This morning, Sun Microsystems has arranged a conference call with about twenty five Java Championsfrom around the world. We talked about JavaFX, a new language for development of the GUI for rich Internet and desktop applications. Java Champions were not shy to ask direct questions, and these are some of the interesting questions and answers about JavaFX:
Q. What are the plans about the painless installation of JRE? A. Sun started running compatibility tests of the upcoming small-footprint Consumer JRE all the way back to Java 1.1. Tests against Java 5 are very stable. Old applets will be also tested to ensure that they can run on Consumer JRE without problems.
Q. Why Java Swing components are selected for use with JavaFX? Why not come up with a nice looking components that could compete with, say, Flash components? A. The time is the problem, that’s why they are no plans to create a brand new set of components. JavaFX is open sources (see the project OpenJFX), and the community should create new components.
Q. What development tools are available for JavaFX? A. Currently you can develop JavaFX programs in NetBeans. Sun works on the authoring tool for designers, and it will look different – it’s going to be wysiwyg. Integrating with Adobe Illustrator is in the plans. The design tool will use time lines.
Q. When? A. You should see lots of updates on the OpenJFX Web site in the first quarter of 2008. Expect to have long beta cycles, especially to address design and compatibilities issues. Consumer JRE will be also released in the first quarter of 2008. JavaFX player should be as small as 1Mb.
Q. Why would someone switch to JavaFX? A. It’ll be open sourced, and compatible with other Java applications. It’s better than going with a company that provides a proprietary technology.
To me, this does not sound like a good reason to switch. The rich Internet applications should look competitive, and the end-users would not like the UI just because it was created with an open source technology. In general, open sourced tools have their pros and cons. Expecting a community to create new components for JavaFX sounds like a long term perspective.
Overall, it was a good conversation. Sun is reaching out to the community, and I’m looking forward to seeing more real-world sample applications created in JavaFX.
About Yakov Fain Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain
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Karsten Silz commented on 29 Sep 2007
I agree with you about the "open source is better than proprietary" comment. The end user generally doesn't care whether something was produced with an open source technology or with a proprietary one, as long as (s)he can see the end results for free. With (parts of) Flex being open-sourced, that argument doesn't even hold that much against Flex. And that there are no really new components due to a lack of time really sucks - developers want to have nice components to build apps with, so that's a serious handicap. Finally, the "community" creates components for what's popular, not just for something which is open source (see VisualBasic- / COM-components), and Flex already has a huge component community.
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