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RIA Weekly #013 – JavaFX with Joshua Marinacci, Widgets, Curl, DRM, and the Adobe Media Player

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Coté starts off with the introductions. Ryan is in Ireland and we have our special guest, Joshua Marinacci, who works on JavaFX for Sun. Josh works on the new designer tool which includes actual drawing and animation tools. He tells us that he’s been heads down on Java One stuff. Coté mentions the Swing book that Joshua wrote and ended up getting him the job with Sun.

Swing and JavaFX

Coté asks what the relation between Swing and JavaFX. Josh replies that JavaFX is really a codeword for reinventing clientside Java. there is JavaFX Script, the language, but it is a small part of what JavaFX is. It’s also fixing some bugs in Swing, some performance enhancements and startup issues in Java, so it’s a lot of different things. Ryan asks what the positioning for JavaFX is and Josh says that it’s more of a global technology because of the nature of Java. One of the things JavaFX wants to fix the “multiple API problem” so that there is only one API across devices that lets you reuse code and some parts of your UI.

History of JavaFX

Ryan asks about the history of JavaFX at Sun and Josh responds that it’s a lot of pieces that came together. JavaFX Script came from an engineer that was working on it as a side project. A couple of engineers had ideas about how to rewrite the browser plugin. Other engineers were working on hardware acceleration and that came in. A bunch of pieces came together just as the shift in the industry towards design and good UIs was happening and JavaFX was born.

The Design Tool

Coté asks what the general idea behind the design tool is and Josh says there are a lot of pieces. The first part is the pieces that will let you integrate with Photoshop and Illustrator (watch JavaOne). The other part is a designer tool. It won’t look like NetBeans, so it’s not for developers, but it’s for designers and has animation and drawing tools. That won’t be shown at JavaOne because the audience isn’t the right one for the tool.

Josh notes that the line between the web and the desktop is really blurring and Coté asks why that is. Josh says that there are a lot of parts of the computer like the hardware, the graphics card, but that once you add a network connection to it, you can do a lot of more interesting things. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the browser, the network connection is what makes it exciting. Coté notes the old Sun analogy that the network is the computer. Josh says it doesn’t matter what is or isn’t part of the browser, it’s just the internet.

Designers Perceptions of Sun

Coté asks what the designer perception is when they’re approached by Sun about a design tool. Josh runs through the standard thoughts but says the design tool is kind of a way to reinvent the Java brand beyond the programmer audience.

JavaFX Improvements

Coté asks what kind of improvements JavaFX will bring. Joshua says JavaFX won’t work without Java SE 6 update 10. It’s a bunch of small improvements which improve the consumer experience of Java. They’ve added improvement to the applet startup because the browser plugin has been completely reprogrammed and separated from the browser. A new Java autoupdater so Java will update itself and grab patches. A new deployment toolkit which will make it easier for people to embed Java in pages. They’ve written a bunch of JavaScript that you can include on your page to make sure you get version detection. There are also a lot of speed improvements, they’re using hardware acceleration for graphics and “nimbus”, a new cross-platform look and feel for Swing. It’s all vector based and skinnable. Ryan asks if that ties in with the work on JavaFX. The answer is yes and no depending on how you divide up the Java platform. You don’t need to use JavaFX script to access it but you can do some interesting things with it from JavaFX.

JavaFX Examples

Coté asks what kind of applications people are building with JavaFX. Joshua says right now mostly people are just playing with it and getting used to the new capabilities.

Design tool internally at Sun

Ryan asks how people internally at Sun are looking at the design tool. Josh says that they’ve hired a couple of designers to work specifically on the design tool but that they’re mostly keeping it a secret. In the rest of the company there are other issues and the team is kind of under the radar right now.

Google App Engine

We ask Josh what he thinks is interesting in the RIA world and he mentions Google App Engine and the benefit of being able to focus on the GUI while everything like backups and database schema are generally handled for you. Coté mentions mashups and how RIA builders and mashup creators have a lot in common. No one wants to spend time learning how to set up the server and with Google App Engine it makes it really easy to create the “wizbang 2.0” application. Ryan wonders how good it is to have a bunch of little applications and we talk about what happens as apps grow. Josh points out that Google expects people are going to stay on Google and do cool stuff.


Cote gets on the topics of Widgets and we look back a bit at the past year and how it relates to miniature applications. Josh makes the point that if the app is only worth $5, you’re not going to spend more than $5 building it so lowering that barrier to entry is important.


Curl made a bunch of announcements including that they’re joining the Eclipse foundation. We talk about the history of Curl a bit and their focus. The open source stuff Coté was remembering is actually old news from last year.

Widevine and Silverlight

Ryan talks about Widevine’s 3rd party DRM company and how it relates to Microsoft and Silverlight. They announced a deal that they’re working with Silverlight now. Josh says that in general, if we can get more people to put stuff on the web, it’s good. If content providers are willing to do that with more DRM, then overall, it’s good. He draws the line between content you’ve paid for versus content that you get for “free” online.

Adobe Media Player

Coté mentions the announcement from Adobe that they’ve released Adobe Media Player and Ryan describes a bit about what it does. Josh asks if it’s a component that people can put in their apps and Ryan responds that it’s just a standalone application.

Disclaimer: Sun, Adobe, and Microsoft are clients. See the RedMonk client list for more clients mentioned.

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Categories: Development Tools, Enterprise Software, Java, Programming, RIA Weekly.

Comment Feed

4 Responses

  1. Sun / Java is the Worlds worst co. when it comes to UI. I was in Java for 4 yrs in my initial Dev days, and after knowing .NET in it's beta stage, several of my friends and myself moved to .NET & C#. The only reason was Sun's lack of Tool support and it's time to release anything new. It was 2001, when JSF was started in paper. But, cameout in 2006/2007 as a release version. So, i dont think JavaFX wont be released for next 3-4 yrs.

    Why i said Java is not a technology for UI, it's sluggish performance. I just clicked the above JavaFX demo, when i saw the code, i thougt still Sun / Java is in the same stage. for 1 single button in oval shape, if we've to write these many 100's of lines, which customer is going to pay for it. No one.

    Also, when i selected 12.5% in the dropdownlist, the entire window started flickering 100 times/sec. I thought i messed up my system. Thank god, i managed to go to TaskBar and killed the so called JavaFX Pad.

    Bottomline, let Java & Sun should know their limits and keep their concentration in midtier and let other Co's like BEA/IBM/Oracle have the App Server developed for them.

    Let God save Java.


Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] the so-called RIA (”Rich Internet Application”) playground, so through his blog (e.g. this post today) I involuntarily get news and comments about Flash, AIR, Silverlight and other I-hate-the-Web […]

  2. […] Let’s be fair though: JavaOne is a scant few days away. Or, as Dion has appropriately dubbed it, nevermind where his tongue is: JavaFXOne. See further previewing here. […]

  3. […] Coté has some additional information about Sun’s plans around Java as a whole and JavaFX. In our podcast with Joshua Marinacci before JavaOne, I was able to learn a lot about what the plans for JavaFX are and how it fits into […]