Sun rolls out its JavaFX Rich Internet Application tool

JavaFX is used to develop RIAs for desktops, the Web, mobile devices and televisions

Sun Microsystems Thursday rolled out the first version of its JavaFX runtime and tools, which support the development of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that can run on desktops, in browsers, in mobile devices and on televisions. Sun said that JavaFX 1.0 is aimed at providing a unified development and deployment model for developers and Web designers to build RIAs with audio, video, rich text, advanced graphics, animation and Web services.

"Rich interactive experiences are powering this next wave of Internet evolution," said Eric Klein, Sun's vice president of Java marketing. "While we have this very large installed base of Java users ... we want to add for them the ability to create those type of experiences. Our goal is to build the expressive platform for Rich Internet Applications."

Sun's new tool set will compete against offerings from Microsoft and Adobe Systems, which also aim to merge the richness of desktop software with the ease of use of Web applications.

JavaFX includes a new language called JavaFX Script intended to allow designers and developers who have difficulty using Java to be able to more quickly build applications, Klein added. "If developers are familiar with JavaScript, they will find this language very, very easy," he said. "It was designed from the ground up for graphics professionals. It was designed to bring in all these developers for whom Java is just a little too complicated. Our traditional Java developer base - they never go back to writing straight Java code."

The 1.0 release of JavaFX includes the JavaFX Development Environment, the JavaFX Production Suite and the JavaFX Desktop. The development environment includes the compiler and runtime tools, graphics, media, Web services, rich text libraries and the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 6.5. It also includes a mobile emulator for developers to preview building mobile applications in the JavaFX mobile platform, which will be available to Sun's mobile partners in the spring of 2009.

The production suite includes tools and plug-ins aimed at allowing Web designers to reduce production times. The suite includes support for converting media content created in tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrated into JavaFX applications.

JavaFX Desktop uses the main features of the Java Platform Standard Edition 6 Update 10 to allow users to drag and drop applets that are running in their browser directly on their desktop, Sun added.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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