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the sound of java

For reasons I won't go fully into at the moment <wink>, I've been looking at the JavaSound API, and of course, looking for information all over regarding known problems, best-practices, etc. I got a strange feeling when looking at the information; information was updated but not quite.... Even information on the J2SE 1.5 roadmap for javasound seemed a bit... half-hearted.

Then I found this article/entry/whatever ( is great, but with the weblogs in there sometimes I can't tell whether it's a personal bullhorn or really a weblog, since often they don't really post often... anyway) by Jonathan Simon where he discusses the history of the JavaSound API and the state it's currently in.

First of all, my own experiences with JavaSound haven't been as bad as he describes (constant crashes, etc), quite possibly (almost certainly) because I don't use any advanced features of the API.

So, if the state of JavaSound so bad? It seems to me that the criticism against Sun on this regard is for not turning Java into some kind of super-sound-processing platform. But is that really necessary? IMO, no. We need good, stable support of the basic functionality that works well across all platforms. Adding advanced features should be well behind this, a distant second priority.

As I've argued before, Java at this point needs, more than anything, to provide consistent user experience across platforms. It starts with an invisible installer, but it should continue with consistent behavior of the JDK across platforms. The Swing team has done a great job of making Swing work consistenly across platforms (adapting when necessary), but there are things missing yet (some hooks into common platform-dependent elements, such as taskbars, wouldn't be a bad idea). JavaSound could improve in stability and in supporting some features in software rather than depending on the hardware. From there on, we can worry about adding real-time sound processing.

Posted by diego on July 2 2003 at 11:17 AM

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