Sun Releases JavaFX Preview - InformationWeek

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Sun Releases JavaFX Preview

The JavaFX Web development platform will compete with Adobe's Flex and Microsoft's Silverlight.

Sun Microsystems has released a preview edition of JavaFX, a Web development platform that would compete with Adobe's Flex and Microsoft's Silverlight.

In general, JavaFX and the competing platforms are used to build applications that run in a browser, but have functionality similar to applications running natively on a PC. JavaFX applications are written to standard application programming interfaces for Java runtime environments widely deployed on desktops, notebooks, and mobile phones.

The latter capability is one of JavaFX's key advantages, according to Sun.

"Only the Java platform is pervasive enough to allow developers to build and deploy RIAs [rich internet applications] across desktops and browsers on more than 800 million PCs, as well as billions of mobile phones and devices," Ken Wallich, VP of JavaFX at Sun, said in a statement. "JavaFX builds upon this foundation to deliver immersive and rich presentation capabilities to the existing Java platform."

The JavaFX Preview, released Thursday for download, is meant to help early adopters become familiar with the platform and is not meant for commercial applications. The components of the platform are a software development kit, the NetBeans 6.1 integrated development environment with integrated JavaFX plug-in, the Java Runtime Environment 6 Update 10 Beta, and Project Nile.

Project Nile is a tool that makes it possible to export art created in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator into the same assets directory used by JavaFX developers. As a result, developers get easy access to the art, and changes to the graphics are automatically updated in applications.

The JavaFX SDK includes a compiler and runtime tools and 2-D graphics and media libraries, as well as tutorials, API documentation, and sample code.

The first version of JavaFX will be for developing applications that can run in browsers and on the desktop. That version is expected to ship in the fall. The first version for mobile phones is scheduled to ship next spring.

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