While JavaFX is better than rival technologies, it did not get the proper backing from Sun, says Java developer Frank Greco, chairman of the New York Java Special Interest Group. "It's superior, but maybe that doesn't count anymore," he says, adding that he has developed some small JavaFX programs.
At this stage, JavaFX will survive only if Oracle can build a business around it, says Mark Little, chief technologist for middleware at Red Hat and a member of a Java Community Process executive committee. "Otherwise, it will die."
To help build a business around it, JavaFX needs tools support and integration with more IDEs, Greco says. To this end, Oracle's efforts for the JavaFX tool chain include accommodating existing tools with plug-ins that enable exporting of vector graphics, images, and filters to the Java platform, says Nandini Ramani, director of Java development at Oracle, in an interview posted on the Oracle Website.
JavaFX 1.2 Production Suite features tools to export graphical assets from the popular (though three-year-old) Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Illustrator CS3 applications to JavaFX Script Code. Also planned is an authoring tool for designers. "It's an aggregator, actually, so designers can build their different content," Ramani says. Additionaly, a preview of JavaFX Composer, which plugs into NetBeans and leverages JavaFX, is available for visual editing of form-based UIs.
"We have a lot of exciting things we're doing in the Java client space, including fixing the deployment model, the plug-in, which for years people have been telling us needs to be addressed," Ramani says. Going forward, unified deployment will be featured for Java across multiple screens, including mobile, TV, desktop, and browser, she adds.
How a JavaFX fan compares the RIA to its rivals
Oracle of course praises JavaFX: "JavaFX is actually a rich media platform," Ramani says. "It [works] really well for Internet-based dynamic media."
Also standing in JavaFX's corner is JavaFX developer Jim Weaver, a senior vice president of technology at VNI Media. The platform, he says, is coming along quite well: "There are issues that are being improved [upon] everyday regarding deployment of Java and JavaFX applications." These issues include speeding deployment for the Java Runtime Environment, such as via the Java SE 6 Update 10, he says, reducing the deployment-time gap between JavaFX and Flash.
HTML5, meanwhile, will be cool, but it is not a true rich Internet application platform, Weaver says. "[HTML5] is still a hypertext markup language and it's meant for sharing documents. It is not at its core a rich Internet application platform," he says.
For example, JavaFX offers native access to Java classes, unlike with Flash and Flex, where developers must use a bridge to access these classes, Weaver says.
Java, however, features the No. 1 language and virtual machine, Weaver says. "I don't think it's too late" for JavaFX to compete, he adds. Weaver also anticipates more UI components are forthcoming for JavaFX, via a release known both as JavaFX 1.3 and the code name SoMa.