Finally got a few seconds today to play with Java again at home. A few items of [debatable] note.

1.) My trialware application is embarrassingly past my self-enforced release date. After all the harping I do about good software management, this is really egg on the face. Nobody to fault but me.

I've actually had an app I was fairly comfortable releasing for quite some time. The main hang-up (and this isn't an excuse) is deciding whether I should form an LLC or an S-Corp by which to release the application. Afraid I'm simply not brave enough to go it as a sole proprietorship. Called a lawyer, and was told the two are close enough that I need to ask my taxman which would be better in my particular situation. No appointment with the taxman until the end of this month, so the release is going to be awful late. Again, totally my fault and quite embarrassing, but I'm betting I'm not losing millions by not being out in the market just yet.

2.) In the past two weeks while working my new day job, I've been using the iBook exclusively to check email, surf, etc, as that's about all the free at-home computer time I've had. The Mac really does provide a superior environment for typical PC computer uses.

It got to the point that I'd forgotten why I hated developing Java on my Mac hardware. I'd even remembered that I wanted to try Jikes, IBM's Java compiler, in place of Sun's javac. Jikes is reportedly much much faster, and I was of the opinion that it could make my iBook a usable, if not superior (and I do mean "not" here), platform.

Well, in my entirely unscientific, count the seconds in my head benchmark, jikes is much much faster. Jikes completes a clean build of my app in less than half the time javac does. Really a nice step up, and the Jikes-compiled version of the app seems to run just fine.

Unfortunately, after using Netbeans on the iBook for a while, I discovered the compile time wasn't the real/only issue. Editing in Netbeans on the iBook is slow, but bearable. But compiling a recently edited file in Netbeans still takes too long to sit through using my 500 MHz G3. Netbeans first checks to see what objects have changed (which takes it quite a while), then compiles (much faster now!), and then, if you asked it to, executes the file you just updated (ick). This last part is the part that I forgot. No matter how quick the compilation, I've still got to wait for Apple's JVM to start up my Swing GUI, and it's just butt slow. Dropping from 7 seconds to 6.8 seconds (just to throw a random example out there) isn't that much better a user experience.

So I went back and fired up my 2.0 GHz Gateway and Eclipse for the first time in two weeks. Much faster than 4x as fast as the iBook, and that's without Jikes on the PC. Oh well. Just burned my Yellow Dog Linux install CD. Maybe that'll be faster... *sigh*

3.) Turns out telling Netbeans to use Jikes to compile your files isn't as obvious as it should be. To use Jikes in Netbeans, open Tools, Options, then look under Edit (?? why it isn't set in "Compiler Options", I don't know), Java Sources. Switch to the pre-configured Jikes option there.

4.) Getting mad and accidently holding down "ctrl-option-Apple-8" in a fit of rage inverses the colors of my iBook display. It's like a black light. Neat. Also somewhat maddening trying to figure out what combo of keys I need to press to get it back (turns out it's the same, but I didn't know I'd hit them the first time!).

5.) Java's BoxLayout is really pretty neat, if only because it seems to be the only layout manager that pays attention to "setMaximumSize" like you think layout managers should. Really a step up from the useful but often none-too-professional-looking results you get from GridLayout. Unfortunately the BoxLayout only does one row or column at a time, which makes it less efficient for putting a great number of widgets on one container.

That's about it for today. I'm still taking a collection for a dual-proc Mac if anyone's giving.