15 Sep 2010

How is JavaFX's outlook now

JavaFX's main strength often touted is that it's cross-platform. "See JavaFX play on all the screens of your life" is direct quote from JavaFX's website. Java now is cross-platform on computers, but mobile JavaME is different version in many aspects (libraries, language level stuck at 1.3), then there's also BD-J, Java for Blue Ray players which has it's own set of libraries. And there's Java Card All of them don't even share same level of Java the language, let alone libraries and tools. JavaFX aims at gathering again those target platforms to WORA mantra with common profile which omits for example javafx.ext.swing package and for good reasons - nobody wants to drag that ball and chain into their revolutionary mobile device, right? The three screens would be your iPad, iPhone, AppleTV, err... Sorry I've meant your TV, Windows computer (preferably, because JavaFX is best supported on Windows) and Windows Mobile 6.5 phone.

The problem is JavaFX is available only on desktop: yeah, there was one or two TV shown on stage last year at JavaONE, but I doubt JavaFX TV will survive. Putting Youtube and other Internet sources of content on TV makes sense, but apps? We'll see soon with Google TV, but again it is separate box. TVs are for audio and video output, period.

Where will JavaFX find its home on the smallest of the screens? Windows Mobile? Yeah, right. I used future tense so that doesn't count. Maybe Windows Phone 7? It should be released with some powerful hardware that surely would easily cope with animations, effects and all the richness you can imagine. No. Two words: Microsoft Silverlight.

Symbian or Meego? This would be a pleasant surprise (and big surprise regarding Meego). I know that Nokia is still working on Symbian's Java runtime, but I haven't seen anything about JavaFX Mobile implementation. There's possibility. And there's Nokia's contender in space: Qt Quick.

Blackberry is possible too. Not very exciting platform yet it is doing quite well in US market and in segment that is of interest for Oracle. Still there's no word about JavaFX landing on RIM's handsets.

Anyway Blackberry is going to be crushed by almighty army of Android devices which will rule the world in short order. So let's put JavaFX on Android. It's open, it's free and it's being sued.

Let's summarize. JavaFX is nice on desktop, almost non existent on TV. There's beta JavaFX Mobile implementation for Windows Mobile (one phone, HTC Touch Diamond) as for others: Blackberry: no, no info on future introduction. iPhone: nope. Windows Phone 7: Microsoft Silverlight. Symbian: maybe, there's Flash Lite, there's Silverlight, there will be Qt Quick soon. Big opportunity to compete. MeeGo: would be surprising, Qt Quick will be there soon. Android: now that Oracle sued Google over VM technology I don't see JavaFX on it.

I really like JavaFX and certainly would like to see it on my mobile (Symbian based). We'll see what future holds. 

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