Wednesday Oct 28, 2009

My interview with JFXStudio winner Mark Nankman

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing software architect Mark Nankman who was the winner of the September JFXStudio challenge. The challenge required developers to build an application with 30 or fewer lines of code in a single JavaFX file (30 lines as counted by actual lines, or 3,000 characters), with a 'time' theme, and Mark's Pacman clock application took first place! Mark has several years of experience in Java programming, and has recently turned his focus to Web 2.0 and RIA development, which is how he became interested in JavaFX.  He said he used to develop Adobe Flex front-ends to interact with Java back-ends, but didn't like the fact that it required 3 programming languages!  Turning to JavaFX Mark found that the programming language "makes developing maintainable rich web applications a lot easier."

When discussing Mark's winning Pacman clock application, he noted that it was relatively easy to build, and said he had a functioning product within 30 minutes of starting, stating that with JavaFX "you can do a lot with just a little code."  Mark said he needed to use just a few simple manipulations to keep the code within the 30-line limit, such as using compact SVGPaths, along with several other tricks he listed in his blog.  Overall, Mark noted that he as "amazed at just how powerful JavaFX is."  He reported only having to sacrifice one feature in his application -- the ability to dynamically resize the clock -- which he said simply couldn't be crammed into the 30-line application.

Read more of Mark's interview and listen to a podcast we recorded here in Reviews Interactive.

Also, for those interested in entering this month's JFXStudio challenge (theme: five), you have until midnight, Saturday October 31 to submit your entry, or actually, as Josh explains in this blog, a few extra bonus hours to turn your application in.

Friday Oct 16, 2009

Student developer shares his thoughts on JavaFX

I recently conducted an e-mail interview with Abhishek Munie, a “long-time” user of the JavaFX programming language that has been published in Student Views and Reviews. Abhishek has been working with JavaFX since the 1.0 release in December 2008. Abhishek reported that he utilized the learning resources and samples available on to learn the program. He made regular, steady progress in learning the language and was able to develop and submit a complete application for the JavaFX Coding Challenge which he said “was a great experience.”

While Abhishek said he is still exploring the new features in JavaFX 1.2, he reported that his favorite new tools are the javafx.scene.chart and javafx.scene.control. He also said “screen and javafx.util.math class has made my work easy, but I expected more features to be available in class javafx.stage.” When asked what he would like to add to JavaFX right now Abhishek said, “I would like to improve the way a JavaFX application is deployed and run, and make it faster.”

Read more of Abhishek's interview in Student Views and Reviews.

Friday Oct 02, 2009

New JavaFX interview in Student Views and Reviews

I recently spoke with Joan Barrull, a law student currently working as a software engineer at Baratz, a software development company headquartered in Madrid, Spain. Joan has won several programming-related awards including the Mobius prize for a multimedia game in addition to a prize in the JavaFX Blogging Contest. Joan has been working with JavaFX for several months, and has already contributed to writing an application at Baratz to report employee expenses. He reported that JavaFX proved to be an ideal tool saying “we managed to write the application very fast...With JavaFX it is very easy to write prototypes and proof-of-concepts, so we use JavaFX often.”

During our talk, Joan stated that his favorite feature of JavaFX 1.2 is simply “ease of use.” He said he appreciates the fact that with JavaFX you can write a prototype “in just minutes,” which allows him to “focus on the users instead of dealing with obscure technical tricks.” Among the other features Joan noted as “awesome” characteristics were JavaFX's closures and binding. He stated: “Overall, JavaFX is a great authoring platform for designing graphical apps very quickly” pointing out that with JavaFX apps can be designed that “focus on providing a great user experience.”

Read more of Joan's interview in Student Views and Reviews.

Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Student Mambo Banda talks JavaFX

Check out my recent interview in Student Views and Reviews with Mambo Banda, a 22-year-old software engineering student in his final year at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. Mambo began using JavaFX in September 2008, learning the language in his spare time. He noted that the primary source of information he used in learning JavaFX was the API documentation which he said “is great, it has lots of examples and detailed information.” Mambo said that to this day he still relies on a lot of online blogs to learn JavaFX, such as Jim Weaver's blog, which he noted can have “great JavaFX samples and tips.”

