On December 4, Sun officially launched it’s long-awaited client scripting language JavaFX. Since JavaFX was first announced back at JavaOne ’07 it has been subject to a major re-working – both in terms of language as well as marketing.
As one of the handful of launch partners, Canoo had more than a little interest in seeing just how Sun would choose to position it’s latest offering on day #1. So here’s a compact (and subjective) summary of the key messages delivered at the event:
Sun’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz took to the stage to emphasise, in particular, that “reach” (read: accessing volume i.e. consumer markets) is the key to generating revenues through a one-to-one relationship with the end-consumer. JavaFX supposedly supports this relationship by (a) being precisely designed to address consumer needs; (b) permitting applications launched in the browser to be dragged onto the desktop (a feature entitled drag-to-install), thereby eliminating Messrs. Firefox, Safari, IE etc. from subsequent interactions.
It should be noted, perhaps, that this latter is actually enabled by JRE 6 update 10 – and has little or nothing to do with JavaFX per se, except that it definitely enhances the end-user’s experience.
Beyond this message, JS personally demonstrated some very slick sample applications, mostly focusing on JavaFX’s multi-media capabilities as well as the aforementioned drag-to-install feature.
Sun’s VP of marketing Eric Klein together with JavaFX platform director Nandini Ramani showed some more apps, the drag-to-install feature (again), as well as the designer-developer workflow. The Klein/Ramani demonstrations can be viewed here.
Now, obviously there are a lot reasons to question whether or not JavaFX will succeed in a marketplace dominated by Adobe’s Flex/Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight. It’s pretty clear that JavaFX cannot compete features and, at this stage at least, maturity.
One reporter at The Register felt that Sun was most likely confusing the audience by placing so much emphasis on consumer devices, when Java’s foothold is clearly in the enterprise.
Given the content of the presentations alone this observation would be entirely understandable. However, having personally spoken to several high-level representatives of the JavaFX platform during the event, I personally left the event very confident that Sun intends to give the enterprise just as much emphasis as the consumer – irrespective of all the cool looking multi-media stuff on show at the launch. After all, it makes no sense whatsoever to ignore the on-going needs of to thousands of major corporations around the planet, which have made a strategic commitment to the Java platform.
The intimacy of the affair gave Canoo relatively high presence. Clearly various key members of the marketing team were thrilled with Canoo’s work and message revolving around the new version of the Musicpinboard (http://musicpinboard.com) application. Here’s Eric Klein thanking the launch partners for their efforts:
And here am I talking to JavaFX architect and media specialist John Burkey (John is the one with the hair):
Finally, Hans-Dirk and myself managed to catch Jonathan Schwartz a demonstration of the Musicpinboard application before he jetted off to his next appointment… (no pic unfortunately!)