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Servoy Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Bob Cusick

Related Topics: Java Developer Magazine, Servoy Journal

Java Developer : Article

Case Study: Java and the Mac

It all started with the boss out of Dilbert

Our hero contacted Servoy and asked them to have a look at a prototype that was built in WebObjects. The prototype was an application used to manage data around oncology, and it had taken the WebObjects team hired by Stanford two months of coding to come up with a mock-up. John was a bit suspicious about Servoy’s response to the prototype: “It’s faster to build this in Servoy than to write you an offer and project document.” A couple of days later, Servoy delivered a working version of the prototype. Going ahead with Servoy was now a no-brainer for Stanford. John is very much a Mac guy: “I just prefer to have a no-hassles OS where everything I need is in the right place, one that’s stable and doesn’t suffer from all types of viruses and malware. With Servoy, I can work on Mac all day, even if the applications I use are deployed to Windows. What’s nice is that I don’t even have to build specifically for Windows – Servoy and Java take care of this for me!” John was able to meet all his boss’s requirements, re-train himself on a Java-based product, and stay on the development platform he loves – the Mac. He deploys to Windows, Linux, and even Solaris across the multiple divisions at Stanford. Many other departments including Child Psychology and the Stanford Law School have also adopted Servoy technology since John first contacted the firm.

Our second example is Darren Clarke, principal programmer at The Support Group. The Support Group is a business application consulting firm with offices all over the country. “I love Java, I love my Mac, I love the cross-platform capabilities of Java – I just hate the fact that a lot of simple things are very difficult to achieve with plain Java!” Darren prefers to develop on his Mac, but his customers often use Windows. The beauty of Java and Servoy is that it doesn’t matter. Business customers often have complicated business rules – but a lot of end users need a very easy-to-use interface. Darren says, “On my Mac, it’s easier to use Java with Servoy for all the aspects involved in delivering business software: writing business rules and workflow rules in a productive way with very user-oriented and friendly user interfaces. With Servoy I solve those problems. Although it’s Java-based, it offers a whole set of functionality that allows me to focus on what I am good at: writing business software that is very user-friendly, stable, and scalable. And I can write it much, much faster in Servoy than in plain Java. With this tool, I can write one code and deploy to a client’s desktop or over the Web. It eliminates the need for rewriting in PHP and HTML – Servoy does most of that for me.”

So is Java for Mac all hallelujah? No, unfortunately it isn’t. Apple is sending very mixed messages about Java: on one hand, Steve Jobs mentions that it’s obsolete; on the other hand he runs his Web store and iTunes on it. Also, the Java team at Apple is very responsive and can even be contacted personally with problems. Yet that same team isn’t authorized to send you a patch, and you’ll have to wait before a bug fix makes it into an OS X release – which in some cases can take up to six months. Jan Aleman, CEO of Servoy, says, “Mac is the only platform that we have to write specific ‘if’ statements for. This is because, in particular, the Swing classes aren’t paid enough attention.” According to Aleman, “This is partly a result of Apple not using Swing itself, while at the same time it’s decided to entirely map it on its own set of Aqua GUI components. This is the reason a lot of rather easy-to-fix bugs aren’t solved and actually inspired Servoy to run all our systems on our own technology. In fact, before we release a new version to our public, we run all our internal systems on it. This way, we feel the pain before our customers do.”

Funny enough, Servoy’s CEO uses a Mac himself too, not just personally but also for business. “I just got tired of Windows, with the viruses, the instability, the slow boot, the lack of proper command -line tools, so I made the jump. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one. Once a developer gets to choose, he’d rather use the most hassle-free OS out there.”

More Stories By Bob Cusick

Bob Cusick, managing director of Servoy, USA, has one of the oldest blogs on the Internet (started in 1994). He has been writing business applications for over 15 years, using popular 4GLs, Oracle, HTML, and Servoy. He was the charter technical editor for FileMaker Magazine and speaks at developer conferences all over the world. Visit his blog at

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Most Recent Comments
ItsMe 05/14/08 07:01:03 PM EDT

As a long time follower of Bob - this story is so true! I love the "Dilbert" theme - way to go Bob Cusick!