Sun Brews Up Rich JavaFX

Sun Microsystems has launched a new platform in an attempt to gain a foothold in the rapidly growing rich internet applications (RIA) space, as well as generate solutions for mobile devices and even TVs. The platform, JavaFX 1.0, seeks to let developers build Web apps with high-fidelity audio and video, rich text, vector graphics, animation and Web services for, as Sun notes, “all the screens of life.”

Because Java technology is already installed on more than 90 percent of PC desktops and laptops, can be found on 85 percent of mobile devices, and is in next-generation televisions, Blu-ray disc players, and TV set-top boxes, Sun says JavaFX opens up a vast market for developers and content authors.

“The Internet marketplace has evolved within and well beyond the traditional Web browser, fueled by an explosion of Java-powered smartphones and consumer electronics devices, from RIM’s BlackBerry to Amazon’s Kindle,” noted Jonathan Schwartz, chief executive officer and president of Sun Microsystems.

“Sun’s newest JavaFX platform unifies Java technology across billions of such devices, with an easy to use, open source platform now enabled with high-quality video and audio, targeting consumers and content owners across the world — and across the Internet,” he added.

Drag-to-Install

To get consumers interested, ease-of-use is paramount. Sun is trumpeting its Drag-to-Install feature, which lets end users drag and drop JavaFX applications directly from their browsers onto their desktops.

For developers, JavaFX avoids much of Java’s complexity and could offer a dramatically shortened production cycle and make it easier to create RIAs for desktops, browsers and mobile devices. Sun says it has a new JavaFX mobile emulator, and Sun’s JavaFX mobile platform will be available to Sun’s mobile partners in the spring of 2009.

Late to the Game

“The biggest challenge for Sun is being late to the game and also getting existing Java developers to convert from the Web application-dominated mindset to using JavaFX for their UIs (user interfaces),” Michael Cot, an analyst for RedMonk, told TechNewsWorld.

“Adobe has been courting the Java developer world with Flex for a while but hasn’t stepped up the efforts as much as Sun obviously can. That said, there is a fair amount of Flex interest at the moment,” he added.

In terms of today’s RIA competition, “It’s Silverlight vs. Flash Platform vs. JavaFX vs. Ajax,” he said, noting that Java developers tend to have a bit of Sun bias in them.

“Java developers tend to like things that come from the Java world rather than outside of it. … Still, there’s a lot of work to do to convince those developers to move away from Ajax-based Web apps as their primary UI layer,” he explained.

“It would be monumental for Java to return to the UI layer, especially with the GUI-ness that things like JavaFX brings,” he added.

Full JavaFX product details, code samples and applications, tutorials, articles and documentation for the JavaFX platform are available here.

1 Comment

  • Download video in any form will never compete with streaming video

    Download set top boxes and download portable players ( ie Blockbuster, Sling box, XBOX 360, Apple TV, VUDU, Hulu, PS3, Boxee, Silverlight ) are a thing of the past, only to be replaced by the technology used by service providers such as MyTVPAL ( http://www.mytvpal.com ) and Netflix ( http://www.netflix.com ).

    Service providers like MyTVPAL offer 1080p instant blu-ray streaming video on demand and live tv over PC Player, set top box, and I think they will have a portable device out soon.

    Keep in mind also that P2P is on the way out because it uses to much bandwidth, both up and down, and is unstable. I’m refering to service providers such as VUDU ( a one trick pony ) and Joost, who latest foray into portable video on demand on the itouch / iphone is frezing, buffering, and providing a horrible user experience even on my 6mbps connection.

    Streaming video is a great addition for live tv and video on demand, but at the end of the day only those technology companies like Matrixstream ( http://www.matrixstream.com ) will be able to support the best quality over the best effort public internet when doing a triple play ( set top box, PC Player, and portable device ) because currently where Netflix requires 8mbps for 720p streaming, MyTVPAL can support 720p streaming a 3mbps and 1080p blu-ray streaming at 6mbps.

    Keep the above in mind when considering the average person today in the United States and Canada has between 1.5 – 3.0Mbps. So While MyTVPAL can service the majority of broadband users today in the United States and Canada in both 720p and 1080p today it will be years before Netflix can service a fraction of the broadband population in high definition instant video streaming.

    At the end of the day, service providers such as Netflix and Blockbuster will have evolve to provide a service like MyTVPAL or suffer the consequences of not providing low bandwidth, instant playing, 1080p blu-ray high definition platform that we?ve come to expect from MyTVPAL ( http://www.mytvpal.com ) on PC Player, set top box, and soon I would imagine, portable player.

    Comment Guy

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