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Sweet Home 3D might disappear from Mac OS X

The bad

On October 20, 2010, Apple decided to give up its support of Java under the future Mac OS X versions. This sad announce was done through a small release note published with the last Java update under Mac OS X, just after Steve Jobs ran his special event about Lion, the next version of Mac OS X.

Whether you think Apple's decision is right or not, Mac OS X users should be aware that, until further notice, Sweet Home 3D won't be able to run under Mac OS X Lion, because it needs Java to run. If you weren't aware of this requirement, it's normal because even if this web site speaks about Java in various places, you don't have to know in which language Sweet Home 3D is programmed to run it. You just want it to run normally as any other program, and I did my best to integrate the user interface of Sweet Home 3D into Mac OS X so you could even not guess with which language it was programmed.

You might still think that Sweet Home 3D isn't perfect in regard to Mac OS X user interface guidelines, and you're right: why don't Mac OS X users don't have a color chooser that looks like the color chooser available in other native Mac OS X applications, why the toolbar isn't integrated to the title bar, why this, why that...
I would love to go further but Apple never fixed the bugs I filled about these problems, and their bug database isn't public, so you can't even be aware of that!

The good

As Apple + Java will soon belong to history, we, as a community, have to find a solution to help Sweet Home 3D exist under Mac OS X.
The most elegant solution is to rewrite Sweet Home 3D with Objective C / Cocoa (the programming language and the graphical library recommended by Apple to create Mac OS X applications). But this would take months and maintaining two different code bases (one in Java for Windows / Linux and the other for Mac OS X) would be a boring and tedious task. By the way, this would break Sweet Home 3D Online version.
An other solution could consist of rewriting Sweet Home 3D with JavaScript using HTML 5 and WebGL new features. That way, Sweet Home 3D could even run under iOS, the operating system of iPhones and iPads. But again this is a tedious task (JavaScript isn't what Object Oriented Programmers dream of), and I've got some serious doubts about performances.

Then, why not keeping Java and seeking a software editor able to deliver a Java implementation for Mac OS X? Miserably, no other implementation exists yet, more precisely no complete implementation exists yet. The only one available at this time is Soylatte the port of OpenJDK made by Landon Fuller. OpenJDK is an open source project maintained by Oracle, the editor of Java. But it lacks an integration with the Mac OS X graphical interface, meaning the windows drawn from a Java application run with SoyLatte will appear in a X11 window (and I don't know at all if Java3D would run with it). The look and feel of Java applications run this way can be improved with Quaqua, but still, it's far from perfect: you will loose Sweet Home 3D application menu, top menu bar, drag and drop,...
The only good solution at this time is to complete OpenJDK / Soylatte by porting AWT to Mac OS X, to ensure a great integration of any Java application in the system. That's why I launched the JKoala project on last Monday. I want to help and even lead this open source project, but I can't do it (once more) for free, simply because I don't have the financial means to work on an other open source project during months. So if you're a Sweet Home 3D user running it under Mac OS X, please donate now to JKoala if you want it to still run in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Porting AWT may distract me from Sweet Home 3D during a while, but be sure that version 3.0 will be released first and that my spirit is happier if Sweet Home 3D runs under Mac OS X too.

Most Mac OS X users just expect that Oracle will go on Java implementation for Mac OS X. But during the last 6 days, Oracle didn't publish a single piece of news about the future of Java under Mac OS X. Let me be clear: I can earn money by other means, and I would be pleased that Oracle does support Java under Mac OS X.
But it seems that the best way to get things done is to do it by ourselves, meaning the open source community. We have the chance that Sun Microsystems, the inventor of Java, released it under GNU GPL license before this company died. Let's take profit of this chance to create a full open source version of Java under Mac OS X.

The ugly

I won't wait for ever, and if you don't want to help Java under Mac OS X, Sweet Home 3D and many other applications will simply die in a close future. I will be able to recover from giving up Sweet Home 3D support under Mac OS X; after all, Sweet Home 3D under Mac OS X represents only 10% of the total downloads.

This time, the choice belongs to you.

[Updates]
On November 12, 2010, Oracle and Apple finally announced OpenJDK Project for Mac OS X and Java SE 6 support for Mac OS X Lion. It looks like the Good scenario will happen and JKoala project won't need to go further.

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Avatar: Anonymous

Re: Sweet Home 3D might disappear from Mac OS X

I JUST discovered this great program... I'm Mac OS... this is disheartening news, but not surprising. I have been a flash developer since it's inception... and of course now I'm being deprecated along with flash support on iOS
Avatar: AlbySpace

Re: Sweet Home 3D might disappear from Mac OS X

What about the Mac App store? I would be pleased to pay a few bucks for this pretty program if well updated and implemented.
Avatar: Emmanuel Puybaret

Re: Sweet Home 3D might disappear from Mac OS X

The Mac App Store doesn't accept applications based on packages optionally installed on user's computer like Java applications. So don't expect to see Sweet Home 3D there, at least until it can't be shipped with a separate JVM (like in Windows and Linux installers).
Avatar: Emmanuel Puybaret

Re: Sweet Home 3D might disappear from Mac OS X

As Java 7u40 works well under Mac OS X now, I developed a sandboxed version of Sweet Home 3D for the Mac App Store bundled with a copy of the JRE and available here.

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