JavaFX takes center stage at JavaOne (updated)

JavaFX takes center stage at JavaOne (updated)

Summary: Sun is set to shake up the world of software development with the unveiling of JavaFX, a new product family that will cover a complete spectrum of development from the desktop to the Web to mobile devices. Formerly referred to by the codename "F3", JavaFX Script and the JavaFX platform will rejuvinate the Java development community and place it squarely in the path of Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight. NetBeans and Eclipse plug-ins are now available for developers.

TOPICS: Oracle, Open Source

Sun is set to shake up the world of software development with the unveiling of JavaFX, a new product familyJavaFX takes center stage at JavaOne that will cover a complete spectrum of development from the desktop to the Web to mobile devices. The JavaFX platform will rejuvenate the Java development community and place it squarely in the path of Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight. But the vision for JavaFX is much more ambitious.

The first product in the JavaFX family will be JavaFX Mobile. Traditionally a safe territory for Java ME (Micro Edition) based programs, mobile devices are increasingly the target of competing technologies such as Flash Lite and Silverlight Embedded. Rather than see this lucrative market slip away, Sun hopes to leapfrog the competition with JavaFX. According to Rich Green, Sun VP of Software, "JavaFX Mobile is a complete software system from the metal on up." JavaFX Mobile is largely based on the work done by SavaJe, a company Sun recently acquired that made pure-Java cell phones.

A new scripting language for Java called JavaFX Script (formerly referred to by the codename "F3") is "focused on the content-authoring and creation crowd," according to Green. "It is a means of creating visually impactful, high-performance, dramatic Web and network-facing artifacts or experiences that run all the way from the desktop running Java SE (Standard Edition) all the way down to mobile devices powered by JavaFX Mobile." Because it is based on the same core virtual machine as regular Java, JavaFX Script programs will have access to a vast array of existing code and libraries.

JavaFX will be open sourced under the same GPLv2 license used by Java SE (standard edition) and Java ME (mobile edition). Commercial licenses will be available as well.

Statements from Sun executives so far indicate that it will rely on the user already having installed the Java SE/ME runtime. For mobile devices this won't be a problem because when you buy a phone it will come with Java already installed. But for desktop users this might mean a big download and frequent updates, a strategy that has failed in the past. By contrast, Flash installs are "frictionless" with no user questions, no scary security warnings, and usually not even a need to restart the browser (let alone the whole computer).

Update: In an afternoon session, Java SE Platform lead Danny Coward acknowledged problems with the Java install's download size and user experience, and indicated his team was working on a special release called the "Consumer JRE". This will let applets and applications start much more quickly. He also referred to the Java Kernel project which aims to modularize the JRE. "The user can take a minimal version sufficient to run basic apps," according to Danny, "with the rest of the platform downloaded in parallel." The time frame for when this will be available was unclear.

NetBeans and Eclipse plug-ins are available now for authoring JavaFX Script content, as are the JavaFX Script runtime, library source, and demo source code files. Developers have already demonstrated conversion utilities for translating Flash and SVG files into the JavaFX Script format. No date has been set for a production release yet.

See also (updated):

Topics: Oracle, Open Source

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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  • The runtime is 13 MB!!

    not 50 MB. The JDK is 50 MB.
    • Runtime size

      Thanks, I've made an edit for that.
      Ed Burnette
  • No smooth deployment available

    What ultimately turned me away from Java as a developer was the lack of a streamlined deployment technology that was seamless for users. Mark up another win for .NET!
    • Deployment

      I agree, speed and ease of deployment is key to desktop adoption. Sun briefly talked about that in this morning's keynote, and hopefully Brewin's talk this afternoon will have some good news in that area.
      Ed Burnette
  • Java 2 version 1.6 sdk 9?

    Java has no streamlined development or deployment scenario and they suffer from their own marketing hype. FIX THE VERSIONING. I hate the versioning of their systems...

    Until they can figure out how to build A RUNTIME, not 12 of them that are incompatible and all have different supported features they will not take off. Think Dot Net. You get ONE runtime for everyone. Not a beans, EJB, containers, JDK / VDK, alphabet soup. PICK ONE, enforce it.
    • WTF?

      Sun has changed the versioning of Java since Java 5 (note it's not Java 2 1.5). Java 6 is Java 6, 7 will be 7 etc.

      As far as deployment, Java has this nailed. They have a 13MB runtime download (which is already pre-installed on all new PCs anyway). Once Java is installed, you single-click to launch Java apps via Java WebStart (ripped off by Microsoft's "innovative" single-click launcher for .NET).

      As far as "streamlined" development in the Java world, take your pick. Eclipse is hands down the best IDE for any language. However, if you don't like Eclipse, then using NetBeans or IntelliJ aren't far behind.

      Sounds to me like you're highly misinformed. Or worse, you've invesnted so much time in MS technologies, that you're very threatened by the dominance of Java, and you're just trying to spread FUD.

  • JavaFX is DOA on the desktop without the Consumer JRE

    Sun ignores the desktop again.

    I'm not surprised since desktop support doesn't help Sun sell hardware. But since Silverlight helps MS sell Windows I guess I share something in common with MS - an interest in making good web applications.
  • A very important move for Sun ..

    I do not like to write about what I do not know or had any experience, but this looks very very promising.
    A major move to Sun ...

    I think finally Sun is really waking up and taking more care of the Software side of their business.
    They are very well positioned and this is one more tool to let them be even more well positioned in a large range of applications.
    Way to go Sun.