20 May 2007

Living in a post JavaONE world

Now, just after JavaONE we all know that Java is now on the client quest.

Almost everyone is speaking about JavaFX, but there is Consumer JRE . All of these are steps in the right direction- smaller Java package and easier creation of rich Swing/Java2D content are very good first steps.

Many of people around are talking about post JavaONE Java is after Flash. JavaFX Script/F3 demos are all copies of Flash based products, but there are all WebStart applications not applets. So those aren't competitors for web arena, rather for RIA's. So what about Web in-browser? What about all those flashy, colorful animations, buttons, small sized and easy to create? BTW, do you know that there is already a tool for JavaFX visual creation? It's called JFXBuilder. IMHO Reportmill is one of those companies that have problems with marketing. When I first enetered their site I thought "this site doesn't look good, this JFXBuilder might be disappointing" seriously I was worried that this JFXBuilder is a software not worth looking at. I was wrong. Although time management in animation is kind of awkward, because there is no timeline, overall this tool shows the possibilties that JavaFX Script might bring to conent creator, but more importantly it shows that developing authoring tools for JavaFX Script is easy.

And audio/video, what about Java codecs? I'd like to know what Sun's engineers think about Ogg codec family... Are those might be the answer for Java multimedia problem? Ogg codec family is open source, works and performs well right now so why not? And being open they are ready to be even more fine-tuned by Sun and community around OpenJDK. Fluendo has an Java applet that shows the quality of Ogg/Vorbis/Theora video playback compared to wmv and Flash. It plays video, but a little worse then competition. Not to mention applet start up time in comparison to flashy Flash or WMP, but it's being addressed by Sun's engineers.

In one of Java Posse's podcast one javaposser, I believe it was Tor, mentioned that open sourced media solutions in existence might not be enough due to quality (but this can be improved, since it is open source, right?). I was surprised that they didn't know there is Ogg video codec. Not that Java Posse creators are media gurus, but I thought they had some time and interest to investigate that. Not that they are always well prepared for theirs podcasts ;).

I've seen JMC (Java Media Components) proposal by Chet Haase on his blog and I have to admit that it produced mixed feelings. Media is surely an important issue for Sun, but not enough important to pay for codecs. Sun has developed JMF, but don't want to continue it and is comming with JMC (at least this acronym sound kind of cool to me :)). I think two way (interface with native solutions and bring decent cross-platform codec to Java) solution will certainly cover the Java media problem well enough. What native solution Java will bind to? WMP on Windows I guess, QuickTime on MacOS X. And on Linux? Theora? This binding-to-native will certainly bring some problems (remember QuickTime bug that Java bindings caught?). In a Chet Haase IT Conversation's interview and comments to above mentioned blog post there suggestions that it'd be nice Java would use the same video codec that Flash has, but as I stated above Sun doesn't want to do this, because this is too expensive or put even better it doesn't fit into Sun's business model (they still want to concentrate on big clients - enterprises that is). And at the same time they want to aggressively improve client side experience? At least they don't want to over invest this.

Anyway, I am happy that Sun is looking at client side Java stuff. Be it better performance, media intergration, better features or tools. I'll take'em all with pleasure! :)

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