Friday, June 6, 2008

My take on JavaFX @

I came across a write-up on DZone today that asked if Java was dying, of which I just felt prompted into sharing my view about the whole issue, though I'm feeling compelled to start doing some JavaFX scripting myself. You could either go to DZone to read the write-up first here or just read my comment below:

"Java isn't dying. But we're all confused as to where Sun is taking us to with JavaFX. We hope Java wouldn't become another VB that was dumped for .NET. What I think Sun should have done is to create good tools - I mean very good tools, not built on the Netbeans of course; or extend existing tools. I'm not saying Netbeans is not good, though it's now fast, it's still not as fast as we want it to be, though it's on its way. Right now, we need tools can that accelerate the adoption of Java, so whatever it will take to get the job done would be cool. Or better still, I believe Sun has taken a good initiative, in making designers continue with the tool that they are good at and are productive in, like Photoshop and Illustrator and leave the coding side of things to developers. The demo that was showcased in the recent JavaOne conference where a designer used Photoshop to pimp up a design and then export as JavaFX Script was really cool. Sun needs to put a force behind this to ensure that almost everything you create within this tools is exported in the JavaFX script created. What I really think Sun should have done was to just make creating RIAs easier with Java probably by using the same tools - Photoshop , Illustrator and the likes - that export JavaFX script to export Java or XML that can be consumed by helper classes incorporated into the JDK. Flash is doing great stuffs in creating beautiful and stunning 3D interfaces and movies today with ActionScipt, not by creating another new language, but by building on what they have. They didn't have to create a new language that is declarative or something to be able to do 3D which it wasn't built for in the first place, but they innovated and the community created libraries like Papervision3D, FlashSandy, Away3D, WOWEngine, Tweener and a host of all others to make this possible.

Well to cut the long story short, Sun has come this far with the JavaFX publicity and can just do away with it now even if they aren't on the right path. What we need know now as Java developers is where we are headed with JavaFX, what are the stakes of we developers in this, because, a lot of Java developers are not being carried along with whats really happening and who JavaFX is for. What I don't understand is why Sun is creating a wrapper around the existing API (around Swing of course) to create RIAs, when there are still lots of improvements we are expecting in the base API provided for our use. We should take things as they appear to be and not confuse people with technology. Like someone said and I quote, most of this JavaFX craze as been seen more on Powerpoint slides than in implementation. I once tried playing around with JavaFX awhile back, say like 6 months ago or so, and wasn't impressed with it's performance at all then, though coding declaratively is great with JavaFX, but performance was really an issue then. I'd also like to make a special note of the Census benchmark carried out by James Ward (an Adobe Flex Evengelist), and also Joshua Marinacci of Sun, where Josh said the JavaFX implementation of the Bubbles demo was faster than that of Flash. I find that hard to believe becuase even when Flash is being used to fake 3D, it performs excellently well beyond what can be accomplished with JavaFX. We should be able to copy good concepts from others and build on it to move forward (sort of the Microsoft way), rather than refusing to accept the fact that some things are currently not the way they ought to be. See FlashSandy for instance, it borrowed it's Scenegraph concepts and has been doing excellently well with it.

So my suggestion to Sun, please let us know what the plans really are as regards the future direction of Swing, Java and JavaFX. Are you leaving everything you've stood for in the Java world for JavaFX or what, we'd like to know?

Then on a final note, I'm still curious as to why Hans Muller, Scott Violet and Chet Haase left Sun within a period of a year. Isn't something wrong somewhere? I'm still pondering on this. Then I'd also like to ask Amy Fowler if she actually tried disposing off the copy of the Flex Book Chet gave her. We shouldn't ignore the fact that some technologies are doing well, even if we have our own competing products. let's just accept the fact of life and improve what we have. Also, we'd love to see more real world examples of JavaFX, than we have been seeing. Most of the demos I saw in the presentation slides of the recently concluded JavaOne conference appear silly and stupid to me. We want more real world uses. The best one I've seen so far was that of the video site, - is it JavaPolis, or something - all other are just crappy demos. Also of note was the JavaFX version of Motorola's website that Chris Oliver spoke about awhile back on his blog, which performed excellently well when I ran it on my desktop back then. Flex Showcase houses more real world uses of Flex, than what we've been seeing with JavaFX. Thats my take for now on Java & JavaFX. "

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