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Eric Bruno

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

JavaFX, Open Source, and other announcements

September 20, 2010

Thomas Kurian of Oracle announced that all of the JavaFX UI controls will be released to open-source when JavaFX 2.0 is release. Additionally, NetBeans will continue to be the premier Java IDE, with two releases already planned for 2011. In fact, there has been a 20% increase in downloads and usage of NetBeans over the past six months.

By opening up JavaFX to simpler Java-based APIs, through continuing improvements to the Oracle HotSpot JVM, and an improved hardware-accelerated rendering engine, JavaFX applications will benefit from an immense improvement in performance and efficiency. Nandini Ramani demoed a very complex JavaFX media application with thousands of nodes, and dozens of simultaneous HD video previews running. The performance was very impressive, especially considering the technology is not quite complete and has not yet been released.

The JavaFX API will not only be available to Java and other languages, it will be unified no matter what your target is: the desktop or the browser. In the browser, the implementation will include an HTML5/CSS rendering engine that works with modern browsers across OSs and platforms to bring HTML5 application development to Java developers transparently.

The Java VM will see improvements specifically around garbage collection for large-heap applications. The example given was a VM with low-pause collector (sub-second) with heaps in the terabyte range,

Moving on, improvements to Java EE planned for 2011 include continuing the simplification of enterprise Java applications. This includes the use of Glassfish and annotations to make it easier to launch REST-based services and other enterprise Java applications. Java EE profiles are continuing to be defined, and Oracle is looking to the community to define these profiles to meet the precise needs of enterprise developers.

Overall, Oracle is expressing their commitment to open-source development through Glassfish, NetBeans, and at least portions of JavaFX going forward. Also, Java ME will continue to be developed, and used to target lower-cost feature phones to allow people to develop world-class applications on these billions of devices. But the story doesn't end with mobile phones, but continues with other mobile devices such as Kindles, smart pens, desktop-integrated VOIP phones, and new classes of applications based on the JVM.

A lot of this discussion has been seen in the past, but something new discussed at JavaOne is the use of Java as a serious game development platform. This isn't a rehash of Chris Mellasinos and his research project, Project Darkstar, but instead a real platform ready to support millions of online gamers today. A demo was shown with the Java-based gaming platform running Star Wars: The Old Republic, which you can experience for yourself at www.starwarsoldrepublic.com.

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