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.