JavaFX, Sun's Java-based entrant into the hotly contested rich media application space, will make its formal debut on Thursday.
Free components of the platform and plugins for the Eclipse and NetBeans IDEs will be available. Specifically, the company will ship the JavaFX 1.0 platform, featuring the JavaFX Desktop runtime for running JavaFX applications on the desktop and in browsers. An early release of JavaFX Mobile, for deploying JavaFX on mobile devices, will be offered as well.
Also arriving is a general release of the JavaFX Script language, which had been available in a preview version. The language allows designers and developers to use APIs in the 1.0 platform to build applications, said Param Singh, Sun senior director of Java marketing.
[ JavaFX will have to compete with Adobe's Flash Player, which is at version 10, as well as Microsoft's Silverlight, which has already seen a beta 2.0 release ]
For mobile applications, developers can use an emulator at this juncture. "Sun has committed to delivering a full release [of JavaFX Mobile] in early-2009, but we are delivering the beta of JavaFX Mobile with the release on December 4 so developers can start testing their applications and prepare for the mobile release," Singh said.
With JavaFX, Sun is eyeing developers using rival platforms and wants to integrate in assets built with Adobe technologies. Along with the JavaFX platform components, Sun will deliver JavaFX Development Environment, featuring plug-ins for both NetBeans and Eclipse, with the Eclipse plug-in allowing Adobe Flex and Laszlo developers to use JavaFX, said Singh. The environment includes a compiler and runtime tools, graphics, media, and Web services. The NetBeans IDE itself is included.
Also arriving is JavaFX Production Suite, featuring plugins to export graphical assets from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator into JavaFX applications. An SVG converter will be part of the suite, too. Previously codenamed "Project Nile," the suite enables designers using the Adobe products to work with JavaFX developers in building JavaFX applications.
"Designers and developers have long wanted to be able to work [together] seamlessly," he said.
Singh emphasized the Java underpinnings of JavaFX as an advantage. "We think for developers to provide powerful applications that leverage the power of Java, JavaFX is an ideal environment because we provide the deep integration with Java," he said. Developers can build applications for a range of systems, enabled by the ubiquity of Java, he stressed. A JavaFX runtime for deploying applications that run on televisions also is planned.