Yesterday morning at JavaOne I gave a presentation called “JavaFX 2.0” (which will be repeated Thursday afternoon, and again October 5th at the SVJUGFX). There were several announcements both in the talk and in Thomas Kurian’s JavaOne keynote last night as well.
Yesterday we announced the roadmap for JavaFX 2.0. If you haven’t read through it yet you should stop now and go over and read the roadmap. There are a fair number of features going into JavaFX 2.0 and we’ve identified which will be available for the early access (EA) build, the beta build, an the final general availability (GA) build. There are some really great things on there such as fully hardware accelerated graphics pipeline (Prism), High-def media, a TableView control, CSS animations and layout, and much more.
In general, JavaFX 2.0 is a continuation of JavaFX 1.0. There is, however, one big change and that is with the language. JavaFX Script won’t be updated by Oracle for JavaFX 2.0 to run on that platform. Some folks in the community have expressed interest in taking on this task themselves — and I wholeheartedly encourage this. The JavaFX Script compiler is already open source. We haven’t worked out the details but I would imagine we’d rather add community members as owners of the project than have it fork.
Up to this point the only language that could be used to build JavaFX applications was JavaFX Script. I always felt this was a needless restriction. In addition, I felt that it was actually a bad thing for JavaFX Script the language for a couple of reasons. First, since all our APIs were in JavaFX Script, it meant that JavaFX Script had to be changed to be a good language for writing APIs, whereas it was originally designed to be a good language for scripting UIs. Sometimes this created a design tension. The compiler guys very wisely kept the focus on scripting UIs instead of writing APIs (which is why JavaFX Script was productive to use for building UIs), however it made our job on the platform team more difficult.
In addition, since the entire platform was built on the language, they didn’t have the freedom to fix certain issues in the language (such as initialization, which admittedly was mostly a problem for folks building libraries). My feeling is that decoupling JavaFX from JavaFX Script frees the language so that it can continue to evolve. Most languages have years to mature before becoming stable. JavaFX Script had a few months. It is to the credit of the compiler team and Brian Goetz especially that it came out as well as it did in the end.
So even though Oracle itself isn’t going to be committing to updating and shipping JavaFX Script in the JavaFX 2.0 timeframe, I sincerely wish to see it continue to evolve and improve. The same Binding capabilities that JavaFX Script enjoyed will be exposed as a library in Java, so any updated JavaFX Script compiler will have the tools it needs to implement language binding. Also, we’re working on the initialization issue such that object literals will still be possible (we’re considering several forms of initialization including the builder pattern).
In addition, I’m very excited to see what other languages can do / will do. Charles Nutter tweeted “Perfect storm: Mirah plus JavaFX APIs.” (Sorry I’m not a very good twitter person, I’m not sure how to link to the tweet!). I couldn’t agree more, I’m very interested in what Mirah would look like for building UIs on JavaFX. Especially if a variant of it could support bind in the language (which would be incredible). Already JRuby and Groovy work quite well with our current Java-based APIs.
Of course in the world of soundbites, what we see is “JavaFX is dead” (which is obviously not the case if you have seen any of Thomas Kurian’s keynote from last night), and “JavaFX Script is dead” (which is also not the case — it is open source and many of the strongest proponents have been in the community).
JavaFX is core to the strategy for rich client application development at Oracle. Simply put, JavaFX is the evolution of the Java rich client designed to address the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s customers. This is all about making Java dominant on the client. Jasper will post some videos of actual live demos we ran on stage at JavaOne (I hope he gets it up on youtube so it will be viral. Apologies if we use a flash player… for now!).
We have a lot of work to do. I think there will be critics and doubters along the way — but that’s fine. I welcome that. Judge us by what we ship, not what we say. I think JavaFX 1.3.1 was a great release (all of the stuff Jasper is showing in his demo is achievable with the APIs in 1.3.1 + the media and prism implementations for JavaFX 2.0). I’m really looking forward to delivering the next version of JavaFX.
Finally, we’re hiring! I’m looking for people who are talented, passionate, and have a good attitude. We have put together a really great team with a great atmosphere and we’re committed to engineering the best platform. If you think you’d be interested, drop me a line. We have positions in UI Controls, text, graphics, media, deployment, management, and more. Just drop me a line at my oracle email address and I’ll forward your info along into the system.