This Time It's for Everyone

Back in the day, I had a dinner meeting with an old friend leading the UNIX OS work at another Silicon Valley company. These were the early Mosaic days—and I had just come off a long run, at my Sun workstation, of surfing and looking under the covers—so I could appreciate exactly how it all worked. As was (and is) my wont, I was raving about the brilliant simplicity of it all, when he stopped me in my tracks and said something to the effect of, ‘it will never really work’. He went on about the lack of referential integrity, unmanageable navigation techniques, and on and on.

We know how that chapter ended. And why? Peeling away all of the artifacts of history, the simple truth is that the access and simplicity of the web enables the expression of a fundamental component of the human machine—the need to communicate. As powerful as is the visceral impact of staring at fire, or the soothing sounds of the ocean surf, humans have, deeply encoded in their DNA, the need to communicate. That compelling drive, and to do so as richly and as broadly as possible, is a force more powerful than the limitations of distance and the jurisdiction of governments. And any technology that is a catalyst for the fulfillment of this deepest of human traits will overcome the limitations of technical imperfection. In effect, to harness our machines to make us all more human.

I was meeting with folks in the Java organization recently—discussing our final plans for JavaOne—and reviewing how all of their hard work had come together for today’s remarkable announcements. It was the culmination of many such sessions where I had been raving (again, my wont) about the potential opportunities for the Java platform. Yes, it’s the most pervasive software platform in history (more than 2 billion mobile handsets and more that 70 percent of all desktops and laptops), and yes, adoption just keeps accelerating (52 million desktop/laptop downloads in January) and yes the number of developers continues to grow at an astounding rate (did I mention more than 6 million strong?). And yes, in open source form under the GPL license (a process completed today) there will be yet more access via Linux distros and more contributions from everyone.

But the ability to deliver a rich experience, and tap in to those individuals who have the greatest creative skills, drove us all to realize that there was much more to do. As successful as the Java platform has been, it has catered to the needs of the technical developer—so rich and broad in scope that rapidly expressing a media-centric experience—and doing that quickly and simply—was beyond the reach of those with the interest and expertise to do so. Similar to the design tradeoffs of my long-ago dinner, we had made remarkably complex things possible—from server to desktop to mobile device—but simple things unapproachable. Too much assembly required—from complex user interface design to the source code porting of the JRE to mobile devices. We had to address, no attack, the opportunity of enabling Java to be the mass communication platform that we knew it could be.

Which is why we created JavaFX. A family of products, technologies, and soon, opensource communities, to radically improve the networked communication experience for people at a worldwide scale.

We created a new scripting language, JavaFX Script, that targets creative professionals to build rich, stimulating web and network experiences. It’s not Java the language, but it produces portable bytecodes that run on Java the platform. It’s the same platform that has the enormous distribution I cited above, and the same platform that runs applications written in Java and about one hundred other languages that now run on the JVM.

This architecture enables a continuum across development paradigms to create amazing web experiences. Create in JavaFX Script. Drop in to Java (or JRuby, or, or), access all of the libraries in the JDK. And do it fast. Very, very fast.

Then we created JavaFX—a line of products designed around JavaSE—designed to bring a consistent media-rich environment to every modern consumer device. The first one to roll out—JavaFX Mobile—is a complete software system for smartphone-class devices. Complete from the mobile metal to the user experience and personal applications, JavaFX Mobile runs applications written in JavaSE, JavaME and all of the new content written with JavaFX Script. Thank Moore’s law, the Sun team, and some very smart folks and their technology brought to Sun as part of the SavaJe asset acquisition. WORA. Not just across operating systems or microprocessors. Everything.

Oh, and while you’re taking a closer look—take a look at Derby—the embeddable, pure Java database for consumer devices as well as servers. Use it as a reliable database for new applications, or as a cache to synch your activities when moving from off-line to on-line. Use it with JavaFX. Everywhere.

Oh, one more thing. I just had my one year anniversary back at Sun. Love it.

Comments:

Great to the openness, leadership and support for innovation shown by Sun Senior management. It must take some guts. Even better to see the results.

While on the subject of Derby, any chance of Sun acquiring db4o, the object database? Combined with JavaFX, db4o has many benefits, making for simpler object/data storage, retrieval and synchronisation for even shorter development time.

Posted by Peter Firmstone on May 09, 2007 at 05:20 PM PDT #

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