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Sun Reviews Java Roadmap for JavaFX, Java SE and ME
JavaFX to Bridge the Gap Between Web Designers and Developers
October 22, 2007,
Volume 116, Issue 4

Over time, it's pretty clear that JavaME and JavaSE will converge and become largely indistinguishable

-- James Gosling

In a recent Java roadmap press event, VP and Sun Fellow James Gosling set out to clarify the new client-side technology JavaFX and the future of Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) and wound up scaring Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) developers.

"There has been a certain amount of confusion of which pieces are what and where they go," Gosing said about JavaFX technology during the event held in mid-October, reported Andy Patrizio with "ItÂ’s a complicated landscape of puzzle pieces that fit together."

Patrizio reported the company as saying "JavaFX, which is built on Java SE, will be designed to bridge the gap between web designers (the ones who took art courses in college, as he put it) and developers (or the ones who took computer science)."

JavaFX is a new family of Java technology-based products designed to help content providers create and deploy rich Internet applications (RIA). Current JavaFX releases include JavaFX Script and JavaFX Mobile, which were introduced in May.

JavaFX Script is a new scripting language that gives developers an easy way to create content-rich applications for a wide variety of clients, including mobile devices, set-top boxes, desktops and Blu-ray discs.

JavaFX Mobile is a complete software system for mobile devices. It is available via OEM licenses to carriers, handset manufacturers and other companies.

Addressing concerns that building JavaFX Script applications will require a developer environment, Sun said it plans for content creation tools to be delivered as a plug-in compatible with either Adobe's Photoshop or Flash CS3.

The company also clarified that JavaFX Mobile is being built on assets from Sun's April purchase of SavaJe Technologies as well as Java SE.

"We're trying to converge everything to the Java SE specification. Cell phones and TV set-top boxes are growing up," said Gosling. "It's an attempt to get uniformity by having the same bits on all phones, to have the same commonality on all OSes, so you have interoperability."

These words, and the lack of them on Java ME, got the press speculating imminent doom for Java ME.

Gosling has since responded in his blog, JavaME is *not* dead!: "Over time, it's pretty clear that JavaME and JavaSE will converge and become largely indistinguishable. It goes both ways: JavaSE has a much more sophisticated graphics API, and JavaME is growing there. JavaME has a location API (GPS) and one could easily make the argument that it should be available in JavaSE.

"JavaFX mobile contains within it an implementation of JavaME. It is not some weird new beast," he explained.

Jean Elliot, senior director of marketing at Sun, also stepped in telling that JavaFX Script applications will support both SE and ME platforms, and applications can be written for SE without modification or dumbing down required to accommodate the more modest capabilities of an ME device. "The intent is that JavaFX apps will be displayed in a manner appropriate for the device," she said.

In regards to the next release of the Java SE platform, which is now available under Java SE 6 Update N Early Access, Sun expects it will have improved the browser plug-in system and startup performance. Support for Java applets is expected to be improved as well.

Chet Haase, a Java SE client architect at Sun, says a beta release is planned for December.

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