Sun Ships JavaFX Rich Internet Application Platform

Sun Microsystems has released its JavaFX rich Internet application platform that puts the company in competition with Adobe and Microsoft in the RIA space. Despite its come-from-behind status, Sun officials believe JavaFX has a chance to gain ground because it is based on the ubiquitous Java language.

Sun Microsystems has released JavaFX, which the company bills as one of the most significant advancements to the Java platform.

With the release of JavaFX 1.0 on Dec. 4, Sun delivers a new platform that merges form and functionality for building RIAs (rich Internet applications) with immersive media and content for Web browsers and desktops.

In an interview with eWEEK, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz called JavaFX "one of the most important innovations to come out of Sun."

In a separate eWEEK interview, Param Singh, senior director of Java marketing at Sun, said the JavaFX 1.0 release includes three components: the JavaFX Development Environment, the JavaFX Production Suite and the JavaFX Desktop.

Click here to read "Sun Microsystems: The Innovator's Dilemma."

The JavaFX Development Environment includes the compiler and run-time tools, graphics, media, Web services, and rich text libraries, along with the NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment) 6.5. It also includes JavaFX plug-ins for both NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs. In addition, the JavaFX Development Environment includes a mobile emulator for developers to preview building mobile applications with JavaFX.

"Our design goal has been to create an environment that would let designers and developers architect an application once and have it run across all their screens," Singh said. "Mobile is the first instantiation of this. At JavaOne we committed to deliver the mobile run-time by early 2009."

The JavaFX Production Suite is a set of tools and plug-ins that allow Web designers to dramatically reduce production times, Singh said. Single-click conversion for media formats to JavaFX allows graphics assets from design programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, to be easily incorporated into JavaFX applications. Using the JavaFX Production Suite, developers can collaborate more efficiently with graphics designers through a simple exchange of media assets, Singh said. In addition, the resulting applications will maintain a consistent look and feel across all browsers on multiple platforms, the company added.

The JavaFX Desktop leverages the major features of Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) 6 Update 10, such as the new implementation of the Java plug-in, which allows consumers to drag and drop applets that are running in their browser directly onto their desktop and provides a widgetlike experience for all of their Java applications and applets.