Can Sun Java Studio Creator (formerly Project Rave) tempt Windows platform developers?
When Project Rave was announced, it was perceived as a challenger for both the WebMatrix marketplace - and potentially for the millions of VB6 users questioning the cost and merits of .NET as a technology and development platform. Sun promised an easy to use visual development environment based on the Java language - a Delphi/Visual Basic type RAD experience.
Particularly at stake are non-professional/casual/education users - a market sector many times larger than professional users. Professional users tend to have either informed or religious views as to the platform and tools they use, others tend to be more flexible and transient. But those flexible, transient users often become tomorrow's professional, and an influence on technology decisions.
If Sun could bring a complete, easy to use and deploy product to market it would surely achieve considerable market share, and bring more than a few sleepless nights to many at Microsoft.
Aiding Sun's bid has been Microsoft's fumbling of .NET's market positioning statement. Ask most people what Java is and they can normally give you an answer - more than likely you'll eventually hear "runtime". But the same isn't the case for .NET. In Microsoft's haste to convey that .NET is "all things to all people", they manage to convey confusion.
Also aiding Sun is the issue of deployment. .NET is mature and is heading towards its third public release this year (2004), yet few systems in the field have ANY version installed. That issue makes it much less attractive for desktop application developers (especially former VB developers) to produce .NET applications and components.
And recently Microsoftseems more anxious with the developer community, to discuss future technologies thanaggressively address all segments (e.g. desktop, web, enterprise, mobile) of the fragmented .NET developer space.
But can Sun do it? In my opinion, the initial product will have little impact.
It already appears that Sun Java Studio Creator will not provide for the production of desktop and mobile applications (at least in the initial version) - so there goes most of it's prospective market. Furthermore, Sun doesn't possess the retail and channel experience/networks that Microsoft have established.
Future versions? Microsoft are generally tenacious. Theywork at releases and learn from their failuresuntil they get it right.But can Sun?
Update:additional perspective in this Infoworld Article