Builder AU recently had a quick chat with Reginald Hutcherson, director of Technology Outreach for Sun Microsystems about what's new in the world of Java.
Q. Why should developers take a look at JavaFX?
Hutcherson: If you look a couple of years back, JavaFX was going to serve a couple of purposes. One — scripting languages had become very popular and very useful [for] designing, in particular web 2.0 applications. JavaFX is Sun's product and technology for scripting language — one and two for building rich internet applications.
Your question asked why would developers be interested? One, it's the only scripting language on the planet that would allow you to use the Java language [to build] a rich internet application. It increases productivity, in terms of doing that and also facilitates in particular Swing. Swing users who have used Swing to built UIs in the past, [JavaFX] really makes their lives a lot easier in terms of productivity and so forth.
Lastly, JavaFX is really a strategy and technology to take the Java platform in particular to building rich internet applications across various screens; devices, desktops, even Blu-ray systems and even to some extent some of the dashboards and automobiles and things of that nature.
To what degree do you think JavaFX will suffer from being late to the RIA game?
I don't think the question is actually being late, I think the question is hitting the right unmet need in the marketplace, in terms of the Java platform.
If you look at the Java platform there's no scripting language that would allow you to build rich internet applications and also take advantage of the Java platform.
I think we're hitting the sweet spot when it comes to positioning for the product, in the sense that positioning was for developers, graphic developers and creatives. Now you'll see a huge demand for developers using the technology to build all types of web 2.0 applications.
For how long can Sun continue to add features to the Java language specification before using another language makes more sense?
The Java virtual machine is becoming just that — a virtual machine. There are several languages from the community in particular that have been instrumented, [and] that are sitting on top of the virtual machine that are running on the Java platform. In particular scripting languages, we mentioned JavaFX and there are many other ones that are out there in the community that are being developed as well.