We built the XML Editor for the Formspider IDE in Java, because the original Formspider IDE was a Java Application. When we were preparing the Formspider Online IDE for the Web, we also had to move the XML Editor to the Web. In one of the brilliant moments of my career I told the team “Hey, we have a working editor in Java. Why don’t we convert it to JavaFX and be done with it?” This should be simple right? Right…After months of work, we finally got the editor working in JavaFX. The fact that we converted from Java to JavaFX, did not help as much as we hoped it would.
We went live with the Formspider Online IDE and started observing user behavior. Something was not right. People were signing up but not really doing anything. A quick investigation revealed that we were having problems with the XML Editor. It was failing for more than 50% of our users. Some people didn’t have Java on their machines, some had the open SDK that did not support JavaFX and some had problems we could not figure out.
Formspider IDE was not a joyride for the lucky few who was able to run the editor either. On average, a user had to wait about two minutes before the IDE was ready for input. The 1.5 MB jar was downloaded quickly enough but it took ages for the computer to install the jar and getting it ready to run. The security alert that kept popping up was also very annoying from the user’s perspective.The state we were in with the Online IDE was clearly unacceptable.
If you used the Formspider Online IDE before and you did not have a pleasant experience at all, I apologize and kindly invite you to give it another try. If this is going to be your first time with the Online IDE, nevermind… It all works just fine.