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JavaFX, You've Come A Long Way

02.19.2010
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When you think about it, JavaFX has always been treated as the odd-one-out of the Java technology stack. Everyone else seems happy with Flash and SilverLight, and thinks that Java doesn't belong in the RIA field. But it seems as some people still have faith in JavaFX. It's time for a little bit of reflection...

The site for the Vancouver Winter Olympics utilizes JavaFX for their medal view application. It's about time that JavaFX was used in major sites like this, and I think it's a great showcase of JavaFX. 

The app looks really neat with a nicely rendered view, and seems fairly responsive. The installation time was no big deal for me - all I had to do was click ok and it showed up a few seconds later. Some people have been more critical of both JavaFX and this app in particular.  I think JavaFX has to start somewhere in gaining credibility as a technology. The Winter Olympics is as good a place as any for those new beginnings. 

So, if anyone from Sun/Oracle is reading this, I have a few requests to help JavaFX on it's way: 

  • Please give us a better stack of demos than what's up on the JavaFX site right now. I want to see everything that it can do (and more) as written by the experts.
  • In the next few months, or by JavaOne at the latest, give us a real killer feature that will bring JavaFX up to the major league.  
  • Along with the demos I mentioned above, we need more examples. Lots more.
  • Start convincing sites to adopt JavaFX. A good start to this would be to find out the reasoning why JavaFX was chosen over Flash/Silverlight for the Winter Olympics site.
  • This is a huge ask, maybe even impossible... But if I could cross compile my JavaFX source to iPhone source I promise to use JavaFX more.
I've often asked you what you think of JavaFX. What I want to hear from you now is not the problems, but the things that can be done to really push JavaFX to the next level and make it a real contender.

 

Comments

Vladimir Vivien replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 11:14am

@James, you have captured some great points about how far JavaFX has come and where it needs to go.  Although I dont see the iPhone idea taking shape any time soon. 

One missing piece point is effective marketing.  Sun can be accused of many thing, but one was not marketing to developers.  I recall when Flex was ready for the rest of the masses to use, Adobe used top Java developers (Thinking in Java author, Bruce Eckel)  to hold the megaphone and spread the word about the coolness of Flex/flash.  Granted at that time, the platform was halfway decent and usable.  I hope Oracle does a similar marketing blitz and push JavaFX hard when the platform is stable enough to be handed to the masses.

Max Katz replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 11:42am

James - great points!  I would also like to add this:

1) Improve start up time

2) Make it really really simple to download and install Java runtime on the client.

Max
http://mkblog.exadel.com

Arek Stryjski replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 11:51am

I have only one request:
  • JavaFX (or F3 as it was named then) was invented to replace swing. Please fulfil this single promise, and allow us to build cool business applications (with JavaFX alone, or by mixing it with swing components).

We are Java developers, our clients don't ask us for cool animations, they are coming to us when they need business application.
Please serve your market first, before you go to another.

Reza Rahman replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 12:55pm in response to: Vladimir Vivien

Vladimir,

* I hope Oracle does a similar marketing blitz and push JavaFX hard when the platform is stable enough to be handed to the masses.* - Amen to this. Sun did really suck at getting the word out, both for developrs and on the sales end...the other thing they sucked at is getting engineering right the first time around...

Cheers,

Reza

Thierry Milard replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 2:56pm

 

- Easy to deploy (java or javaFx)

- still better startup time

- Call javaFx component inside java-swing  (so a step by step javaFx can occur).

Thierry

 

Mister Pink replied on Fri, 2010/02/19 - 5:00pm

Startup time and to have to learn a new language really kills FX.

I'm very fond of Java. But if I already have to learn a new language, I could learn Flash as well...

Oliver Weiler replied on Sat, 2010/02/20 - 4:25am in response to: Mister Pink

You made a good point. My biggest complaint it that the tutorials (which, well, suck!) are not aimed at Java Developers but programming newbies. I'm learning JavaFX for some weeks now, and it is actually quite easy to learn for someone with a Java background.

 

What we need is a concise tutorial for Java developers, focusing on the differences and equivalencies of Java and JavaFX in order to reach those Java programmers.

 

Did I mention the documentation sucks???

Sergey Surikov replied on Sat, 2010/02/20 - 4:25am

See JavaFX demos at http://jfxstudio.wordpress.com/author/surikov/

Webservices, databases etc. All you need for business applications.

RIchard replied on Sun, 2010/02/21 - 3:17am

I could be wrong, But I'm thinking that its just too late. I use Ajaxish web utilities and they render quite fast now. IE even has a canvas plugin or better yet chrome plugin. The era of plugins is over, sadly.

James Ward replied on Sun, 2010/02/21 - 4:44pm

The Vancouver Winter Olympics site is also using Flex.  There is certainly a place for Flex, Silverlight, JavaFX, and Ajax in the future of software.

Fabrizio Giudici replied on Mon, 2010/02/22 - 10:59am

@Vladimir: very good point.

 

Let's add the mobile stuff. Some pointed out that at the recent Barcelona fair there were no JavaFX announcements (with the exception of feature phones, which aren't the main aspect of the market). I somewhat expected since I believe that it's 99% a business thing and Oracle completed the acquisition too recently. But the future of JavaFX Mobile is bound IMO to the fact that within the summer Oracle announces that it runs on Android, Symbian and RIM. If I'm not wrong this would cover more or less 50% of the smartphone market. The choice of deploying first to Windows Mobile has been the most unfortunate decision in the JavaFX area. It has been told multiple times that they have already the prototypes working, so it's just a matter of business deals. Also, Oracle need to complete the JavaFX Player that runs on top of plain JME - this would give compatibility (even though through an additional installation step) to the current huge spread of JME

Nick Apperley replied on Mon, 2010/02/22 - 1:56pm

James Ward, the website you were referring to is not the official Winter Olympics one. The actual website is here.

Ivan Lazarte replied on Mon, 2010/02/22 - 3:34pm

"Powered by JavaFX" Are they joking? these reeks of last gasp marketing/doa technology. Once again, (even though it will fall on deaf ears), please give regular us java applets instant start up time so JAVA developers can compete with flash. If you do that, projects like Apache Pivot and LWJGL will take care of the rest. Anything else is a waste of my time - I have no interest in learning a scripting language; my js is just as strong as my java so if I'm scripting i'll be doing it completely in Javascript. I'll make one possible exception for something like Processing, but when I use that I code in the Java api anyway. I agree with Richard - the time of plugins is nearing to a close - they're at the point where they can render 3d scenes with browser opengl implementations, why exactly would I care about Javafx at all when it's the distant 5th place behind Flash, Silverlight, state of the art browsers, and traditional applet implementations?

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