For those of you unfamiliar with RAP — the Rich Ajax Platform — it’s a project that brings Eclipse development models to the web. This means that you can use your eclipse expertise (APIs, programming patterns, and even OSGi bundles) on the web. As developers, we become very familiar with our tools / technologies and are able to focus on the hard business problems and move away from the inane technical details. Doug referred to this as Java is making me dumb, but the truth is Doug is not dumb, he was simply out of practice with some of the finner points of C++. Fred Brooks would call this accidental complexity, and the more time we spend dealing with accidental complexity, the less time we spend solving the real problem. (In Doug’s case, he spent valuable time focusing on the peculiarities of C++ constructors, when he should have been focusing on matrix multiplication — and how to use matrix multiplication to make him millions). This same phenomenon happens in the web space where developers are forced to continually switch their languages and programming patterns. By using RAP for web applications, you remove the cognitive burden of switching technologies, a switch that slows productivity.
One of the common complaints about RAP was that it doesn’t look like a web application. Many developers have realized the benefits of unifying their web and desktop programming models, but in the end there are fundamental differences between how we interact with the web vs. how we interact with the desktop. For example, you can create a simple mail application (from the same Java code) that runs on the web and in a browser:
But clearly re-sizable shells (and a close button) are not common place on the web. With the Galileo release, you can now easily change the look for your RAP application simply by including 1 additional bundle in your launch configuration.
Holger Staudacher gets the shout-out for this new Galileo feature. Great work Holger! In addition to this, there are a whole bunch of new features in RAP this year. Check out the new and noteworthy from the Milestones:
- New for RAP 1.2 M7 (May 11, 2009)
- New for RAP 1.2 M6 (March 23, 2009)
- New for RAP 1.2 M5 (February 16, 2009)
- New for RAP 1.2 M4 (January 12, 2009)
- New for RAP 1.2 M3 (November 19, 2008)
- New for RAP 1.2 M2 (October 8, 2008)
I also have to give kudos to Benjamin Muskalla, Rudiger Hermann, Elias Volanakis, Ivan Furnadjiev, Frank Appel and Ralf Sternberg for all their great work on RAP this year.