Feeds

Java's 'Steve Jobs' moment in 2012?

OpenJDK: Right ideas, wrong timing

The essential guide to IT transformation

Java media star?

The notable exception is JavaFX 2.0. From the dark days of JavaFX 1.0, with its weirdo scripting language and inoperability with Swing, the team appears to have completely turned the project around. JavaFXScript is gone (it survives on life support as a separate, open-source project which I expect will dwindle away). Instead the UI is controlled either by “real” Java code or via the new FXML declarative language. Flex/MXML developers should feel right at home. JavaFX 2.0 also boasts CSS support for skinning and layout of UI controls, which should finally allow web designers to get involved with a Java UI and make it look presentable.

Significantly, Swing components can now be placed inside a JavaFX Scene Graph. I do wonder if this will lead to a new breed of mixed component problems like the “heavyweight vs lightweight” issues that plagued the early days of AWT against Swing; however it demonstrates that the team is sounding all the right notes and finally recognised that there’s a lot of Swing code out there, still live, still being developed. Also, they have now provided a viable migration path for projects which may have thousands of lines of complex, business-specific UI model code that can’t just be chucked away.

Oracle was keen to point out the cross-platform nature of JavaFX, but there was no mention in the main arena of targeting Apple’s iOS or the contentious Android from Google. Multiplatform it may be, but without these key platforms, JavaFX is just not that relevant. Lucky, then, that – almost lost among the 50 or so JavaFX 2.0 sessions during JavaOne – Oracle’s senior director of software development and former Sun JavaFX team member Nandini Ramani demoed an early build of JavaFX running on an iPad 2 and a Galaxy Tab 10.1 running Android 3.1. To conform to Apple’s licensing restrictions, the iOS version links in the Java VM as part of the app, instead of launching the app inside the VM.

Thinking outside the coal bunker

Clearly there are still hurdles to overcome. For example, the demonstration used Java ME instead of “real” Java and relied on unreleased enhancements. However, the implications of this development are so huge that this – not roadmap delays – should really have been the “one last thing” in Reinhold’s keynote. The sooner that Oracle can make this project happen, the quicker it can catch up with the already successful Flex Mobile. The fact uncertainty now surrounds the future of Flex, the timing could be even better for Oracle.

The hush-hush iOS demo came as Oracle preps Project Avatar, an alternative approach to running Java on iOS devices – using HTML5 and Java ME. It shows there is a potentially glorious future in mobile outside what has been achieved in Sun’s coal bunker of the enterprise.

While Java SE churns and gets pushed back, the new initiatives do at least show OpenJDK is reinvigorating the Java space. The project has picked up speed just a little too late for the fifth anniversary of the open-sourcing of Java, but if these promised developments really do come together then that means next year should see a series of “one last things” missing from 2011. ®

Matt Stephens recently launched a travel writing site, founded independent book publisher Fingerpress, and co-authored Design Driven Testing: Test Smarter, Not Harder.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
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

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.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.