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From Greg Brannon <greg.d.bran...@gmail.com>
Subject First impressions of a wannabe adopter
Date Tue, 25 Sep 2012 21:35:34 GMT
Talented Pivot Developers, Users, and Supporters,

I like Apache Pivot, but I want to like it even more.  I want to know it.  I 
want to be able to use every class and method of it, explore it, know the ins 
and outs of it; know where it excels, what its limitations are, and  write a 
challenging project with it.  If I don't know how to do something with Pivot, 
I want to be able to click on a link or (if I have to) pick up a reference 
that has the info I need to figure it out.  But at the moment, my experience 
with Pivot has not left me with confidence that I can know Pivot well enough to 
be successful using it.

Believe me, I've tried.  I worked through every tutorial, writing minor 
variations for each, moving code around, using different components, exploring 
the various ways to write action handlers.  I used the Component Explorer, 
wondering, "Why aren't the major containers, like Window, Frame, Sheet, etc. 
included?"  I've studied the API, learning the details I could for most every 
element of the Framework I've used throughout the tutorial experience.

Then I struck out on my own.  I wrote some basic interfaces in bxml, toying 
with ideas I have for a project I'd like to write in Pivot.  Those went well, 
they looked okay, I've learned to like the bxml interface design approach - in 
fact, I don't want to give it up - but there were nagging questions I couldn't 
answer.  "Be patient," I told myself.  "Keep plodding along, and the details 
will come."

Then I gave myself an assignment I thought might answer some of the nagging 
questions: Take an interface I'd already designed in bxml and rewrite it 
completely in Java.  The interface included a Frame with a MenuBar, 2 
MenuBar.Items, each with a Menu with 2 Menu.Items, Border, TablePane with 
columns and rows, BoxPane, and a couple Expanders.  No function, just the 
shell of an interface.

I couldn't do it.  I tackled the task, incrementally writing each part in the 
same order as listed above but got stuck early on at the MenuBar and Menus.  I 
could not find the information I needed to accomplish what should be a 
relatively (I thought) simple thing.

I could accept that maybe it was a stupid idea.  Why write an interface 
completely in Java that can be defined easily in bxml?  I don't know.  Why not?  
Shouldn't I be able to?  Or if it's not possible, shouldn't that be documented 
somewhere?  I could have accepted it if I thought it were true, but I don't.  
So I walked away from Pivot, thinking what I wrote in the first paragraph.

So that I don't come across as  just a complainer, I'm volunteering.  I'm 
still excited about Pivot's potential, I believe in it and am impressed by 
Apache's projects overall, and I'll help in any way I can to improve Pivot's 
packaging to enable it to be more widely adopted.  But I shouldn't bound or 
limit my offer to help.  I'll simply do whatever I can to help, period.  Just 
let me know what I can do.

Until Pivot's documentation or usability improves, I'll work on my project 
using plain ol' Swing.

Greg Brannon
Hughesville, MD USA
(443) 684-2064
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