“Holy software glut, Batman!”

Has anyone noticed the plethora of software technologies surrounding Java? I mean, Sun is bad enough:

  • J2SE
  • J2RE
  • J2EE
  • J2ME(with multiple profiles. A few years ago, I couldn’t even figure out which parts to download!)

But now, there are IDEs, and all manner of creations for project building, build management, etc., etc, ad infinitum. On the Apache Jakarta Project’s web site, there are no fewer than 19 projects! Honestly, I can’t really figure out the difference between some of them. I’m evaluating tools for my company’s project, trying to get a feel for what’s out there. There’s a lot. But, can someone tell me what the core difference is between Jakarta Ant and Jakarta Maven? Maven claims to be a project oriented build tool, whereas Ant is a build tool that, uh, well, builds projects (furrows brow, scratches head).

Okay, I know that choice in software is a Good Thing®, but really, as a potential user, it’s nice to be clear on what my choices are. If I can’t figure out what a product is and what it does and why I should use it after reading the homepage (I mean like 5 paragraphs), then I get really frustrated. I’ve had to do this many times with many different products, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

Okay, feel better now.


  • I feel your pain. Whenever I download a java application for my phone it’s the same thing. Do I use the .jar or the .jad? Hmm. OK, download them both and if the first crashes, delete it and install the second. It’s probably not the safest way of figuring out which is the one to use, but at least it’s less harmful than blasting it full of holes – http://homepage.mac.com/moriarity/iblog/B627977666/C1052080133/E974675571/index.html

  • Dude, you scare me.

  • Ken

    Come on dude. Java isn’t for the casual observer. You aren’t talking about products like iTunes and Office, you’re looking at complex reusable libraries and advanced development tools. They aren’t supposed to be simple, they’re supposed to be powerful. The richness of the available toolset and plethora of powerful libraries is what makes java great, language issues aside.

    You can always use Microsoft tools. You can choose any
    toolset you want, as long as it’s Visual Studio.

    Oh yeah, the big difference between Maven and Ant is that Maven sucks and Ant rocks. Try reading through the first couple of chapters of the docs and you’ll see.