Sun Microsystems recently released the JavaFX Preview SDK. I decided to revisit what is Sun's last, best hope to recapture both the desktop and the browser in the face of stiff competition. The big question with Java FX is why anyone would want to adopt it when they've already got Adobe Systems' Flex and Microsoft's Silverlight …
If you're having trouble locating the "grey link on a grey background, hidden in the bottom right", you can try clicking the "Sample JavaFX applications" link in the main menu on each page. Hint: It's the 6th link in white text on a black background down from the top, out of 16 links.
Flash on mobile
"should, do well because it offers the chance to have applications run on the desktop and mobile, unaltered"
Adobe's OpenScreen project, which had serious packing at the launch, promises just that already. Plus it's already trivial to share code between the web and the desktop with AIR.
"grey link on a grey background"
a pale tribute to Disaster Area's stunt ship, perhaps? Crashing into the Sun, see? No? Okay then...
why run unaltered?
Handsets are catching up in terms of power and resources available to the developer, but why would the goal be to have software run unaltered on both a big system (desktop/laptop) and a handset? The user interfaces will in many cases be completely different. In that case wouldn't it be better to have a smart server-side system that can push different class files/byte code (or whatever) out to the user depending on their client-side device (i.e. capabilities or user preference). The developer develops all his (or her) heavy duty work classes once, but can have multiple UIs available.
Not all javafx apps suck
The Sun samples are pretty minimalistic (and definitely not designed by a graphics design expert), but that is not due to an inherent limitation in the technology. Although there are no WYSIWYG design tools, the scene graph support with stackable effects can be used to create some pretty impressive user interfaces with very concise code. (and everyone knows WYSIWYG designers only work on toy applications anyway)
As an example, WidgetFX is an open-source javafx framework similar to Yahoo Widgets or Google Gadgets, which shows a little more of the potential of the framework:
Glad I am not a Sun shareholder.
Lets see thay have spent considerable resources to develop a product that thye cannot sell but only give away ( all in the best traditions of Sun's software "sales").
There is already a clear market leader in this area (Adobe) who offer a superb and well liked product for this niche.
And a company which spends Suns R&D budget on coffee for its staff has just released a fairly well finished competitor.
To say nothing of the folk memory of all those lame java "applets" that were going to revolutionise the internet. They are on to a serious loser unless the product was truly slick -- which it is not.
Perhaps Sun's management needs to go back to business school, hint businesses usually exchange "products" (something the customer actually wants) for "money" ( dollars and euros, remember back in 1999 when customers gave Sun money ).
Difference between designers and developers
Seems to be caring about some sort of lame WYSINWYG (the N is nearly) editor.
No one that I know who develops web applications uses a visual editor. You use a text editor, maybe with coloured highlight, you put your page together there using your understanding of html/css and whatever technology you're using to generate them. You then check it out in a browser and modify appropriately.
Pretty much agree
Indeed, a few other points:
- JavaFX support for Linux (and Solaris for that matter) sucks in many ways, those who tried different 3D/translucency/whatever demos know what I mean.
- The preview SDK is without video codecs - geee.. Video support is probably the only reason I would use JavaFX and it's not there after a year and a half of development.
- When it comes to Java on the desktop, Sun (historically) only creates decent releases for windows, the other platforms get a few bones not to starve, so among the "lots of features" that Sun praises it should never forget to put a sticker "implemented for windows only so far", or "works well on windows only".
- Sun is trying to compete in all imaginable fields (desktops, servers, mobiles, robotics, you name it) and since it can't manage to do this all it took/takes years to develop stuff (like JavaFX). This is clearly a sign of management problems, in other words it spells (I learned it btw from a Sun employee) "Don't bite off more than you can chew".
Demos that teach how to create JavaFX custom UI controls
Regarding demos, I'd like to recommend a series of blog posts that I've been creating: In this series, I'm working with graphics designer Mark Dingman of Malden Labs on an imaginary Sound Beans application. The objectives are to show how to create custom UI controls in JavaFX, and to provide a case study in how a graphics designer and an application developer can work together effectively in developing JavaFX applications. Each article contains the source code and Java Web Start to run the application. Here's the link to the series:
lack of usability for that site right on the money
it is one of those a designer's wet dream style site.
We will be so interested in moving the junk around, we will become one with the interface. Well, no we won't, we will move one thing, and rapidly lose interest, then post a scathing comment on El Reg.
Could be interesting technology, I will just wait until they get their info site sorted out first though.
And someone is hinting that they are using GUIs to build websites, that is sacrilege; everyone has been told to use a text editor, many times, there is no excuse.
Oh Sun, why don't you just help out with getting IE knocked off the number one slot, and throw a few developers at Mozilla, or invest some cash their way, that is the way to look a bit funky and poke MS in the eye. If the web was mainly Mozilla browsers, then it would get really interesting out there, IE is the main blocker of any particular good idea.