Sun Microsystems has been quiet about its JavaFX technology for building graphical applications since introducing it in May, but on Friday the company added a compiler to the platform.
Also on tap is an updated plug-in to outfit the open source NetBeans platform for building JavaFX applications. New online demonstrations also are being made available.
Based on the Swing GUI toolkit for Java, JavaFX is intended to bolster development of graphical user experiences for systems ranging from desktops to mobile clients and even TVs.
"JavaFX makes the power that existed within Swing more accessible to developers so they can create exciting applications," featuring visual interaction, said Jean Elliott, Sun's senior director of Java software product marketing.
At the JavaOne conference in May, Sun unveiled two critical components planned for the platform: JavaFX Script, which is a scripting language for content creation, and JavaFX Mobile, which provides a software system for mobile devices. JavaFX technologies are only in a very early stage of development. Applications will run with a Java Virtual Machine.
A beta release of JavaFX technology is intended for release at the JavaOne conference next May, but early access code -- described as "sub-alpha" code by Sun -- has been made available.
Source code for the OpenJavaFX Compiler is available here. The compiler enables JavaFX Script code to be compiled into Java code.
"What you really want to do is compile an entire program, get it all into Java to begin with and it compiles much faster," said Chet Haase, Sun Java chief client architect.
The NetBeans plug-in, meanwhile, will provide for developing JavaFX Script programs in the IDE. JavaFX programs can be built easier, Haase said. JavaFX programs will be available as NetBeans projects.
The plug-in will work with NetBeans 5.5 and is due to be incorporated this fall into NetBeans 6.0, the upcoming version of the IDE. The NetBeans 6.0 version of the plug-in features a preview of JavaFXPad integration. JavaFXPad is a lightweight tool for building graphical elements using JavaFX Script.
Two demonstrations are available showing an instant messaging client and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) integration. Users must first have the Java development kit installed to view the demonstrations. The demonstrations can be found here.
With JavaFX Sun seeks to enable more lightweight, easier development of consumer-oriented applications, Haase said. These could include Web sites with rich animation and user interfaces that are more dynamic than a typical forms-based application, he said.
JavaFX joins what is becoming a crowded market for technologies to create graphical interfaces.