Pushing Pixels: the best of 2008

December 30th, 2008

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to review what has happened on this blog over the last twelve months. I’ll start with the list of top ten most read posts, continue with the my own top ten favorites, and finish with the list of eleven interviews that i have conducted over this year.

Let’s start with the top ten most read posts published in 2008 as measured by Google Analytics:

  1. Translucent and shaped windows in core Java talks about the new AWTUtilities class in 6u10 and support for modern top-level windows effects. Published in February, has around 13,800 reads.
  2. Party Of One: Surviving A Hobby Open-Source Project talks about the specifics of one-man open-source projects and how to maintain a long-term level of commitment. It is the first of five part series on the subject. Published in May, has around 10,000 reads. The entire series has around 16,700 reads.
  3. Swing, RIA and JavaFX – interview with Amy Fowler. Amy delves deep into the reasons behind the work on JavaFX, and where Swing fits into the future of client side Java. Published in May, has around 8,100 reads.
  4. Sun setting down on the core Swing contains my thoughts on the demise of the core Swing as the primary Java desktop toolkit developed and promoted by Sun. Published in November, has around 7,200 reads.
  5. Swing applications and Mac OS X menu bar shows how Swing application under non-Apple look-and-feel can place their menus on the system menu bar. Published in July, has around 3,600 reads
  6. More tricks with translucent Swing windows follows up with the different effects achievable with the new translucent window support. Published in March, has around 3,300 reads.
  7. Java on the Desktop, the past, the present and the future – interview with Richard Bair. Richard provides his point of view on where the desktop Java is heading. Published in December, has around 3,300 reads.
  8. Trust is hard to build and easy to destroy is a followup to the state of core Swing and addresses the lack of transparency that Sun has shown towards the desktop community. Published in November, has around 3,200 reads.
  9. Native video codecs and Flash content with JMC shows how to use JMC to play back video files in Swing. Published in July, has around 2,900 reads.
  10. Soft clipping and per-pixel translucency for Swing windows is yet another entry that explores the translucent effects on top-level windows in Swing with 6u10+. Published in March, has around 2,900 reads. All together, the three articles on the subject have around 20,000 total reads.

While these have been the readers’ favorites, a few entries that didn’t enjoy a wider readership are worth highlighting. These are my personal favorites that were published in 2008:

  1. Trust is hard to build and easy to destroy is the only entry from the “most popular” list that is going to appear here. Addressing the lack of transparency that Sun has shown towards the desktop community makes it the most important posting of the year in my eyes.
  2. 20 design blogs for UI developers aims to collect links for those readers that wish to learn from the best minds on the other side of the fence that still divides developers and designers.
  3. Is this the future of the enterprise applications? has been the driving force behind most of the design decisions and pixel pushing made in Substance and Flamingo over the last year, as evidenced here, here and here.
  4. Problem solving and innovation tries to warn against pursuing solutions just for the sake of innovation. If you are the only talking about how innovative your product is, you’re not solving your users’ problems.
  5. Java on the desktop talks about my favorite Swing application of the year – Woopra desktop client.
  6. Matching desktop fonts and native font rasterization talks about two major problems with the core Swing look-and-feels that significantly hamper usability of Swing applications.
  7. Native text rendering in Swing applications – ready, steady, go! has predated the native font rasterization in 6u10 by a few months and has shown how SWT can be leveraged to address the specific Swing deficiency in pre-6u10 VMs.
  8. Stricter checks on EDT violations in Substance is by far the most controversial decision that i have made in Substance 5.0+. It highlights yet another weakness of core Swing, and the number of Substance queries (going well into dozens) just highlights how low is the level of the subject awareness in the general developer community.
  9. From Photoshop to code – conclusion is the last in the six-piece series on using Substance skinning APIs to implement a rich custom UI mocked in Photoshop.
  10. Effective Java2D is a collection of tips from my work on bringing Substance performance in version 5.0 to be on par with other active core and third-party look-and-feels.

Finally, this year has seen a number of interviews with the people from Sun, as well as the Java desktop community.

  1. Alexey Utkin – this is where it all started. It is rather unfortunate that JDICPlus has not made it through the end of the year.
  2. Amy Fowler – should be quite an interesting read in a couple of years as well, just to see how Amy’s predictions have played out.
  3. Mikael Grev from MigLayout and MigCalendar.
  4. David Qiao from JIDE.
  5. Chet Haase just after his move to Adobe.
  6. Andres Almiray and his many Groovy UI projects.
  7. Don DeCoteau from Sage.
  8. Richar Bair from JavaFX and SwingLabs.
  9. Sam Berlin from LimeWire.
  10. Alex Ruiz from FEST.
  11. Elie El Khoury from Woopra.

This year has also seen the number of RSS subscribers grow from 500 to around 1,400. If you still have not subscribed, click on the icon below to stay tuned in 2009! Happy New Year!