Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Job

WARNING: This blog entry was imported from my old blog on (which used different blogging software), so formatting and links may not be correct.

Apologies for the recent blog silence for me. It's not that I've been slacking off. Quite to the contrary!
The biggest news is that I've changed teams: I'm now working on JavaFX! And more specifically, the designer tool.

If you don't know what JavaFX is, you're probably reading my blog because you're interested in Ruby, Python or the various other languages for NetBeans I've been involved with. If so, fear not - NetBeans language support is in great hands - Erno just improved the Rails dynamic finders code completion for Ruby for example. Of course, as an open source project we can always use more contributors! I've received a bunch of patches for the Python support recently which I've been happy to apply immediately. Keep 'em coming!

Briefly, JavaFX is a new UI stack for Java which makes it trivial to build pretty, dynamic and interactive UIs. While Java has always made it easy to target multiple operating systems, JavaFX makes it easy to target the completely separate platforms of desktop, web and mobile. If you haven't looked into it, you should.

JavaFX has its own language, JavaFX Script. It has some language level features which makes it really suited to building UI applications - from something simple like a literal for durations (so you can write 2m or 5s or 250ms in your source code), to something advanced like variable bindings which give you all of the power of traditional property change listeners, but without the pain (and it's more powerful than that - you can for example bind the rotation angle of a clock hand to an expression which computes the angle from the current time, and whenever the time variable changes the clock hand rotation is updated.) As a Java developer (and a Ruby and Python and JavaScript coder as well) I can truly say I've seen some things in JavaFX Script that I would like to see in other languages. I might talk about that in an upcoming blog entry.

If you're one of the alternate-languages-on-the-JVM people, I think you should seriously look into adding a binding layer for the JavaFX platform to your language. Libraries like Groovy Swingbuilders (and similar libraries for Ruby etc) have made Swing more accessible, but at the end of the day you're still dealing with Swing. If you want to add drop shadows, transition animations etc. a JavaFX DSL would be a much better approach. And besides, we're firing on all 256 cylinders on the JavaFX platform -- from the base Java platform (adding modularity so we can provide a barebones FX runtime), to the graphics system, to components, to the language, and up to the designer tool! I think it's going to shake up the RIA space - which is why I wanted to be part of it.

I promise my next blog entry won't be long in waiting, I've got a bunch of things queued up!

No comments:

Post a Comment