04 December 2008
Finally, JavaFX 1.0 – it's been 2 long years, but I'm glad to see this thing get going. Even if it shares the same fate as Silverlight and becomes a clumsier Flash, it's still a MUCH more agile Java. As the libraries enabled via JavaFX are all just Java code, you can still leverage them in standard Java. You needn't use JavaFX, for example. This means that the amazing integration with video and audio is yours for the taking.
It is unfortunate that they haven't released the Linux bits, yet. But that will change, and in the meantime, 1.0 is chock full of goodies. The blogosphere's been abuzz with information leading up tot the 1.0 release. People are interested in graphics on the Java platform (again?)! I've seen everything from information on using Java Webstart with JavaFX (do you remember Java Webstart? That was something I always wished had taken off), information on using the toolkit with Maven, information on using it on Linux (why does every neat graphical platform have to support Linux last? Flash: I don't understand why Flex took so long to get there. Silverlight... well, I'm pleased it ran on more than one version of Windows, so no complaints, I suppose as I should've known. But Java?) and more.
I have some questions: what's the video streaming solution look like on this platform? On the Flash platform you typically use something like LightHTTPD or Nginx and use Flash Video (or, now, H264). I understand that On2 is going to be providing a format for video (similar to FLV?) just as they did for the Flash platform. Do the same rules apply with respect to security and performance? What about remoting? My understanding is that JavaFx will have considerable support for this (which should come as no surprise given the incredible wealth of remoting toolkits on the Java platform) and will even respect the crossdomain.xml file (which comes from the Flash platform).
All in all, this is exciting and I can't wait to see where the platform goes from here. The other redeeming value about JavaFX is the unification of the paradigms: working in J2ME meant learning one set of APIs (CLDC, Midlets, J2ME Polish, and more recently, LWUIT), working on Java on the desktop meant SWT, or Swing (which meant... clawing your eyes out using a toothbrush), and working on the server meant using a web framework that didn't have any rich client functionality. Now, it's JavaFX for the desktop, the client, the mobile clients and soon, the TV. This is very promising.