JavaFX Finally Makes Its Debut

Sun's cross-platform language enters into the RIA space with a few new features not previously disclosed.

Sun Microsystems today formally released JavaFX 1.0, its Java-based platform for building rich Internet applications (RIAs) that can run on computers or mobile devices and built on its widely-used Java programming language.

Java has always been a programmer's language, but with the release of JavaFX, Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA), is allowing the task of programmatic content creation to shift to designers, whose focus is on the art of design, not the science of programming.

"Our target audience are people that we call creators," Octavian Tanase, senior director of the Java Platform Group at Sun told "With the 1.0 release, we are targeting Web developers, people that are likely going to extend the experience of the Java interface. By 2011, the primary target will be designers, the people who use rich designing tools like [Adobe Systems'] Flash."

Of course, the road to a design-oriented tool will take a while. Sun eventually plans to have its own application for designers to use to build RIAs, but for now, they will have to use either the NetBeans or Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), which is used by programmers. Those newer tools will come out next summer.

The JavaFX that shipped Thursday is for desktop computers. A mobile edition is planned for Summer, 2009.

The JavaFX Production Suite is a set of tools and plug-ins for Eclipse and NetBeans with features such as single-click conversion of media formats to JavaFX and the ability to reuse the assets across all browsers on multiple platforms.

AJAX (define) code, which is written in JavaScript, can be imported and used in a JavaFX application so existing apps can be ported to JavaFX. By converting it to JavaFX, it gets the full power of Java, so it's not as restricted as AJAX, which has a lot of limitations due to being based on the simpler JavaScript scripting language.

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Tags: browsers, programming, Sun Microsystems, media, desktop

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