JavaFX Preview SDK to be released this week

JavaFX Preview SDK to be released this week

Summary: Sun will release a preview version of the JavaFX Software Development Kit later this week, fulfilling a pledge made at JavaOne this year. Joshua Marinacci writes:I'm excited by what we've put together but also exhausted.

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Sun will release a preview version of the JavaFX Software Development Kit later this week, fulfilling a pledge made at JavaOne this year. Joshua Marinacci writes:

I'm excited by what we've put together but also exhausted. We've done an incredible amount of work during the last year. Now I know what it was like in the early days of Java. Since JavaOne 2007 we've built (from scratch), a compiler for a new language with many non-trivial features, a GUI runtime with a new graphics and animation stack, new Netbeans plugins with code completion, utilities for graphic designers, a new kind of Javadocs (rewritten from the ground up), plus docs, samples, and demos. And that's not even counting the many improvements that are going into JavaSE 6 update 10. Whew! It's been a long year.

According to Simon Brocklehurst, a few features will not make the preview release but will be coming in version 1.0 due out later this year. These include: 3d vector graphics, the ON2 VP6 codec, streaming video, and local file system access. However all the basics are there including standard UI elements, regular and key frame animation, 2d graphics, and export from Adobe Illustrator to JavaFX.

That last piece is important to Sun if it wishes to compete against Adobe’s Flash and Flex products. People working on a particular rich internet application have different skill sets. Artists need a way to develop content, such as the skin of a video player, in a tool like Photoshop or Illustrator which is optimized for their creative talent. Then they need a way to pass that content to programmers to add the behavior behind the art. Flash has had this capability for years. Instead of trying to create artist tools from scratch, Sun will try to piggyback on top of the Adobe tools through exporters. The preview version will export from Illustrator, and the final 1.0 version will export from Photoshop.

Will JavaFX be enough to unseat Flash/Flex? At this point, I just don’t see it. Flex 3 is growing like gangbusters, and Adobe controls the whole tool chain. They have the workflow covered, and they have years of experience bridging the gap from designers to developers. More importantly, Adobe has earned the trust of those same designers and developers. It’s a shame, really, but after 10+ years of leaving Java applets to wither on the vine, it’s going to take many more years for Sun to prove that it understands rich internet applications and that it can deliver a compelling vision of the future. Tellingly, even the JavaFX home page doesn't actually use JavaFX; it uses Ajax and Quicktime movies.

There are some niches, however, where JavaFX may flourish. In particular, consider environments like certain TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and mobile phones that already have Java running (sometimes as the only way to run programs). A scaled back JavaFX Mobile running on top of Java Mobile Edition (ME) will give JavaFX an instant base that can’t be ignored. It remains to be seen how much of the speed and functionality that we see on JavaFX Desktop will translate over to the mobile and embedded side, but Sun has a definite opportunity there.

Topics: Open Source, CXO, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software Development

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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12 comments
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  • is JavaFX an extension of M$ WinFX API?

    That FX sufix spells doom for me.
    Either $un have become a M$ appendice or they can't come with some original name for their aging product.
    Linux Geek
    • FX: Special Effects

      See also http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089118/ .
      merlcat
    • It's actually ...

      "we wanna be Adobe Flex but we cannot call our stuff Flex so we name it JavaFX".
      LBiege
  • RE: JavaFX Preview SDK to be released this week

    Well, how could the JavaFX home page use JavaFX if ... JavaFX is not out yet? :-)
    fabrizio.giudici
    • Developer versions of JavaFX are out

      There are developer versions of JavaFX available for download, and there are also versions of Java 6 update 10 (the version of Java that is supposed to make applets "cool" again). So it could have been done.
      merlcat
  • Java == Open Source, Adobe == !Open

    I'm not using a technology if it ain't open source - and Adobe's stuff isn't, Sun's stuff is. Pure and simple, JavaFX wins on that axis alone.

    Adobe's got no credibility in the enterprise, Sun's got infinite connectivity into the middleware stack. It's just a shame it took them so long, my God are they late.
    linuxlover2
    • LOL ...

      ...go back to the basement and smoke another joint. If you keep up this drivel you'll put Mike Cox out of work.
      croberts
      • 5.2....

        This wasn't that good. Oh wait...you were serious?
        storm14k
  • RE: JavaFX Preview SDK to be released this week

    Sorry but flash, even silverlight are light years ahead of java for this type of stuff. client side java ugh.
    jimk_z
    • JavaFX is still more than welcomed

      It takes combined effort to get rid of the AJAX plague from internet. Flash, SilverLight and JavaFX all have to pitch in to make it happen.
      LBiege
  • it's still a beta...

    not impressed
    qmlscycrajg
  • RE: JavaFX Preview SDK to be released this week

    JavaFX website is an absolute piece of crap. They said the site was supposed to be original, a new approach. This is so telling of Sun: hiring the wrong people for the task. This Joshua Marinacci guy should go back to his bare Java or probably fishing. He's way out of touch.

    The painful realization is that JavaFX appears to promise what developers and designers want. However, we learned from Sun that this promise is going to be broken over and over again, that it will take years and years before it will materialize and lastly it will lack just those few and small but critical aspects that will make it dead on arrival.

    I give you an example. You need to go to Install/Uninstall programs in Windows to get rid of any JNPL program you might have installed. Are these guys out of their minds? Imagine you have to uninstall every flash object that you view during your browsing experience.

    Those who wait on Sun end up like jilted lovers painfully explaining away why they keep waiting in the rain.

    I love java still and I despise Sun.
    florin.g