July 26th, 2008

Java on the desktop

I’ve said before that the customers don’t care about the technology. To a certain extent, this is also true about the developers, especially when it comes to choosing the “right technology” for your next big project. If your team members have considerable experience with a specific technology, you’re much better off going with that instead of trying to learn the newest shiniest framework and making all the beginners’ mistakes (on the other hand, it never hurts to keep your eyes and mind open).

The case at hand – Woopra, the real-time Web tracking and analysis application. It has been called the Chuck Norris of Site Analytics and some promise that it will make you drool, and while a few reviews briefly mention that it is written in Java, nobody seems to care. And this is one of the best compliments the underlying technology can get – it is so good that you don’t even notice it. I’m not going to talk about Woopra’s features (although they are pretty nifty compared to Google Analytics). I’m just going to show a few screenshots that highlight the attention to visual details and the level of customization made possible in Swing. The live application feels great, with subtle animations, intuitive navigation and no UI freezes. Click on the thumbnails below to view the full size slideshow.

And while some ask if anyone really cares about desktop Java, others just use it to create good-looking and responsive applications.