Apple announced last week it has licensed Sun’s Java programming environment, joining the massive list of current Java licensees. Apple says it plans to integrate Java into its operating systems (including the Mac OS, the Newton, and Pippin) as well as in media and Internet technologies, including Cyberdog. Apple is not alone in planning to put Java into its operating systems: Novell, Microsoft, SGI, IBM, and others have announced similar strategies. One has to wonder what impact this announcement might have on developers currently bringing Java to the Macintosh, considering how long it will be before Java support is available directly from Apple.
As a cross-platform application technology, one of Java’s nightmare scenarios is that it could cause all rules of interface and functionality to be thrown out, regardless of the client platform. (If you think Microsoft applications bend Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines now, wait until you see Java-based applications from Microsoft and other vendors!) In response, a campaign is underway to convince Sun to integrate OpenDoc into Java as an interface library. OpenDoc is already a relatively mature technology (compared to Java), and was built with cross-platform interfaces and application design in mind. If you plan to do Java or OpenDoc development, the idea is worth checking out. [GD]