In May 2007, at the JavaOne conference, Sun announced JavaFX: a family of products for creating Rich Internet Applications for desktop, mobile, TV and other platforms (wikipedia definition). All fitting nicely in Suns credo: Write once, run everywhere.
For new RIA technologies, I am used to seeing lots of sexy demos that show off the power and slickness of this new thing (usually a rich e-mail client, a pet shop demo and a component explorer). But, except for a few rather simple gadgets, none of that came with JavaFX.
From my perspective, it hasn’t been particularly turbulent around JavaFX since that announcement at JavaOne. Only a few people seem to be (openly) experimenting with JavaFX. A notable one is James Weaver, who wrote the book JavaFX Script and provides you with a true wealth of tips, tricks and information about JavaFX on his JavaFX blog. This relative quietness gives me the impression that everyone – including the java developer community – seems to be waiting for the cat to jump. There is just a lot of scepsis around JavaFX.
However, the cat seems to be preparing herself for a jump. Recently, a new version of the Java Runtime labeled “Java 6, Update 10” was released. For JavaFX this is a rather important release, because this new runtime comes with a completely revamped Browser plugin that loads much faster and can dynamically load components in the background when they are needed. This is significant, because running Java inside a browser has a big stigma attached to it: it is sluggishly slow. Imho, if Sun wants to be rid of this stigma, they should put more effort in marketing the Java runtime update. A user will need to install this new runtime to get the best out of JavaFX. Downloading the latest Flash Player is almost a no-brainer: off course I want to update to the latest version. This is definitely not how users regard Java.
The release of JavaFX version 1.0 is scheduled for December 4th of this year. Register here for an SMS alert if you want to be among the first to download it. Or, follow me on twitter, because I will immediately tweet it out of my phone as soon as I receive it.
Will the cat jump now?