How to evaluate a RAD tool

Over the last week, I “ve been reading the following discussions in various Java online forums: why Sun Studio can “t be cool, what “s so good about ROR, what Java needs to beat Visual Studio, designing GUI with Eclipse vs. NetBeans, etc.

Any RAD tool has to be simple, intuitive, fun to work with, and should have a large and active community. This is how I “d evaluate any RAD tool: give the tool in question to a Computer Science freshman who is not familiar with the tool, lock her in a room that has the Internet connection and come back in 3-4 hours. Do you find a frustrated or excited person there? Is this person pretty comfortable with the tool? Can she show you a demo application created with this tool? Based on the answers to these questions you can say if this tool is cool.

For years, GUI was not considered to be an important instrument in the Java toolbox. In many applications the rich clients of the 90th were replaced by plain Web clients (a slow-motion reincarnation of mainframe green dumb terminals), GUI development was treated as Cinderella in Java family. Now it’s changing, but unless Sun Microsystems, IBM and other big guys will make their high-priority goal improvement of RAD development in Java, the situation in this field will not get better any time soon.

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