javaone2007: JFX or rich clients revisited
Thursday 10 May 2007 @ 5:56 pm
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Sun likes to call them ‘integrated rich clients’, a nice buzz word for reinventing user experience. Yesterday I visited two rich client related sessions. One about GWT, wich was more or less a copy of last years session, and one about JavaFX (formerly known as F3, nowadays already abbreviated to the better sounding JFX). Chris Oliver amazed the audience with really stunning effects and smooth looking user interfaces: Definitely an Oehhh! and Aahh! session. It is too early to make up conclusions yet but it seems the Sun developers have gotten graphical interfaces, and especially the way an interface gets set-up to meet the design made by a professional design team, finally right. JFX introduces a new scripting languages, called JavaFX Script. Which is, when you ask me, a little bit redundant but, due to tongue slippery, I think the script part of it will disappear in normal human to human communication. (We aren’t calling java, JVM Script or are we?) But despite the name, the scripting language itself looks promising. It’s statically typed, which can be subject of religious language battles but that is out of the scope of this blog-entry, and it uses a declarative building styling to declare UI components. When compared to the XML variants like XUL, SVG but also Flex and Laszlo, a breeze to read. And when compared to regular Swing (or SWT!) probably a breeze to write also. In other words, refreshing.

So, should we all make the move and forget Ajax or Flash? Maybe, but maybe not. (GWT is still pretty cool technology and as far as I have seen it, it is the best possible solution for rich browser apps. For example take a look at how the guys from Google crack performance issues. Nuff said).There are still some irritating issues to overcome. First of all there is no out of the box data binging support (for example to call a RESTful service and bind the results to user interface components). But maybe more problematic is the deployment model. Which is not there! Yes, Applets or Webstart but both need a ridiculous huge download for the latest JRE release. Not really user friendly. I have to admit, Sun has announced to work on this problem and promised to come up with a solution as soon as possible but in the meantime it is missing. And a bad deployment model at the moment there is a lot of momentum is marketing wise not really what you call handy. Missed opportunity?? Anyway, JFX is right here right now so for me it’s playing time.

— By Okke van 't Verlaat     PermaLink

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