Monday, August 31, 2009

More JavaFX impressions

So I have been using JavaFX for about 2 weeks now. I am working on commercial application for a client and now that I am more familiar with both tools and language I think it's a good time to post an update.

Tools still suck - no surprise here :) but they suck even worse in Eclipse than in NetBeans so even though my workplace is an Eclipse shop we're using NetBeans for our JavaFX development. I've had a quick chat with David Kaspar, a friend of mine and one of the developers who are currently working on JavaFx tools at NetBeans and he told me that Sun is aware of the situation and it is about to improve, so FX support NetBeans 6.8 should be much better.

I really hope so because the language is awesome and despite everything I do enjoy working in it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

First JavaFX impressions

In my job I've been playing around with some pretty cool and new technologies lately. This gave me the opportunity to write a a WPF based video player (with some very client specific functionality) in C# in just about a month. Coming from Java background with no prior .NET experience at all, it was quite an accomplishment. But it is not simply a credit to my genius but mostly to the tools that were available to me: Visual Studio with ReSharper. As occasional IntelliJ user I was soon very comfortable and pumping out code like nobodies business. As a SWING developer used to working with NetBeans forms editor I found the XAML editor fairly intuitive.

This brings me to my JavaFX experience. I've been assigned the task of evaluating technologies for a new UI project. I am currently down to either SWING or JavaFX, and while I would really love to use JavaFX there is a single major reason that is making me very hesitant:

Lack of Good Development Tools

While I love the demos that I downloaded for JavaFX I am sorely disappointed with the available tools. It's kind of sad really, since most of my old colleagues at Sun who used to work with me on Mobility support are working on JavaFX support now. I know many people on that team and they are some of the smartest most capable developers. Something must have gone very wrong along the way because at the time of writing this I personally find the JavaFX support in NetBeans to be an embarasement. The most basic features are missing from the editor which makes it a major pain to work with (source formatting, cut/paste imports, automatic imports while typing, auto-completion is of mark at times, etc. etc.). This makes it very difficult for me to be productive with the language from the start. Sun has been pushing JavaFX hard because it does enable some very cool UI magic but I wish they put as many resources into making it usable to developers thus speeding up adoption.

I will continue to play around with JavaFX and I hope that in the end I'll find that I can live with (and remain productive with) it's current tool set.