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JavaFX Revisited: Moving Forward

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One of the most popular polls we've had on JavaLobby recently was based around the future of JavaFX. The poll started a healthy discussion covering different perspectives on that state of JavaFX. From the poll choices, most people went along with the idea that Oracle should give up on JavaFX. The success of HTML5 makes many question whether there is a need for RIA technologies such as JavaFX, Flash and Silverlight anymore. The next most popular choice was for Oracle to open source JavaFX.

The poll makes things look fairly bleak for JavaFX, so I was happy to see a more positive post discussing "Moving JavaFX Forward". This post lists out some applications that use JavaFX, and that's a good start. We need to see more applications out in the wild. But more importantly for me, we need to see quality JavaFX applications on mobile devices.

The post also backs up the popular community opinion that JavaFX should go open source:

Right now JavaFX is at a crossroads with its reasonable level of success and adoption. In order for JavaFX to move forward further it must be FULLY open sourced in order to reach greater success and adoption, and to gain a solid foothold in the mobile area.

Some of the suggested paths forward for JavaFX that were raised in the poll include:
- Making JavaFX open source
- Providing better examples, with real business uses of JavaFX
- Providing more documentation
- Get mobile platforms using JavaFX, especially Android.

There's been a lot of discussion across the web about JavaFX over these past few weeks. Stephen Chin put together a petition to request that Oracle open source JavaFX. It seems that he's collected a lot of signatures already. 

Oracle's next moves with JavaFX are important. With JavaOne around the corner, they have the opportunity to show that they are listening to the Java community and open source JavaFX. Or perhaps we'll see some major demos with JavaFX on Android mobile devices. Either way, I believe that this years JavaOne is make or break time for JavaFX.


Ryan Developer replied on Tue, 2010/07/27 - 7:40am

> From the poll choices, most people went along with the idea that Oracle should give up on JavaFX.

Look again.  69% chose a positive answer, while only 32% think it should go away. (BTW the poll adds up to 101%)

In the mobile space, I don't think it is a question of web vs plugin because there is so much you cannot do with web unless you use proprietary Palm Pre APIs.  J2ME developers are craving, no, begging for Java FX to find its way into real devices (out of the box) that consumers care about. Android would be a great start.

In the desktop RIA space, there has always been a web vs plugin debate.  The same Java developers that chose Flash would probably prefer to use an all Java solution if it were as mature.  It's the same as .NET developers prefering Silverlight.  Sun still hasn't released even a preview of the designer tool (similar to Flash Studio), but I've got my fingers crossed for a beta release at JavaOne 2010.  We also need more real world business application UI components built-in, like the ones Flex provides to developers.  Sure we could use 3rd party component suites, but don't be like JSF which forces us to use a 3rd party component suite if we want to use something fundamental like radio buttons in a non-linear fashion.  I can't believe JavaFX comes with sophisticated charts, but not sophisticated tables. 

I don't know for sure, but I get the impression that there are more Java EE/web developers than Java Swing developers.  Unlike Swing developers, web developers are not insulted by Java FX and I think they are much less concerned about having to learn Java FX script since they already had to learn JavaScript to do web work.  Some had to learn ActionScript to do Flash.  Some had to learn Objective C to program on iPhone. Before forming an opinion about Java FX Script, understand the reasons Chris Oliver had for designing it that way. 

If Oracle does invest a lot of money in Java FX and it becomes competitive to Flash & Silverlight, I think everyone will eventually forget how long it took to get there and many developers will just use it. 

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