The Java SE 7 API specification (colloquially known as javadocs) have received a stylistic facelift. Compare v7 with v6. What do you think? Do you think it’s an improvement? Do you think it was even necessary? My opinion is twofold.
Firstly, although overall the javadocs appear to look nicer and more professional and corporate (as opposed to academic), when it comes to the method specifications, they aren’t as visually prominent as they were before due to the styles and colours overwhelming the text. In this respect both the styles and the colour of the text are subtle making them more difficult to tell apart. It’s not as clear as bold blue on white as it was before. This means that the reader will probably have to start reading the text to tell methods apart instead of just glancing at the visual image which was previously quite striking. A friend of mine also mentioned that there was just too much going on in terms of boxes too and I can see what he means.
Secondly and this is the more important point – if at all they had decided to spend time on enhancing the javadocs what required the most attention was in fact the navigability and searchability. The activity that takes up most of my time when using javadocs is finding the pieces of information i’m interested in. Better indexing and type ahead retrieval for classes, packages, properties and methods would be immensely useful rather than relying on the browser multiframe search which can fail at times by searching in the wrong frame. And before anyone mentions this I’m aware that there are third party sites which do such indexing and retrieval but I want this officially. So, that’s my 2p Oracle. I appreciate the time you’ve put in to the Javadocs but there’s much more room for improvement. Being a purist I really feel that, with this, it is more about content and usability than it is about appearance.
P.S. I think the new Google dark colour scheme and navigation bar is absolutely horrid. I want the old google back! 😦