Moneydance is written in a programming language known as Java. As many of our Mac customers know, Apple released an update to Java yesterday (mentioned by John Gruber) with some interesting news in the release notes. The notes say that Apple is “deprecating” their implementation of Java on Mac OS X and may stop including that implementation in future OS releases. Given this news, some of our customers have indicated their concern for Moneydance’s future on the Mac. Allow me to explain why this announcement will not negatively affect Moneydance on the Mac.
First, for the last decade Apple has been the only major desktop operating system vendor to maintain their own version of Java. Because Apple’s core focus is not on Java, their versions have consistently been a release or two behind Windows and Linux. Oracle “owns” Java and has produced top-notch implementations of Java for Windows, Linux and Solaris and now has a strong interest in making sure Java is well supported on the Mac. It seems logical that Java on the Mac will be better off in the hands of the many companies whose interests are aligned with having a great up-to-date implementation of Java for the Mac. In other words, this could be a huge win for Java on the Mac.
Second, there are many companies, including Apple, that rely heavily on Java for Mac OS X. The back-end to the iTunes Store, the Apple Store and many other services are written using Apple’s own WebObjects, which is implemented entirely in Java. Oracle, IBM, and many other companies all have crucial apps written in Java. At almost any developer conference you’ll find a sea of MacBook Pros running Eclipse and other Java-based IDEs. Whatever you think of Apple, they are not going to discard such a large and dedicated developer- and customer base in one fell swoop. There will be Java on the Mac for many years to come, whether it is open source, provided by a large company, or both.
Third, Moneydance is far more than the language in which it is written. If Java on the Mac is truly killed off, Moneydance will be released as a Cocoa (ie native Mac) app. We’ve had the core bits of Moneydance implemented in Objective-C and Cocoa since about 2003, but it’s never been necessary to break it out. We believe Java is currently still the best technology for this kind of application and will stick to it for as long as it is viable, but losing Java on the Mac is not a dead end for us or our customers.
We will continue to produce Moneydance for Windows, Linux, and especially Mac OS X, using the best tools available. We’re flexible enough to adapt to the latest technologies in order to provide our customers with the best experience possible. We appreciate the support of the Mac community and look forward to continuing our long-term relationship.
[Update 2010-11-12] It seems that the best possible outcome is being realized. I think this news from Apple and Oracle is the best thing that could have happened to Java on Mac OS X.