Feeds

Sun's JavaFX must toolup against Adobe - pronto

Ask not for whom the school bell tolls...

Boost IT visibility and business value

JavaFX, part 2 Sun Microsystems lost the first Rich Internet Application (RIA) war when Macromedia (now part of Adobe) ate its applets for lunch following a schoolyard brawl. Now Sun has a second chance.

But, to succeed in such an unforgiving market, Sun needs something special. A mature, powerful platform, a buzzing community, some seriously talented people with an eye for visual design, and some butt-kicking WYSIWYG tools so that non-programmers are invited to the party as well.

JavaFX ticks some of these boxes, and it has tools on the way. These tools, though, are going to make or break its chances. And they're a little late, to be honest. Spring 2008 was mentioned for the visual development environment. Spring has given way to glorious summer.

Currently there's a limited NetBeans plug-in that provides some text editing and compiler support, but that's as far as it goes. There is no tree-based navigator view of a file, there's no properties view of the current node - you just have to either guess or know what properties are available or valid. And, above all, there is (as yet) no WYSIWYG graphical user interface editing. These are all things you currently get for Swing development.

If Sun's goal is to compete with Adobe's Flash or Silverlight from Microsoft, then a Matisse-based visual editor should have been one of the first toys to be pulled out of the box. It should be right at the center of the rich client development experience rather than a "potential add-on some time", leaving third-party vendors to pick up the slack.

Hard lessons of EJB

My main concern with JavaFX, though, is that there is no clearly targeted audience. Web designers? Java-literate programmers? What problem is Sun attempting to solve here? JavaFX is very programmer-centric, but not even as "friendly" as Swing.

Even those involved in its development don't appear to be sure. In this interview, senior engineer in Sun's Java client group Amy Fowler is asked about the target audience for JavaFX. Her reply suggests that there just isn't a clear answer at the moment. She divides JavaFX into two conceptual areas and talks about each area separately. This harkens back to the artificial separation of roles in the original Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) spec.

Given the success of Adobe's Flex, the mission statement for JavaFX should simply be: make JavaFX 1.0 just like Flex.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Next page: Java advantage

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?