RSyntaxTextArea and Java 1.4 Support

Does anybody really need Java 1.4 support anymore?  RSTA is one of the few remaining, active Swing libraries that supports this ancient version of Java.  It reached its EOL in 2008 (almost 5 years ago!), and even its extended support ended in February 2013.  Being a syntax highlighting text component, there hasn’t really been anything added to the JDK from Java 5 onward that would benefit it, so I’ve been keeping its minimum JRE version back at 1.4, just to keep it as “compatible” as possible.  However, there are a few drawbacks because of this:

  1. There is one API change in the JDK that occurred between Java 1.4.2 and 1.5 that affects RSTA.  The code in the repository builds cleanly when built with a true 1.4 JDK, but you will receive an error for XmlParser.java when building with Java 5+ (even if you set -source 1.4).  When building RSTA with the included Ant build scripts, you will get a big fat explanation of this spit to stdout, so you know rectify the situation if it happens to you (just add a throws-clause to a single method), but Java novices may not fully understand what’s not working.  Moving the bar up to 1.5 will clean this issue up entirely.
  2. For JavaScript code completion, RSTALanguageSupport has a dependency on Mozilla Rhino, which is developed with Java 5 but offers a 1.4-supporting version, I believe using Retroweaver.  While this is fine and dandy, and everything works, a future version of Rhino may well not include a pre-built 1.4-compliant Rhino jar, and I certainly don’t want to be in the business of building and supporting it myself.  It would be a little nicer if this nuance weren’t there.
  3. One area where the JDK does offer nice new functionality for an editor like RSTA is XML parsing.  We could add schema-based squiggle underline validation to XML files.
  4. It would be a little nice to modernize the code base.

If anyone feels strongly that we should keep releasing pre-built versions of RSTA that run on Java 1.4, please let me know, preferably in the forums.

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