Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IBM and Sun Merger?

If you are afraid to open any business section of the newspaper or look at a financial web site for fear of seeing what has happened to your 401K, I certainly understand (and feel) your pain. However, let me give you a reason to take look... IBM has been in discussion with Sun about a possible merger!

While this may or may not impact your financial portfolio, it could definitely start to impact the technological landscape - especially as it relates to Java developers. Since the news broke back on March 19 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123735124997967063.html?mod=sphere_ts&mod=sphere_wd) there has been little new information. Heidi Moore from the Wall Street Journal has blogged about this and its possible meaning (see http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/03/31/ibm-sun-do-they-have-a-deal-does-it-matter/).

I am not a financial expert nor enough of a business analyst to know long term how such a merger will impact our Java community. But there are a long list of questions we should keep in mind should such an event happen. I've noted some below. Perhaps you have others...
What happens to the Java platform and the Java Community Process which helps guide its direction?
  • What happens to the more recent open source efforts that have occurred with Java? Would IBM maintain that direction?
  • What does IBM control of Java mean for all the container providers (BEA, Oracle, JBoss, etc.), tool and API vendors?
  • How does an IBM-led application platform compete with Microsoft?
  • Many have suggested Sun is a company on the ropes. Initial indications are that IBM is willing to pay a bit of a premium for Sun. So what's the purpose of an IBM takeover - to avoid having Java and other Sun technology fall into the wrong hands or to take Java someplace it hasn't been before? If so, where is that?

At this point, many more questions than answers, but we should all stay tuned and on alert. The impact could be big for all of us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

JavaFX - the Java UI of the future?

If you haven’t downloaded and started playing around with JavaFX, it might be time to do so. Sun release JavaFX 1.1 in late February 2009. With this release, JavaFX Mobile is also released.

What is JavaFX? It is a rich Internet application (RIA) technology that runs on any JVM. It is meant to provide “all the screens of your life” as Sun likes to say; from desktop to mobile handheld to consumer device. Take a look at the sample application I wrote for an upcoming talk… as seen on the desktop, via Web Start, on a browser and in a mobile emulator.

JavaFX is a new scripting language based on Java, JavaScript, scalar vector graphics among other languages. JavaFX is and will continue to compete with Ajax, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight and other RIA technologies. It is a late comer to the RIA game. Some question if it might be too late to the game. Time will tell.

So why should you examine it? Unlike many of the other RIA technologies, JavaFX is not just for desktops. It again is designed for all the user interfaces/device screens that users encounter. While Java has always espoused to WORA, JavaFX has a chance to really bring WORA to the thousands of screens/UIs that Java supports. It also leverages the entire Java API. While JavaFX is its own scripting language, a JavaFX script can call on other Java classes and vice versa. Also, JavaFX apps run on the JVM. Finally, because it is like Java and JavaScript, it should be easy to learn and use. JavaFX is a declarative, expression, full object-oriented language.

Below are a few links to help you get going. Also, I will be presenting a free talk on JavaFX at Intertech on April 14th. You can sign up on our web site at http://www.intertech.com/resource/briefings.aspx. For those not located in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) area, the talk will also be offered from the virtual classroom so come join in the fun.

Lastly, look for my upcoming paper on JavaFX Mobile at DevX.com (http://www.devx.com/).

Some links you can use to explore JavaFX
JavaFX Website (Overview, FAQ, download): http://javafx.com/
JavaFX SDK version 1.1: http://javafx.com/downloads
Sun's JavaFX tutorial site: http://java.sun.com/javafx/1/tutorials/core/index.html
Free JavaFX tutorial offered online: http://www.javapassion.com/javafx/
Sun JavaFX building GUI tutorial: http://java.sun.com/javafx/1/tutorials/ui/index.html
JavaFX API Javadocs: http://java.sun.com/javafx/1.1/docs/api/
JavaFX language reference: http://openjfx.java.sun.com/current-build/doc/reference/JavaFXReference.html
JavaFX Blog: http://learnjavafx.typepad.com/weblog/2008/02/getting-plutoed.html