Sun introduces JavaFX

New suite to simply creation and distribution of interactive content

Sun Microsystems kicked off its JavaOne conference in San Francisco by introducing a new suite of Java products – JavaFX.

Rich Green, executive vice president of Sun Software, announced JavaFX Mobile, a mobile phone software system available via OEM license to carriers, content owners and consumer electronics manufacturers, and JavaFX Script, a new scripting language for rich internet applications, targeted at creative individuals.

Java FX Script will help to simplify the process of creating and distributing interactive content on Java-powered devices, such as mobile phones, Blu-ray Disc players and browsers, says Green.

Chris Oliver, a “regular” Sun software developer who wanted to build richer, more dynamic applications in less time, invented JavaFX. Oliver’s boss, James Gosling, CTO of Sun’s client software group and often called the father of Java, says that JavaFX Script enables “buttons and sliders gone wild”.

“Developers are telling us ‘we can do anything with Java but it takes too long’,” says Green. “Now, JavaFX allows creative professionals to easily author and deliver on any device.”

Sun released the early alpha version of JavaFX Script at the conference. JavaFX Script applications will run on any JavaSE technology-based platform and Sun plans to enhance the JavaFX family with content tools, widgets and other offerings over time.

All JavaFX software, like all Java software at Sun, will be available to the open source community via the GNU General Public License (GPL) license.

With its complete desktop-style environment, JavaFX Mobile can bring the entire Java technology to everyone on earth, says Green, which brings us to the message of this year’s keynote: Java technology is reaching humankind and it can change the world. Green and Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun, encouraged developers to get involved in the Engineers Without Borders initiative, for example developing technology that can give more people in developing countries access to the internet, which in turn could lead to more widespread education, better training and more jobs.

Open sourcing the Java platform is now complete and with free and open source software comes opportunities, says Schwartz. Bringing the internet to developing countries and developing companies creates opportunity for Sun, he says.

“We want to grow the popularity of Java on all devices,” he says.

Open sourcing Java has been “absolutely core” to Sun’s growth, he says. The US$14 billion company spends US$2 billion a year on R&D, which it gives away, he says.

“Our objective is to reach the broadest audience possible,” says Schwartz.

The decision to transform Sun from a proprietary company to an open source company was easy to make, because Schwartz and some other “core individuals” believed in it, he says. But there were all sorts of revenue and business model concerns around the shift. It took the company five years to open source Solaris and it cost hundreds of millions of dollars to secure the intellectual property rights, he says.

“It was an extremely complex process. We went through the same process with Java but then we knew our way through it. I think it is under-appreciated that we are the only large-scale software company that has gone from a traditionally non-open source model to a completely open source model,” Schwartz says.

Ulrika Hedquist was a guest of Sun at JavaOne.

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Tags technologysun Micrososystems JavaOne JavaFX Rich Green

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