[lazarus] Asserts and other stuff

John Margaglione jmargaglione at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 25 00:30:03 EDT 1999

As someone who has two shelves full of Java books and more Java compilers 
and IDE's than Bill Joy, I can honestly say that Java will not be going 
anywhere soon.  Try as they might, they will never get compiled speed for 
Java in the *GUI* arena.  Not unless they make swing a bunch of DLL's that 
internally call X or GTK.  And I find that highly unlikely.  Java also has a 
number of other problems that will keep it at bay for several years:

1.  The language is simple, but the construction of programs (especially 
when considering swing) is not.  It takes hundreds of lines of Java to get a 
JTable working well.  Besides the sheer lines of code, the way in which AWT 
works, with adapters and listeners and so forth, plus Swing's pluggable 
architecture, is a *nightmare* for GUI IDE designers.  Take any Java IDE out 
there and you will see the same thing: poor integration with Swing.  
VisualAge, my favorite tool, is still locked into Swing 1.0.3.  JBuilder 
can't redraw anything the same way twice.  Visual Cafe has very little 
"visual" to it.

2.  The best part of Java right now is the APIs.  As brutal as the amount of 
code can be, I love the API's.  They are powerful and flexible.  But NONE of 
it can't be done in a well written Pascal API. You said yourself that Java 
is a rip-off of Pascal.  Well, you're right.  And if you really want a 
challenge, instead of rewriting the VCL, rewrite the JCL (Java Class 
Libraries, not Job Control Language :).

3.  Microsoft hates Java about as much as it hates Linux.  Enough said.

Anyway, Java is still a long way from being ubiquitous.  We have ample 
opportunity to shape Lazarus into whatever we want.  If the VCL is outdated, 
then don't implement it.  Want adapters on top of the VCL?  Go for it.  FPC 
compiles as fast as Java, is as clean a language (but boy what I wouldn't 
give for the compiler guys to implement checked exceptions), and GTK isn't 
going anywhere soon.  A good abstraction of the VCL/whatever will make us 
plenty independent of GTK anyway.

Besides, we do this for the joy of it, not for profit.  If something better 
comes along in a few months/years, we can jump on board that ship.  In the 
meantime we can make a really nice IDE.

Besides, I just spent the better part of the day figuring out the Pascal 
grammar in hopes of writing the Object Browser/Intellisense portion of 
Lazarus.  I'm going to be bummed if nobody is around to use it!

John Margaglione
tenor at xnet.com

"Buck up little camper, don't let Stalin get to ya!"
-from "Better Off Dead"

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