JavaFX is out - or thinking about my last year with JavaFX
By Michael Heinrichs on Dec 04, 2008
It's been done. Today the first version of the JavaFX SDK was released. What better occasion could there be to reactivate my blog? And it is a good time to stop for a moment and think about the past year in which I have worked on JavaFX.
I started to learn JavaFX (or was it still called F3 at that time?) a little more than a year ago, mostly in my spare time. I liked the ideas of the language and enjoyed playing with that. When my manager asked for volunteers to help the JavaFX compiler team a couple of weeks later, there was certainly nothing to stop me and so I joined the probably most professional and most experienced team, I have ever worked with.
The beginning was a lot of fun. The language had changed quite a lot compared to the interpreted version, which I was used to, but there was no documentation at all. So I had to learn JavaFX Script the hard way, by studying the grammar-file. Ever tried to learn a language by looking at the grammar? It's definitely something one should try.
The first weeks were probably the most exciting once. The syntax of the language changed almost every week, there were zillions of discussions on our mail-alias going on at the same time about different aspects of the language, and there were only very few of us, but all of us dedicated and devoted to this new thing called JavaFX.
Personally, it was amazing how much I was learning. For example, in the past, I always thought, it's quite freaky, if C/C++ - developers were looking at the code, which was generated by the compiler. They should focus on the high-level language, right? That's why it was invented, wasn't it? And here I was: not only looking at the Java code, which was generated by the JavaFX compiler, but also at the bytecode, which was generated from Java code...
And then there was JavaOne. All of us had worked hard, especially during the weeks immediately prior to JavaOne, and we were excited to see how people would react. One needs to know, that JavaFX was still questioned by a lot of people at that time. More than once, I had conversations with my colleagues like this: "Is JavaFX already dead?" - "No, wait until JavaOne and you will see..." - "If it dies slowly or fast?"
As we all know by now, JavaOne was a major success for JavaFX. We presented our prototypes on different devices, showed cool new features, and most importantly people became interested. And everything changed. Almost over night, JavaFX became one of the biggest efforts at Sun - and a prestigious one, too. Suddenly people from everywhere were joining the effort, mostly managers and architects though, not so many code-monkeys like myself. All over the place new projects were started, processes and committees were established... For better or for worse, the effort grew tremendously right after JavaOne.
The last couple of months were dedicated mostly to finish our work for the 1.0 release: implementing the last missing pieces, fixing bugs, improving the performance... The beta release was pretty unspectacular IMO and we went back to our daily routine pretty quickly. But now the 1.0 version is out, and once again I am very excited to see, what people think about the product.
Oh, yes, and before I forget, here is the link, were you can download the JavaFX SDK and see a whole bunch of samples with source-code. Have fun and tell me what you think!