Friday, May 11, 2007

JavaFX Tools

As I mentioned earlier, I gave the JavaFX plugin for Eclipse a try. I was not too impressed. So I went through the monstorous download of NetBeans 6.0 and installed the JFX plugin for it. I'm still not too impressed!

Again this was basically just a text editor with the JFX runtime automatically launched. No palette or even much code completion. There was a little syntax highlighting, but that was about it.
Ok, so I know this stuff is really new, and I shouldn't be too critical of it. However, I read this exerpt from an interview with Sun CEO Jonathan Schwarts from OnJava:

In response to a question about JavaFX and JavaFX Tools. Whether Sun was planning on charging for FX tools.

Schwartz: “The world is divided into two camps, those who can and will pay for technology because its expense is less than the inconvenience of not having a support contract and those who cannot and will not pay for software for whatever reason, economically, culturally or the business just doesn’t need it. Our economic motives are to go after the former camp, our technology objectives are to go after the latter camp. Because almost by definition given what Dr. Diallo(sp?) just said, they out number the former camp 50,000 to 1. So volume defines market opportunities for everybody, you need only look at the internet to have that proven to you. It’s up to us to figure out how to monetize those volume opportunities in and among the communities that are capable and interested in doing so.”

Hmm. So now I'm thinking that designer like tools for JFX will be coming, but they won't be plugins to Eclipse and NetBeans. The big advantage I thought JFX might have over Flex and Silverlight was its free-ness and open source-ness. Not only would that make it attractive to adopt but would also open up third party enhancements. What's a Java technology without at least a dozen different frameworks built for it?

Now I'm thinking that this won't be the case. Sun will try to monetize JFX in the exact same way that Adobe and Microsoft monetize Flex and Silverlight. There's nothing wrong with this, it just means that JFX won't have one potential advantage over those technologies. That doesn't mean it won't have other advantages, as mentioned in previous posts. Its architecture may make it much more suitable for designer-developer workflows and rapid development.

I still think Sun is missing a huge opportunity. They could be the disruptive technology in all this, but it sounds like they won't go that route. So much for "Open Possibilities."

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