In response to a question asking what he liked most about JavaFX Mambo stated: “I like the whole idea, the whole platform for creating visual applications.” Mambo said he likes the fact that with JavaFX “you can be creative and productive from the moment you pick it up.” Mambo also pointed out that one of the reasons he was drawn to JavaFX was its ability to access Java easily which “allows you to use traditional programming methods without sacrificing anything. Java is a rich language with a lot of years invested in it and you get all that for free in JavaFX.”

Read more of Mambo's interview and listen to our podcast in Student Views and Reviews.

Thursday Jul 30, 2009

Staying busy with JavaFX!

I have been (happily) busy the past couple of weeks with JavaFX-related activities, and the more I write about JavaFX the more resources I seem to find, so I thought I would consolidate some here.

1) I was lucky enough to be the point of contact for the three student winners of the JavaFX Coding Challenge!  It was a GREAT day when I was able to e-mail each student to tell them they had won $1,500!  I have also been following up with all three student winners, conducting interviews and podcasts.  They were all brave enough to conduct podcasts with me in English and they all did a FANTASTIC job!  I am so proud of all of them, so please check out their podcasts!   Ramin Mohammadi's was published last week, and I just published Diego Benna's today.  I will post Kazuki Hamasaki's the week of August 10-14, having just finished up the interview with him last night. I've also been coordinating with Chhandomay Mandal to interview the grand prize winners.  Sten Anderson's (developer of Music Explorer FX and grand prize winner!) interview was published this week, with Evgeni Sergeev coming soon!

2) This week Sun announced NetBeans 6.7.1 now supports JavaFX 1.2!  There was a lot of excitement in the blogosphere and Twitterville this week over this announcement and lots of developers are happy to finally have the support of the NetBeans IDE with JavaFX 1.2.

3) I came across two FREE JavaFX learning resources this week -- one is a 15-week course open to students of all ages, the other is a virtual summer camp for kids between the ages of 13-18. The "Summer Camp" for students ends in a few weeks, so please check it out and get your kids, nieces, nephews, friends, brothers, sisters signed up! 

Finally, I continue to search out active and influential JavaFX developers to conduct interviews and podcasts with.  Tonight, we will interview Stephen Chin of world-renowned WidgetFX fame.  Look for his interview to be published on Reviews Interactive in the coming weeks.  It will be fun to "meet" Steve over the phone after following him on Twitter and hearing the students talk about how cool they think WidgetFX is!

So, it has ben a very fun few weeks keeping up with JavaFX -- here's to hoping there is much more to come!

Tuesday Jun 30, 2009

Deadline looms for JavaFX blogging contest!

Don't miss out on the chance to win $500 for blogging about JavaFX 1.2! 

The deadline for entries is this Friday, July 3.

Check out all of the details on the JavaFX 1.2 contest here

I know there has been a lot of buzz in the JavaFX community since the new release and there are a lot of developers who have been busy creating new apps and really digging into the language and I hope all of you have entered!  If not, get on it!  After all, who couldn't use an extra $500?

Good luck to all!

Friday Jun 19, 2009

Sun news podcast

Listen to the short segment below as Chhandomay and I cover some of the successes achieved during Sun's WWVW as well as two new blogging contests!

Wednesday Jun 10, 2009

Blog for cash

Write a blog and win cash?  Yes!  How easy is this, especially if you are already blogging! 

Here's the deal -- blog about JavaFX 1.2 for a chance to win $500!  There are 10 $500 cash prizes up for grabs as well as fifty $25 Amazon gift certificates! Sounds like a great deal to me.  So, what do you have to do to enter?

  1. Download JavaFX 1.2 here
  2. Play around with the new features in JavaFX 1.2
  3. Write and post a blog anywhere about your experience with the new JavaFX 1.2
  4. Complete the submission form 

That's it!  There are some guidelines and rules you will want to make sure you read which can be found here.

