unfair to label everyone else is a so-called ‘hardcore’ developer who likes wasting their time with pointless tinkering.

    Java developers still, regardless of all the advances, web frameworks, JSF hype, and ‘paint your code’ are still expected to write Java code. While you can find tools to do much of the plumbing for you, an IDE has to absolutely excel at the basics of Java editing before looking to any feature adds if it wants to capture any significant marketshare. Oracle’s focus (an entirely legitimate approach, incidentally) is to ignore straight up Java developers, and instead sell to the business/IT corporate level, where it’s easy to swamp the (usually clueless) buyer with buzzwords and the promise of having incompetent/immature/easy replaced/swapped developers do the work. It’s how IBM sells Websphere.

    Nothing wrong with that approach, and Websphere is great proof of that, in terms of financial success and market penetration. Lets not pretend that it’s the smart choice technically that any sane unbiased Java developer would make, nor insult those who choose (for obvious reasons, I should hope) to select a product based on its merit, not its brand or marketing.

  2. luc bors says:

    I recognize this…………According to the pooh-pooh crowd there’s only black and white.
    If only “they” gave “us” an honest chance.

    My experience is that about 5 or 6 years ago the “open source” community decided not to use Jdeveloper. That made sense because Jdev was a lousy tool. The last couple of years Oracle worked very hard to improve JDev and ADF, and now JDev and ADF is at the least as good as the “others”. However, I’m afraid it’s a litle late for that, bacause now we have to open up a very closed community (That is a very weird thing to say ;-) )

    I keep on trying………….

  3. aroyfaderman says:

    I agree. I’d like specifics about the way in which JDeveloper fails as a “pure-Java” IDE compared to other IDEs out there. (And no, you’re not just allowed to use “it’s not open,” since John already covered that case.)

    Me personally, I’m in a weird position. I think of myself as more of a Java developer than a 4GL developer, or even an Oracle developer, despite my preference for JDev as an IDE, but I learned 85% of my Java, and got 100% of my 4GL-type-development (and Oracle) exposure, learning to use or using JDeveloper and ADF (I’ve only been in IT about 9 years, all of them involved with JDeveloper–starting with 3.0–in some capacity or other). So I don’t really fit either list. But that’s probably pretty rare, so doesn’t really disprove the accuracy of John’s general observations.

  4. Jdev says:

    JDeveloper has weaknesses that other Java IDEs simply never had. Oracle should put more effort on fixing those rather then sending marketing bloggers over. Or even better move a better overthought and refreshed ADF to netbeans.

    First of all refactoring. Just simple renaming of classes, methods, ADF components and bindings. Should it really be a question in 2009 to correctly refresh ALL references? Common JDev guys, these are standard every-day workflows, that work in all other Java IDE. We passed 1999 a bit. Also change entity attribute type and check Datacontrols, bindings, ADF component. Is it really a workflow for hard-coding java gurus. Do not think so. Also try moving a simple class over projects. Class source is added to both projects instead of moving.

    ADF. Impressing components with AJAX. Underdocumented API (e.g. JUCtrlHierNodeBinding, DCDataRow) with missing generics and missing direct access to domain model, to much casts, overcomplicated way to get data though binding. This is against simplicity and not for it. Missing full declarativ concept for multiple action binding. Take a look how others are doing e.g. IceFaces. Might not be as impressive but clean architecture.

    ADF BC. Nice try. Bit out of time since EJB 3.0. At least introduce generics and clean up architecture. Even better offer a migration line to a real 4GL J2EE approach. Sure no need the current ADF BC for that.

    Do not worry about critics and let real discussion take place without internals writing official opinion against that looking like Jdev fans. Use critics and make better software!

  5. Jon says:

    Type in JDeveloper in Google image search and you see the dude with the rope around his head. LOL. Priceless.

  6. Get real says:

    I think you answered your own question “Java/J2EE in the context of doing a JDeveloper/ADF” (project). If you don’t do ADF, why would any Java developer want to use JDeveloper? Doing ADF on JDeveloper has very little to do with Java. AND that is what it’s supposed to do. Get Oracle forms developers productive in the next Oracle framework ,ADF,(which happens to generate Java)in the shortest amount of time.

  7. Neuquino says:

    I will tell you why JDeveloper and ADF sucks… It is impossible to use maven2 with them…
    If I could choose, I’d prefer Eclipse and any other JSF implementation (RichFaces, MyFaces, ICEFaces, etc)

  8. Hyangelo Hao says:

    ” JDeveloper can do this just as well, if not better, than the other IDE’s out there (Eclipse, Netbeans, IntelliJ, etc)”

    The idea that JDeveloper is better as an IDE/Code editor than the others(eclipse, etc) is laughable(at least until 11.1.2.0). Jdeveloper(11.1.1.4) on average consumes more than 1GB of ram even if I am only editing java code. And the amount of times it crashes(judging by the number of times I had to confront that exit, save and exit, do nothing dialog) is ridiculous.

    ADF is decent at least. ADFv is pretty good. ADFc is awesome. ADFm is..meh. I think stateful models, while it makes lots of things easier, is ultimately a dangerous choice performance wise.

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