I'm partisan. I'm opposed to Java IDEs. I design and write Java applications and applets for a living so I need to do so efficiently; I've used a number of IDEs and have yet to find any which make life easier. Moreover, I have yet to find a visual development tool which creates Java GUIs either easily or without errors. So maybe I was destined to dislike Visual J++. The one area where I concede that IDEs are of use is that of rapid development, especially prototyping and/or applet development (the latter due to the more complex issues of debugging, and the fact that bloating the code with trace is not acceptable). However, VJ++ fails to build signed Jars properly. This is a miserable state of affairs, and given my ideas on IDEs, renders it useless. Applets must be built using manual scripts, so VJ++ becomes just an editor. And there are plenty better editors out there, many of which are free. Please, do yourself a favour. If you really have to use an IDE, get one which works. And, of course, one which won't try and tempt you into using Microsoft's platform-specific Java extensions.
The theory behind this program is good , Visual Basic and Visual C++ are by far the best programming tools there is thats what makes this product strange. In my opinion the Java language doesnt need a product as complex as this , what you need is a text editor , a compiler and an interpreter. An example of stupid design in this program is when I start up I am greeted with options on which type of Java application/applet I want to develop , great but then when you finish this step you are presented with numerous toolbars and a gap in the screen in the middle so you can see your desktop and no file to start entering code into , I mean come on Java is supposed to be easy so I would imagine a beginner would like to start coding relatively quickly. Another belter is the default java file you start with contains a mass of code before you start. This was a sound idea incorporating Java with windows but this does not work (interestingly Microsoft is stopping updating Visual J++). This program is a disappointment because of the quality of Visual Basic and that Microsoft had a real chance to take Java to a higher level and sadly failed meaning the woefully slow progress that Sun has made over the last few years will continue.
Quite what the point is in Visual J++ I do not really know. In my honest opinion, Visual J++ is effectively Java for Windows. When I say Windows I mean Windows, forget any Unix, Linux or Macintosh development here. When Visual J++ was first released ( Version 1.0 ) it was an implementation of Java and conformed to the Java 1.0 released by Sun. Since then Visual J++ has diverged from the Sun specification to become a language that supports the Windows operating system with COM, ActiveX and everything else that goes with it but very little else. It is true that Visual J++ is fine for integrating with Microsoft IIS and ASP but these are hardly widely used commercially yet, Unix and Apache servers do, I believe, still have the lions share of the server market. Another point is that Visual Basic and Visual C++ are both perfectly capable of producing fast IIS and ASP solutions so why use Java ? Sun produce the industry standard version of Java, this runs on Windows 95/98/NT, most flavours of Unix and Macintosh. If written well, Java applications written using the Sun system will execute on any of these systems without change. There are plenty if IDE's that support Java from Sun and Borland and these are just as good as Visual J++ for Java development. If you must write Java applications that will only execute on Windows systems then J++ is probably as good as Java, but this does rather defeat the point of Java itself as a portable system.