Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dear Sun

I tried. I really did. Based on the latest cheerleading on C|Net, and since I am not averse to coding a UI as well as specifying it, I tried JavaFX. I almost didn't when your first three 'Getting Started" videos I saw were of less-than-totally telegenic people cheerleading instead of showing me process or how to actually do something, but I went ahead anyway.

Downloaded your plug-in into the most popular development environment (yeah, it's not your own Netbeans) and in the most standard project configuration, and bam, it doesn't work. Turns out on Eclipse (3.3.2 Mac OSX) you have to select that projects should put output in the same directory as the source when defining a project, or you will get a "[filename].fx not found" error.

But then comes the killer. You want your JavaFX to be the new Flash, the new quick and easy way to make nice multi-media apps for the web. Except all the demos just end up as Java programs. You know, applets. Pieces of the web that, when your browser encounters them, make everything grind to a halt, worse than hitting a PDF, as the system tries to start the JAVA sub-system. Look, I have made user intefaces in JAVA. Huge ones. I coded 70% of every line and supervised the other 30%. Yes, JavaFX seems to make it easier to make pretty ones. But the end product is just going to be as bad to run inside a browser as anything else JAVA, and that is not what I want out of life. If I had a huge investment in JAVA code I might be more patient, but still... Oh ok, who am I kidding, if someone payed me I'd seriously take it up. What I want is to be able to make apps that run as fast and ubiquitously as Flash so I think I will try Flex for my project, thanks.

Also, that per-unit licensing fee for the runtime on mobile phones? Mobile-phone makers don't like per-unit fees. Makes development costs unpredictable.