Live from LA: Java for .NET. . .for real?

Lamont Adams is back with an assortment of recent thoughts and impressions. See how he feels about a Java to .NET compiler, X-Windows emulation, and stupid sports stars.

I think that if Sun got behind some kind of an effort to build a .NET-compliant compiler for Java, like Savannah or JILC, it might just have a way to turn around Microsoft’s “embrace, extend, and destroy” strategy and use it against them. Although it wouldn’t be easy, it shouldn’t be impossible to pull something like this off, certainly as a bytecode-to-IL compiler or even as an IL emitter back end for javac. Heck, it’s already been done with Eiffel and Python, and Perl got halfway there.

Think about it: Leverage Microsoft’s stranglehold on the desktop computer, which will eventually include the .NET runtime anyway, to provide a seamless, download-free, Java experience for the home user. For that matter, I’m not sure I ever understood the reluctance to provide native compilation as an option for Java apps, but that’s another debate.

Where’d the mobile go?
I think I’m amazed by how few of you appear to be doing any development with J2ME, based on our technology use survey results. Only 8.5 percent of members have ever touched J2ME, and only around 15 percent were interested in future content on the subject. I’ve messed around with developing mobile applications in the past, on Palm OS mostly, and believe me, J2ME represents a big step forward from what I had to go through in those days. Sure, enabled phones only recently began coming out, but I refuse to believe that the only people using this stuff are making samurai fighting games for Sprint PCS. So, please clue me in here—what gives?

I code when I want
I think NFL football star Randy “I play when I want” Moss should be put away for a long time for pushing a traffic control officer down the street with his car while in the process of making an illegal turn. I can think of a few people I’d like to push around with my car, but I’m grounded well enough in the real world not to do it. I know, this thought is supposed to be about development, but the stupidity on the part of obscenely rich professional athletes (and their continuing impunity) never ceases to amaze me. I’ll try not to let these rants happen too often.

Visual Studio .NET bloopers and practical jokes
I think the example of Visual Studio .NET’s code hinting gone terribly wrong (Figure A) is going to eventually drive me crazy. Why is it that typing a comma in a C# string literal invokes the method argument help features of IntelliSense? It's obviously not mistakenly assuming that I’m specifying another argument, since the next argument in the list doesn’t get bolded.

Figure A
IntelliSense losing its mind

I usually find IntelliSense extremely useful and unobtrusive, but I turn it off now when I’m doing console programming because the thing gives me a splitting headache in under five minutes. While I’m thinking about it, why is it that, even though I’ve seen it a thousand times, I still do a double take when it happens?

In a slightly related thought, if you haven’t had a chance to play with Visual Studio .NET, which, my grousing aside, is the finest Windows IDE available today, there’s a 60-day trial version available.

Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
I think I’m confused by what I see here, which appears to be an X-Windows server, for Windows; a very good, critically acclaimed one in fact. Using it, you can run X apps on Windows with a minimum of hassle. Now, pardon me for being so dense, but why would you want something like this? I mean, I can understand the drive to port some of the more popular Windows productivity apps (like, say, Quake III or Civilization) to run on X, or more specifically Linux, but I can’t see the logic in the reverse. I can’t grasp why you’d want to run X apps on Windows itself. Looks like it might help this member, though.

I like getting feedback
Hey, you, behind the monitor. Let me know what’s been rattling around in your head: Send me an e-mail.


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