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JavaFX's Killer Feature

07.28.2008
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Many believe that JavaFX is too little too late for Sun to become a player in the rich client space, but I think that if Java 6 U10 is successful that Sun will be making it's critics eat their words.

 I recently tried to install a tool for Dojo that was created using the Adobe Air framework, at the time of installation, I was informed that "Air is not available for your platform".

You see, I'm using Linux (OpenSuse 11), and in fact most of the workstations in our office are running Linux now. The problem with Air is that it relies on a newer version of the Flash player, and that particular version isn't ready for Linux yet. This is always an issue when you are relying on something that's not truly open, such as Flash.

Sun has shown commitment to "openness" by developing FX and Java in the open source community, and it's stewardship of Java has always treated the platforms supported by Java as first class citizens, this in the long term, will be JavaFX's greatest strength.

Now before people discount Linux as a fringe platform, with Vista being a flop, there's increasing momentum towards Linux as a viable player in the corporate & consumer desktop, in fact the Asus EEPC was one of the best selling computers in 2007, and it's Linux based! Even more Linux based devices are coming from vendors such as Dell, HP, Asus, MSI and others, and JavaFX and Java will run on all of them.

I do agree that FX is getting a little late, and the time for Sun to move is now, if they don't get it out of the door soon, even the strength of the Java platform won't be enough to ensure JavaFX adoption en mass,

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Kevin Daly.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

James Ward replied on Tue, 2008/07/29 - 12:13pm in response to: Kevin Daly

As far as head start, is Java really behind? When you evaluate the WHOLE PLATFORM java has.
  • A better VM
  • Is faster
  • Many more libraries
  • more mature
  • larger community
  • etc etc...
I could go on, but I really don't have time today.


The criteria used to evaluate technologies depends heavily on what is being built and who it is being built for. Flex is not the best choice for everything. Based on the number of production Flex based RIAs, Flex seems to be the best choice most of the time for RIAs. For many of these applications a critical factor was runtime consistency and ubiquity. Flash Player is everywhere and works consistently across browsers and operating systems. In controlled environments where a specific version of Java can be guaranteed to be there Java might be a better choice for the reasons you point out above.

-James (Adobe)
www.jamesward.com

James Ward replied on Tue, 2008/07/29 - 12:39pm

Clinton Begin has posted a blog about some of my comments here. Unfortunately I can't comment on his blog and since this seems relevant to the readers of this thread I'll respond here.

Homework: Without opening Google, can you name even name one more open source project that is rife with forks and incompatibilities... ?


Java. Java. Java. And many more implementations of Java.

Interestingly many of those projects were actually there before OpenJDK. So Clinton is right that being Open Source in general does not have a direct link to incompatibilities and forks. But in the case of Flash Player... There are certain companies who might want to deliberately break compatibility of Flash Player and could do so with much less work if the Flash Player was open sourced. We've seen it done with Java. No one building Flex applications today wants to see the same thing happen with Flash Player.

-James (Adobe)
www.jamesward.com

Kevin Daly replied on Tue, 2008/07/29 - 12:49pm in response to: James Ward

James, as of this point in time (today), you're right, Flex is the best for RIAs. But as of the release of JavaFX & Java Update 10, it won't be so clear. I think Flex is a great product, but I've had as many problems with poor Flash player behavior (lock-ups Windows, Linux, Mac) as I've ever had with Java-Applets.

As far as guaranteeing a certain runtime environment over time,  nobody can do that! Are you going to guarantee to me that if I develop Flex applications that Adobe won't break something in a newer version of the Flash player, making my code dependent on a certain version of Flex? 

As Flex becomes an enterprise platform, Adobe will face the same challenges as Java has, enterprises will certify their applications to run on a given Flash player, and will refuse to upgrade to a new platform without totally re-certifying thier applications to run on the platforms. In 5 years we'll have the same mess, only with a different technogy.

Mauricio Aguilar replied on Wed, 2008/08/13 - 2:58am

I'm not sure if anybody else noticed how Java is gaining traction in the desktop arena.

I just installed some COMMERCIAL softwares in my computer and suddenly I started noticing that many of them are actually Java apps (in some of them I just discovered a Java app when I selected the About... and it displayed the JVM version it was running).

The last one I installed is an app called PersonalBrain (but I noticed several other commercial apps that require a JVM), others apps I have are Limewire, Azureus Vuze, and even Flex 3...

Does anybody else have the same feeling about something changing with Java on the desktop?

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