Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Desktop Java Slims Down to Enter the AJAX Race

A number of very significant development efforts are underway that bode well for Desktop Java's future

A number of very significant development efforts are underway that bode well for Desktop Java's future.

On the language side is the Java FX script project www.sun.com/software/javafx/index.jsp. Java FX is neat because it provides a high-level scripting interface that runs on top of the Java 2D API. From the users' viewpoint it means they don't have to write Java code and, for better or worse, understand the intricacies of threads, Java 2D or Swing class hierarchies, timing frameworks, and so forth. Instead they just write script that describes the desired GUI at a high level, including animation effects, graphic effects such as gradients or noise, and data binding in the base API. There are some nice tools out there to help teach the language syntax that's available on https://openjfx.dev.java.net/; the goal of the FX team is to provide a syntax and experience that is palatable to graphic designers and folks who are interested in finessing the visual experience of the application. Currently at runtime it operates as a kind of fourth-generation language because an interpreter creates Java code from the FX script and then calls the appropriate Java 2D APIs. The long-term goal of the team though is to compile from FX script straight to byte codes.

On its own Java FX is s a nice addition to the desktop Java stable; however, it still relies on the presence of a JRE that can run the code it generates. To those who see FX as being an entrant into the rich Internet application space, competing with Adobe Flex for example, there remains the difficult problem of how to get the install experience and runtime performance of desktop Java comparable to other rich Internet application architectures. Fortunately this problem is being tackled by another very interesting project, the Java kernel.

The Java kernel initiative recognizes the fact that most Java applications typically use a subset of the JRE, an example being Limewire (a file-sharing client app) that weighs in at about 1/3 of a total JRE size. The kernel will repackage the JRE such that only the portions required to run an app are downloaded as and when they are needed. The base portion that every program needs would be downloaded as a minimum for the JRE to start, and an application can either explicitly specify additional dependencies it needs, or rely on ClassNotFound exception magic to cause missing classes to be downloaded on demand. This is all great news to help slim down and make more efficient a Java program's delivery to a user's desktop. In addition to tackling how Java programs are downloaded, the kernel is also looking at the startup performance of Java programs. While warm start times have decreased significantly over the last few releases, a cold start JRE still requires a delay of many seconds before the application's main(String[]) is called. The Java kernel is attempting to tackle this by effectively turning a cold start experience into a warm one, using techniques such as pre-loading the JRE from disk into memory, as well as having operating system services whose job it is to monitor available memory and JRE activity to get the best performance for the user. In addition to these, the kernel is also providing a new browser plug-in that gives Web start developers more information about what's on the desktop, the available JRE levels and vendors in detail, and generally makes the whole JNLP experience slicker and more robust.

Both the Java kernel and Java FX are great news for Desktop Java. The kernel is good because it's recognizing that Swing has reached a stage of maturity where the problem isn't one of missing features, but how to help developers get their applications onto a user's desktop as quickly and efficiently as possible. FX is great news because it opens up a whole new set of developer to Java; those who are comfortable with scripting languages and want to do advanced animation and graphics effects easily with a few lines of code. The end result of both will be more applications written in Java running on more users' machines, faster and easier for both developer and user.

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.