What’s the deal with JavaFX?

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2008 by Matt Giuca

Apologies: This is going to be a blind, uninformed post. Maybe I’m just looking at a bad example, etc. But I’m particularly unimpressed.

Firstly: The marketing just stinks. I’ve tried to find out information about JavaFX a bunch of times. I’ve clicked through some interactive tutorials which explain what JavaFX the language is. But where are the demos? If this is anything like Flash, surely there should be cool demos everywhere to grab everyone’s attention?

I found a demo just now of a Tetris clone. Here’s what I had to do to get it running:

  1. I had to download a JNLP file and tell my browser to “Open with Java Web Start”. (So it’s not running as an applet; though I’m sure it could be).
  2. Then it asked me where on my machine I would like to store “cache files”.
  3. Then I had to wait for the applet itself to download 3 separate files. (Including the JavaFX runtime; the site explains that this file will eventually be included in JRE).
  4. Then I was presented with a security warning – the applet is not signed, and do I agree to run the app.

After all that the keys are Alt+V, Alt+M and Alt+H to move the blocks around. Surely you can capture arrow keys in JavaFX?

This is not what I have in mind when I think RIAs. This isn’t even running in a web browser. It’s basically a desktop app. What I am experiencing cannot possibly be a “flash killer”, because it just requires too much effort on the part of the user. Imagine having to download and run a JNLP file every time you wanted to watch a YouTube video! The popularity of YouTube is due to immediate accessibility provided by the Flash platform.

This just feels like Java. Perhaps JavaFX (the language) makes it faster to produce web apps (I don’t know; I haven’t used it). But to me, the battle of different RIA technologies is about the end-user experience, not the developer experience. What I see offers nothing over Java applets which have a bunch of accessibility problems that Flash doesn’t.

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