With the major Mac and Java conferences, WWDC and JavaOne, sharing San Francisco's Moscone Center for a week it's either a great time or an awful time to be a Mac Java developer: great because you only have to make one trip, awful because you can enjoy only part of each conference.

But wait, who are these Mac Java developers? They've been seen in the wild for a few years now, with PowerBooks and iBooks appearing in large numbers at Java conferences. Is it just the pretty laptops and the oh-so-lickable user interface? I don't think so... the motivation is deeper than that. Maybe it's the whole "I can run Office and bash" value equation of OSX. But really, who's that passionate about Office, fercryinoutloud?

No, speaking from experience in the dark pre-OSX days (more on that in a future blog), the Mac Java developers have always been there, supporting the idea of a cross-platform future in the most direct and fruitful way possible: by developing Java code for and on an alternate platform.

That dichotomy is something I've long talked about with respect to Mac Java - that there is one set of issues faced by Java developers working on Macs with an eye to deploying on other platforms, and another set of issues encountered when you're bringing a Java application to the Mac. And on top of that, there are now new kinds of possibilities, like Cocoa Java, which is the use of Java instead of the typical Objective-C for developing rich OS X applications.

There's probably a lot more going on in the intersection of the Mac and Java worlds than we've fully accounted for, which is one reason starting a java.net community makes sense. By giving developers a place to meet, share projects, collaborate and communicate, we hope to help foster more and better applications for both.

Our front page will have updated news, features, project-spotlights, etc., of interest to the Mac Java developer. We also have a wiki, Mac Java webloggers and handy front-page links to essential FAQs and API's. But most importantly, mac.dev.java.nethosts the community projects, which include deployment technologies, Mac-specific toolkits and adapters, ports and other support for Java apps that need help running on the Mac. And more... whatever you like. If you have an idea for a project, click that request a project link to get started.

We hope you enjoy the new site. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to add them as talkbacks, or send mail to the community contacts.

Special Note: Please join us at WWDC, Wednesday June 30, from 7:30 to 9:00, for the java.net Mac Community Birds of a Feather (BoF) discussion. Here, you'll have a chance to meet the community organizers and see what the Mac Java community has to offer. Even if you're only attending JavaOne and not WWDC, we're told you'll be admitted to the Apple side of Moscone for this BoF.