Is one of my Java desktop 2008 wishes coming true?

January 24th, 2008

I had only two things on my Java desktop wishlist for 2008 – cross-platform support for H.264 / FLV formats and converters / viewers for competing markup formats. To quote myself on the second wish

You know what i’m talking about – those pesky competitors that have 99.9% percent of the consumer-facing rich desktop market. Flash / SWF, Flex / MXML and WPF / XAML. Each has its own set of designer tools for creating rich content. Each has armies of professional designers versatile in using those tools, in addition to Photoshop, Maya and others. Do you really expect them to master yet another (unproven) designer tool?

If JavaFX wants to have a fighting chance, it needs to provide a simple migration path. A path that allows taking an existing Flex / Silverlight application and importing it to JavaFX (at least the visuals).

Is it possible that this is becoming a reality? Here is what James Gosling said to Register Developer during the Mobile & Embedded developer day:

We are putting a lot of effort into interoperability with the Adobe tools – a lot of the Adobe tools are wired into the neurons of the artists of the world, […] We are not trying to be a completely isolated island that has all the tools for everybody.

Obviously, this is completely open to interpretation and speculation, and we’ll have to wait for the grand announcement(s) at this year’s JavaOne. My read on this is that Sun will provide a set of plugins to Adobe tools that will allow exporting art as JavaFX and SceneGraph code. And instead of focusing on creating visual tools for the designers, Sun will put the effort in the programmer’s half of the tool chain.

Only time will tell…