Enterprise Software

Adobe lead charge for a Java SWT port to Apple's Cocoa

Reports out of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference this week indicate a port of Java SWT(Standard Widget Toolkit) to Mac OS X Cocoa is being readied.

Reports out of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference this week indicate a port of Java SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) to Mac OS X Cocoa is being readied.

The Mac Observer reports Scott Kovatch, Senior Computer Scientist of Adobe Systems, will be leading the project. He stated Adobe engineers will be working on the project and the company will be making use of the technology in future Adobe projects.

Previous to his current role, Kovatch used to work for Apple as a software engineer, responsible for Java Web Start and the Java Plug-in on Mac OS X.

Currently, Java SWT is implemented via Carbon on OS X, a 32-bit procedural API that provides backward compatibility for existing applications. Apple's latest 64-bit version of Mac OS X Leopard does not currently support Carbon, which is a problem for 3rd party developers who are targeting the platform.

One of the advantages of porting Java SWT to Cocoa is, other than it being the latest and greatest with bells and whistles, it can support both 32-bit and 64-bit applications.

It's understood the project has gathered interest from the principal architect of SWT himself, Steve Northover. Northover, an employee of IBM, has previously blogged about working on the prototype with Apple and getting started with the project.

Estimates of when the project will be ready for production use is unclear but it's understood developers would like it included in the 3.5 version of Eclipse. With a current annual release schedule of the Eclipse platform, this indicates a June 2009 release date, close to Apple's proposed release of Snow Leopard, the next iteration of OS X.

While Kovatch from Adobe might be taking the reigns the project is open source under the Eclipse Foundation. Developers who want to see and contribute to the code can do so at the SWT Cocoa Port page.

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