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InfoQ Homepage News From Concept to Reality: JavaFX SDK Preview Released

From Concept to Reality: JavaFX SDK Preview Released

Fifteen months after it was first announced, Sun has released the first public preview of JavaFX for Windows and Mac OS X.  At JavaOne 2008 Sun promised to deliver a closed preview release by summer. Going beyond that, they are instead delivering a publicly downloadable preview. From the press release:
The JavaFX Preview release is designed to help early adopters become familiar with JavaFX and is not yet being offered for commercial applications. The JavaFX Preview release consists of the following components:

  • JavaFX Preview SDK: Provides the JavaFX compiler and runtime tools, 2D graphics and media libraries to create highly interactive applications for desktop and browser, as well as tutorials, API documentation and sample code.
  • NetBeans(TM) 6.1 IDE with integrated JavaFX plug-in: Provides a sophisticated development environment to build, preview, and debug JavaFX applications.
  • Project Nile: An easy to use tool that exports creative assets from Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to JavaFX applications.
  • Java(TM) Runtime Environment 6 Update 10 Beta: Delivers a high performance runtime with a new browser plug-in that provides the ability to drag a live running applet out of a web browser and dynamically transform it into an application running on the desktop.

Among the features absent from the preview are:

  • Advanced text rendering
  • Animation - no path-based animation
  • 3-D vector graphics and effects
  • Advanced UI elements e.g. accordion
  • Video/audio playback - cross-platform (aka Flash aka ON2 TrueMotion VP6), streaming video
  • Video recording/encoding
  • File system or network access to data
  • Basic design tools - export from Adobe Photoshop
  • Linux and Solaris support
  • Reflection

Sun's Josh Marinacci recently blogged on the amount of work required to get to the preview release:

...Now I know what it was like in the early days of Java. Since JavaOne 2007 we've built (from scratch), a compiler for a new language with many non-trivial features, a GUI runtime with a new graphics and animation stack, new netbeans plugins with code completion, utilities for graphic designers, a new kind of javadocs (rewritten from the ground up), plus docs, samples, and demos...

Based on the scheduled announced at JavaOne the 1.0 release will be this fall followed by JavaFX Mobile and TV editions in 2009. InfoQ discussed the preview release with Param Singh, Senior Director Java Marketing, and Jacob Lehrbaum, Senior Product Line Manager of JavaFX. Singh noted that the preview release will contain two levels of API's. Developers will be able to write to a "common" API that will allow applications to run on JavaFx Mobile and JavaFX TV in the future. Developers can also write to da esktop level of the API to take advantage of additional features. Lehrbaum then highlighted the fact that JavaFX includes support for consuming assets developed in Adobe products such as Illustrator and Photoshop through the use of Project Nile. As an example he explained that a designer can create different graphical components related to media player as Photoshop image layers. These layers can then be leveraged by a JavaFx developer. Later a designer can update the Photoshop image independently of the JavaFX code.

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