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Sun's JavaFX debuts with familiar cast

Determined to resist RIA success

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You have to respect Sun Microsystems' persistence on NetBeans - repeatedly trying to get you to inadvertently use the thing by including it with other stuff.

Sun is today taking another crack with the first code to be released in its Rich Internet Application (RIA) roadmap - a preview of JavaFX, unveiled in May 2007. The preview consists of an SDK, plug-ins for Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator, and an updated Java Runtime Environment (JRE) that lets you drag a running applet out of a browser and on to the desktop.

Did I mention a NetBeans 6.1 plug-in is also included?

Yes, apart from being behind Adobe and Microsoft in launching finished code for RIAs, Sun seems determined to further harm JavaFX's chances of uptake by coupling it with the open-source Java integrated development environment. NetBeans 6.1 will provide a "sophisticated development environment to build, preview and debug JavaFX applications," Sun said.

Sun's JavaFX preview features a tool codenamed Project Nile that'll install a plug-in for Photoshop and Illustrator to import media assets like PNG files or video into a NetBeans FX project file. Changes made by designers to the media files are incorporated into the FX file. Web scripters create JavaFX applications using NetBeans 6.1 through Sun's plug-in. Also included in the JavaFX preview SDK are compilers, 2D graphics and media libraries, tutorials, code and APIs.

JavaFX NetBeans plug in: Sun

JavaFX: you want NetBeans with that?

Sun said version 1.0 of JavaFX Desktop, due this fall, will target coders using scripting - an area where NetBeans is considered to have made radical improvement.

Version 2.0, and here's where it gets sketchier, will provide capabilities for designers with "drag and drop to create a project visually," senior director of Java marketing Param Singh told The Register. Designers won't "need to go into an IDE environment, they [will] work in a layout environment."

The point at which Sun can be considered to be getting into the design tools business and when Adobe will decide Sun's trampling on its toes is unclear. Singh said Sun is working with third parties for this visual environment.®

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