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Eric Bruno

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Silence is Golden

January 03, 2008

Silence may have worked in school, but not in the software industry. Hype, like it or not, can go a long way. So why has Sun gone so quiet with Java FX Script and Java FX Mobile?

I've noticed that, after much fanfare at JavaOne 2007, not much has been announced about Java FX (http://java.sun.com/javafx). Roadmaps for JavaFX Mobile (http://java.sun.com/javafx/mobile) go out for years, and Java FX Script language details are still in flux. That wouldn't be too bad if Sun kept up the awareness of the technology, which I believe holds a lot of promise.

However, I'm most concerned about Java FX Mobile. With all of the hype about the iPhone and the February delivery date of a comprehensive SDK, and now Google's Android mobile phone project, it's important for Sun to make it clear where Java FX fits in. Don't forget the rumors of Apple's pending handheld device of some sort (http://www.macrumors.com) ; will it run Java? Sun needs to clearly show where Java FX Mobile is a better alternative to these two competing platforms. In other words, Sun, generate some hype and excitement around Java FX!

Why should you care? Because Java FX gives you the ability to write cools applications of all sizes and types, and run them on desktops and mobile devices equally. Your potential market size will grow by billions. What's better, you can still write your code in Java, and use Java FX Script to simplify the otherwise tricky Swing GUI code. Java FX finally brings a viable, platform independent, easy-to-develop, GUI framework to the Java world, and Sun has been very quiet about it.

What I'd like to see are more online tutorials, with real applications for demos; developer events in major cities sponsored by Sun; partner programs where major vendors announce their commitment to the platform to expand their application support, and so on. It can't just stop at JavaOne. To be fair, Sun did recently announce a new NetBeans plug-in, and a scene graph project for Java FX Script. See the links here:

- NetBeans 6.0 Java FX Plug-in: https://openjfx.dev.java.net/javafx-nb60-plugin-install.html
- Project Scene Graph: https://scenegraph.dev.java.net/

Java FX Script is mostly open; you can download and contribute to the compiler code today (https://openjfx-compiler.dev.java.net/ ). Perhaps Sun should build Java FX Mobile in the open also. It might benefit in many ways if Sun were to open it up completely, and allow the user base, the handset manufacturers, and the operators, to guide its direction and contribute significant portions of code. What's your opinion? Would you want to get involved in such an effort? Does the expanded market base excite you as a developer? Write back and let me know.

Happy coding!
EJB

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