Oralce has released Javafx 2.0 Rich Client Access ( Client side RIA ) beta. The JavaFX 2 plugin support is given in the new Netbeans 7.
The Major feature includes:
New Improved Java APIs for JavaFX :
1. Allows to work with the java heritage
2. Support for DSLs
3. Swing Interoperability: No alien for java swing developers
4. A prism capable plugin: A plugin capable of running prism without starting of AWT.
5. A new graphics stack with new fully hardware accelerated pipeline called Prism targets DirectX on windows and Opengl on other platforms.
6. A web component that uses Webkit to render HTML.
7. An ultra net set of UI controls
8. New media features like Alpha Channels , Audio Equalizer, Low latency audio and programmatic Media Marker.
Find more details (http://javafx.com/roadmap/ )
Java is very strong and is more prominent in server side. It has not seen much success in client side. Sun developed very innovative client technologies like swing and applet sticking to the tag line
“write once run anywhere”.
Till today the applets are in use in many production environments. The java + opengl combination in the client side makes more appealing and as applet runs on the browser, it makes much more important the role of applets in browser to display the media content. There are several other alternatives technologies have been emerged using opengl but the good old way of displaying 3D content would be using a simple applet.
But somehow all these innovations failed to attract building client side applications using java. Till today sun/oracle did not bridge that gap may be it is mainly because an enterprise cultural issue or lack of focus. On the contrary Microsoft always excelled in providing nice UI friendly languages be it VB or C# with window forms and wpf. In the browser side it has very strong product to beat the competition is Silver Light. So developers are comfortable developing .Net stack the natural choice of the RIA platform is Silver Light.
On the same page while Adobe had some strong comments from Steve Jobs on using flash in apples product line, but Flex is one of the most used technology in the client side. ( 90%) web applications use flash in their websites. That itself shows the product acceptance.
The following picture shows the job trends between competing products. javafx, extjs, adobe flex,silver light.
While all this is fine, there is new kid in the block which is HTML 5. Most of the companies are betting on HTML 5 to be the defacto standard for client side apps such as displaying 2D and 3D contents, audio/video stream to building client side apps with JS being the underlined language. Microsoft has recently raised confusion on Silver light’s feature as it believes the HTML is way feature and so apple.
The biggest question is do we have any need for any new RIAs with new learning curve and new nuances.
I feel each RIA vendors embrace HTML as standard platform, still these technologies will have their own approach to make HTML5 work for app developers.
Let me know your comments.