Feeds

Surreal appeal of Sun's JavaFX for mobile

Java ME a safer bet?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Review It's somehow fitting that Sun Microsystems chose Barcelona, the home of modernist architect Gaudí and this week's Mobile World Congress, to announce JavaFX Mobile 1.0 - part of the JavaFX SDK 1.1 release.

Just like Gaudí's work, there's something wavy, colorful and even surreal about Sun's shining new hope for Java. I've never seen such a show of strength mixed with this much diffidence. Sun is evidently desperate for developers to like JavaFX.

Consistency of message, though, is not Sun strong point. Here it claims there exists 2.1 billion Java-based handsets, but here it's gone for 2.6b billion, adding that eight out of 10 cats, sorry handsets, shipped in 2008 were running Java technology. That's a discrepancy of some 500 million mobile phones.

But whichever data you subscribe to, it's a compelling notion that a brand-new, graphically oriented scripting language could have this kind of installed base already at launch.

Momentously, Sun has offered JavaFX 1.1 plug-ins for both Sun's own NetBeans platform and rival development ecosystem Eclipse. But there's still no sign of a GUI editor anywhere. Major lack of kudos to Sun until this vital component, which should have been there from the beginning, eventually arrives.

NetBeans does at least provide a Mobile Emulator, with two sample devices pre-installed: an FX Phone and an FX Touch Phone. The latter emulator is shown in the screenshot below, rotated counterclockwise - shades of iPhone envy there from Sun, methinks.

JavaFX Mobile emulator

If you can touch it like an iPhone, and turn it like an iPhone...

Another mobile demo impressively shows how Java Micro Edition (Java ME) now provides access to your mobile phone's accelerometer. Developers will soon be swinging their phones like Wiimotes while the garbage collector stutters to catch up.

To achieve this, the demo delves into the javax.microedition.sensor package, viz the following JavaFX code:

var sensors = SensorManager.findSensors("acceleration", null);

And then the function to get acceleration data (called by a Timeline every 100ms) is as simple as this:

function getData():Void {
    if(accelInfo.getDataType() == ChannelInfo.TYPE_DOUBLE) {
        var data: Data[] = accelConn.getData(1);
        axisX = data[0].getDoubleValues()[0];
        axisY = data[1].getDoubleValues()[0];
        axisZ = data[2].getDoubleValues()[0];
    }
}

This is a good example of how JavaFX gains much of its power by leveraging the underlying Java software stack. Other underlying phone features are similarly exposed, such as address book, Bluetooth, camera, messaging, location, and payment.

JavaFX Mobile apps will, in theory, run on existing Java ME phones, but will require an initial download of the new platform libraries. Sun, though, has been aggressively partnering with a number of handset, carrier and mobile software partners, including LG and Sony Ericsson - though notably not yet Nokia or Samsung - to preinstall the libraries on new phones.

A major criticism of Java ME has always been the fragmentation. It's never been possible to simply write a Java ME midlet, test it on a few phones, and safely assume that it'll therefore run everywhere. Hacks and workarounds need to be factored in for pretty much each model you want to support.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
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

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?