So get going!  The contest is now open and runs through July 3rd, with winners to be announced the week of July 31.  

Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

JavaFX-powered online recording studio

The other day I came across this article that describes yet another cool technology leveraging the power of JavaFX.

Indaba Music, which is a community and suite of online tools for musicians, has revamped their online recording and production tool using JavaFX.  With this update, Indaba Music is giving users the ability to more easily record music "directly to the Internet" through a platform-agnostic online interface. The new platform, which not only allows users to record audio directly online, also includes improved tools for mixing, editing, and looping.

The biggest change with the addition of the JavaFX technology is that the barrier between the desktop and the browser is not as noticeable, and the interface works the same from anywhere -- not to mention the ability to drag and drop files to and from the desktop.

As I regularly track JavaFX buzz on the Internet I am pleased to report that it has ramped up significantly since the JavaOne conference, with even the most vocal skeptics trying it out and reporting on how amazed they are with the technology.  JavaFX's adoption by Indaba Music is just another example of how widely it can be employed in applications.

Thursday May 07, 2009

JavaFX game is out of this world!

You may have seen quite a few blogs and articles this past week talking about a new game that helps you learn JavaFX.  Although the game began in March, it's not too late to get involved!  The clues and theories are flying fast and furious and the team needs help to uncover the next JUMP!  Keep reading for the all details...

The PIE Theory is heralded by researchers Baron Rude and Hector Macchiato who believe that unexplained paranormal events are omens of a massive change in the direction of mankind. They have collected evidence throughout history where significant leaps in technology, science, and agriculture – known as a JUMP – were preceded by strange sightings and visitations. Both believe that another JUMP is about to occur and are asking for your help to track events and uncover the truth about the phenomena.

To take part, register at the PIE Theory Web site and download the toolkit, which contains JavaFX 1.1 and NetBeans 6.5. Both of these programs will help you help Baron and Hector unlock the clues for the next JUMP, and as a bonus, teach you JavaFX in the process.

You will use JavaFX to help Baron and Hector unlock the clues about the next JUMP – when and where it will happen, and what it will entail. The PIE Theory already has a wide network of collaborators and is actively collecting clues on their Wiki. So join current team members who are already working together on the PIE Network Forum, OSUM, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube and recruit others to help prepare for the next JUMP!

Monday Apr 20, 2009

Spreading the word about JavaFX

Part of my job at Sun is to monitor the Web for news, reviews, blogs, and general chatter around some of Sun's products, such as JavaFX.  I have found that there are many eager and enthusiastic JavaFX developers around the world who are building all sorts of exciting and unique applications with this language and are posting blogs reviewing the product as well as blogs on how they built their own app.  

There are a lot of JavaFX enthusiasts outside the U.S. and as I monitor the Web I often come across the blogs of Sun's Campus Ambassadors, many of whom are doing their part to help their classmates learn JavaFX.  

I personally like coming across a blog such as one last week from a Sun Ambassador in China who was giving a presentation to his classmates and had posted photos of the room filled with students eager to use JavaFX.  

On each of their blogs I thank them for their efforts, and also am encouraging them to spread the word about the JavaFX Coding Challenge, that is now under way.  

In the JavaFX Coding Challenge Sun is offering a number of prizes, with a top award of $25,000 in addition to cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000. There is a special category for students at an accredited college or university, with three $1,500 cash prizes that will be awarded to the top student applications. Students will not be limited to competing in this category, and will also be eligible to vie for the larger prizes as well. Additionally, Sun will award up to 100 honorable mentions, which will each earn a $25 Amazon gift certificate. 

What better opportunity to get more students or developers in general to try out JavaFX?  The contest ends on May 29th, so there is still plenty of time to get to work! 


Full-time MBA student and marketing intern in the Global Communications department. I live for adventure, whether it is climbing the local crag, backpacking with bears in the Smokies, or making the trek in Torres del Paine, I am always looking for fun!


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