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JavaFX and the Future of Java Client Technologies

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Starting with JDK 11, Oracle will remove JavaFX from the JDK, though will continue to provide commercial support for it in Oracle JDK 8 at least until 2022, according to Oracle’s blog. The technology, which is used to write cross platform, rich-client applications, will become available as a separate download.

JavaFX has already been open source since 2011 as part of the OpenJDK, and evolution of the technology will now be the responsibility of the OpenFX community.

According to the blog this move is part of the roadmap for Java Client technologies outlined in a white paper that also covers the future plans for the other Java UI technologies, Swing and AWT, and the Java deployment technologies, Applets and Java Web Start. The paper states that while JavaFX has found a "niche" supported by a "passionate developer community", the rise of HTML 5, JavaScript and native mobile development has seen the the wider market for cross-platform toolkits like JavaFX diminish.

As already announced, the paper re-iterates that Applets will be deprecated in Java SE 9 and removed from Java SE 11. Support for applets in Java SE 8 will continue until March 2019 then will be removed. The stated reason is the dwindling support for the necessary plugins by browser vendors.

The other deployment technology covered, Java Web Start, which had become a migration path for developers moving away from Applets, will also be excluded from Java SE 11 and beyond. Like Applets, Oracle will continue to support Web Start in Java 8, though in this case it will be extended right through to at least March 2025. As a consequence, any Oracle products with dependencies on Web Start will remain on Java 8.

The other long term members of the Java Client platform, Swing and AWT, which have been part of the platform for the last twenty years, will remain part of the Java SE specification. This means they will continue to be supported and developed by Oracle in Java SE 8 and Java SE 11 and support for them will run through at least 2026. This leaves Swing and AWT, ironically probably the oldest of the Java Client technologies, as the only ones that will survive. According to the white paper, this is due to the large amount of other frameworks, tools and applications built on them.

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