Enterprise Java Development with Windows 8 Phone and Desktop

Enterprise Java developers typically shy away from the Windows platform, but Sal Pece decided to buck the trend and bring his Eclipse based development environment, along with his WebSphere Portal test server, to Windows 8. This article chronicles his experience so far.

Sal Pece, a software engineer working out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada did something unthinkable: he decided to embrace Windows 8 and make it the foundation of his WebSphere development platform. What follows is Sal’s attempt to purge his guilty conscience as he tries to justify to himself and to others the logic behind embracing Windows 8 for enterprise Java development.

Why did I choose Windows 8?

As a busy consultant who works on a variety of different development projects simultaneously, I require a suite of products that allow me to complete my work as efficiently as possible. Windows 8 offers that hope.

What are the basic tools that every enterprise Java consultant requires?

The essentials that any Java consultant requires are:

  1. A Java Development Environment such as Eclipse, NetBeans or IntelliJ
  2. An office product suite such as Microsoft Office or Star Office

The first thing I did when I received my shiny new Windows 8 laptop was to ensure that IBM's Rational Application Developer 8.5 installed and worked correctly.  I'm happy to report that IRAD 8.5 did indeed install and run successfully.

Microsoft Office also came preloaded with the laptop, so there was no concern there.  What did impress me is how useful Microsoft Office is on my Windows 8 Phone, as integration between mobile devices and office suite software is something that has been severely lacking in the past.

What does the Windows 8 Phone offer that other mobile platforms do not?

The short answer is that Windows 8 Phone provides a user experience that I prefer over the other platforms such as iOS and Android.

It’s fast, easy to use, and it’s the same experience across all of my devices. Save for the desktop, but I don’t really see that as a problem since I’m not going to be developing a whole lot on the phone directly. What I do need in order to be productive is high speed Internet connectivity,  Microsoft Office on a large and vibrant screen,  access to all my emails through Outlook, and shared document access through the SkyDrive.

Is the SkyDrive everything I could imagine and more?

Unfortunately, SkyDrive is still lacking some core functionality as far as I'm concerned; But like everything else Microsoft, it’ll either get better or get killed off. SkyDrive does allow me to share documents, music, etc.  The interface doesn’t appear to be as dynamic and as well thought out as the Windows 8 Platform itself.  I’ll likely be investigating other technologies to provide what I envision as a true cloud solution, but for now, it gets the job done and it’s free.

What about all the apps that everyone else has?

This has been all over the news.  “Oh, you shouldn’t buy this product because they don't have 3.5 bazillion apps in their app store...”  

I have two things to say to this:

  1. How many apps do you really use?
  2. Let’s get developing!

I’ve been studying up on a new wireless development technology from IBM, plus a few others such as Codename One and I’m looking forward to trying them out and using them to build some great mobile applications. As more developers create cross-platform applications using these technologies, there will be more applications available for Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices as a whole.

What were  the biggest challenges encountered with using Windows 8 as a Java development platform?

This is more of a gripe than anything else, but  I did my research and found that the best products that would work for me would be a Lenovo 430s laptop for power and speed, the Samsung ATIV S Windows 8 phone, and the Surface or Lenovo Yoga tablet. The laptop was the easy to acquire. The phone was delayed but it eventually came in. I'm still waiting to pull the trigger on the tablet, as  I’m not going to buy a tablet with a watered down version of Windows 8.  My opinion is that Microsoft failed in its initial launch of Windows 8.  If you’re going to launch an operating system and tout its strengths, then make sure the product is available to the consumer right out of the gate. 

Sal’s note:  To be clear, I have never received anything for free from Microsoft or any of their partners or competitors.  The opinions are my own and are based on hands on experience.



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