Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 Things You Need to Know About JavaFX 1.0

Based on Danny's Coward's Devoxx keynote...

1. It's Here! The SDK, Netbeans 6.5 with JavaFX integration, the JavaFX Production Suite, and 75 sample applications can be downloaded. The sample applications range from useful to pedantic, and Josh Marinacci has promised more applications to come.

2. Cool New Language. It is purpose built for RIA, declarative, uses data binding, and contains triggers. It will look familiar to those who have seen the Groovy builders, such as the SwingBuilder, and the data binding looks superficially similar to that of Flex. However, the JavaFX Script looks much more modern than MXML, which is a win for JavaFX.

3. Beautiful Graphics. Danny said, "Beautiful graphics are an essential component of an RIA application." JavaFX uses graphics acceleration on some platforms and has a good integration with the scene graph of the graphics created by the designers.

4. Rich API Set. There is a scene graph API, media API, and Restful web service API... plus you can import any Java library you would like.

5. Great Developer Tool. In Netbeans, JavaFX has first class project support, JavaFX code editing support, code completion, compile on save, a debugger, graphics preview, and deployment helpers.

6. Integrates into Graphic Design Tools. The focus is on the developer/designer workflow. Designers use photoshop and illustrator, and a plugin to those apps can export graphics and the layers involved to a JavaFX addressable API. Very impressive to see the layer preserving exports from the design tools.

7. Runs on multiple devices. There is a common language and no subsets (yah!). It runs on today's mobile devices on top of Java ME.

8. Built on Java. The compiler, runtime, and documentation system are familiar and field tested, and recent upgrades to the Consumerm JRE have been driven by a need from JavaFX. The Java kernel (for faster download), Java Quickstart (for faster startup), and new, robust browser plugin were all driven by a JavaFX need. Here's a text diagram of the stack:

JavaFX Spplication
JavaFX Script
Media API / Scene Graph / Web Services
Java SE / Java ME

9. Encode Once, Play Anywhere Media. Support for Mac native and windows native media, plus support for a new cross platform media (JXM or JavaFX Media?)

10. Deploys Itself. Deploys on JRE as a JNLP application. The JRE is on 9 out of 10 new PCs, so Sun has confidence in the market penetration.

There were a variety of very cool demos, including media players in a few lines of code, integrating Desktop and Mobile applications, dragging browser apps outside the browser, and running apps on the desktop.

Cool stuff and there is surely more info to come.

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