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JavaFX vs Silverlight vs Flex

We shouldn’t forget that Java really started as an RIA technology back in the late 90s with applets

Sten Anderson's Blog

We shouldn’t forget that Java really started as an RIA technology back in the late 90s with applets. But I don’t think JavaFX will win any “hearts and minds”. In the end, I think everybody goes with what they know. Dot Netters will go with Silverlight, and Adobe people will stick with Flex. All that’s changed is that finally Java people have an option now. That’s it. No more and no less.

The maiden voyage of JavaFX began today. There have been, what seems to me, a lot of nay-saying and grumbling on the Internet — a place usually known for its welcoming of new ideas with open minds and hearts — regarding the projected success (or failure) of JavaFX.

So I’m going to do something a bit unconventional and share an opinion about something in the context of a blog post.

I don’t think JavaFX will win any “hearts and minds”.  In the end, I think everybody goes with what they know. Dot Netters will go with Silverlight, and Adobe people will stick with Flex. All that’s changed is that finally Java people have an option now.  That’s it.  No more and no less.

Some predict that JavaFX is too late to the party. I agree that it would have been nice if it came out last year, but I ultimately think that this won’t matter. JavaFX’s primary differentiator, that it runs on the Java platform and interoperates seemlessly with existing Java code, deflates this claim. We shouldn’t forget that Java really started as an RIA technology back in the late 90s with applets. So in a way, JavaFX’s infrastructure has been here for years.

We’re in a transition point between the Age of Web Apps and the Age of RIAs (in the web space, that is). And if you doubt that we’re at this transition point, or if you think that RIAs include web apps, ask yourself, does AJAX really give you “all the rich you need”?

Can AJAX really, as Jef Raskin famously stated, treat all user input as sacred? Is AJAX really the end all and be all of a Compelling User Experience? Or do we remember that applications used to run outside of a browser?

There is plenty of room, and I would argue, even a need, in the RIA space for an Open Source solution that runs with Java.

So Java people, cast off your MXML and come back to the fold! Silverlight people, there’s nothing to see here; move along.

 

More Stories By Sten Anderson

Sten Anderson is a Senior Consultant for the Chicago-based Consultant Company, CityTech.

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