JavaNews Brief: JavaFX Set to Get RAD

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Just because Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) is on the verge of beingacquired by Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) doesn’t mean that it isn’t still buildingnew tools.

Most recently, that included a new Rapid Application Development (RAD)tool for JavaFX that aims to help Sun grow its adoption and usage. Sun hasbeen working onJavaFX since at least 2007 as a challenger to AJAX , withthe first official JavaFX release coming out a yearago.

JavaFX, of course, is a Java-based platform for building rich Internetapplications (RIAs) that can run on computers or mobile devices. WhileJavaFX offers powerful capabilities on its own, having tools that can helpdevelopers to rapidly take advantage of those capabilities is critical.

During a conference call yesterday, Sun’s director of Developer ToolsEngineering, David Folk, revealed that the new JavaFX RAD tool would beavailable in an early form as soon as next week.

“We’re not even calling this a beta—we’re calling it an ‘early access’or preview,” Folk said. “What this tool is really about is enabling you todevelop form-based applications with JavaFX.”

Folk noted that Sun doesn’t yet have a formal name for the JavaFX RADtool. Right now, he said that the working name is the JavaFX composerplug-in for NetBeans, Sun’s Java IDE that it this week updated toversion 6.8 in tandem with the debut of Java EE 6 and Glassfish v3.

According to Folk, the basic idea behind the new JavaFX tool is similarto what Sun did with its Project Matisse, a feature created to make itsimpler for developers to quickly develop SWING applicationsby dragging and dropping components onto a form.

Matisse eventually became productized as the NetBeans GUI Builder in2006’s NetBeans 5.0release.

“Now with the JavaFX tool that we’re developing, you’ll be able to do thesame thing and drag and drop JavaFX components onto a form, bind thosecomponents to a data source—be it JDBC , Web Service or afile,” Folk said. “I think this will lead to much faster development ofbusiness applications that make use of JavaFX.”

The preview release of JavaFX composer plug-in for NetBeans will beavailable for download next week.

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