Sun's JavaFX = Microsoft Silverlight (in theory, at least)

Summary:At JavaOne today, Sun announced a new Java scripting environment and a new Java platform of tools and software that it plans to make consistent across everything from cell phones to desktops for "all of human kind." So is Sun's newly unveiled JavaFX really a Microsoft Silverlight killer?

At JavaOne today, Sun announced a new Java scripting environment and a new Java platform of tools and software that it plans to make consistent across everything from cell phones to desktops for "all of human kind."

So is Sun's newly unveiled JavaFX really a Microsoft Silverlight killer?

It's hard to say, as Sun was pretty vague about exactly what JavaFX will look like and do, other than to say the platform will be built on top of Java SE, the Java Platform Standard Edition. Sun execs also said that both the development tool components and all of the JavaFX platform itself will be open-sourced -- something that neither Microsoft nor rich-content plug-in vendor Adobe is doing.

Both JavaFX and Silverlight are target the Rich Internet Application (or Rich Interactive Application, if you are Microsoft) market. Microsoft has a plethora of development and media-authoring tools targeting Silverlight available either in final or beta form. The "content-authoring tool" that Sun is planning to develop around JavaFX Script for creative professionals is "coming soon," Sun execs said on Tuesday.

On May 8 at the kick-off of JavaOne, Sun unveiled the first pieceof JavaFX, which is JavaFX Mobile, and promised it would revolutionize developers' and consumers' Java and computing experience. Comparatively, Microsoft hasn't talked a whole lot (so far) about its mobile-phone strategy for Silverlight.

Sun didn't announce a JavaFX distribution deal with Adobe, as their executives hinted at the Community One event yesterday. I guess they were impying that Adobe's Flash team should be quaking in its boots over JavaFX...Hmmm.)

Both Microsoft and Sun have a lot of work to do to turn their RIA strategies into reality. I feel like Microsoft has more tangible deliverables -- as well as a more solid distribution plan -- for Silverlight than Sun has for JavaFX. In some ways, Sun's JavaFX fannouncement elt more to me like Sun's to reset Java and get the platform back on track than to break new ground. 

What's your take on the Silverlight vs. JavaFX match-up? 

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source, Oracle, Software Development

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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