Oracle this week showed JavaFX rich client software running on both an Apple iPad and an Android-based Samsung Galaxy tablet, along with introducing a separate project using HTML5 to bring Java to Apple's iOS platform, called Project Avatar.
The company also cited intentions to converge its Java ME (Micro Edition) platform, which puts Java on mobile devices, with Java SE at the JavaOne conference. Oracle also said it was delaying until 2013 the release of Java SE 8, which had been due next year.
Java has been barred from Apple's iOS devices, thanks to Apple's official policy not allowing third party technologies, such as Flash Player or Java, on the units. But a brief demonstration showed a JavaFX game running on an iPad. This effort effectively puts Java on iOS but is still in a developmental mode. "We want to hear from the community. If this is something you want to see, we're happy to make it a priority," said Nandini Ramani, vice president of development in the Oracle Fusion Middleware Group.
The Samsung Android device ran the demo as well, although Oracle referred to the device as a "Linux" unit without mentioning Android. Oracle is suing Google over Android, alleging patent violations.
JavaFX will be offered via open source, including the framework and components. Oracle's direction for JavaFX pleased analyst Al Hilwa of IDC. "Overall I like what I am seeing in the way JavaFX is moving. Turning it into a framework to be used from within Java is definitely a better approach. I like open sourcing it. I would love to see it bring Java back into a tool for cross-platform mobile development."
A JavaOne attendee lauded Oracle's plans for JavaFX on iOS. "It's a huge market," for JavaFX applications, said Daryl Gerlach, Websphere portal architect at Phoenix Contact, which makes industrial electrical components.
With Project Avatar, the company is proposing a solution for dynamic rich clients, featuring HTML5 on the browser, Java applications and Java EE in the cloud. Avatar is intended to improve interoperability between HTML5 and Java to simplify the development of rich client/server interaction for cloud-based applications, Oracle said. In demonstrating Avatar, Oracle officials leveraged an Apple iPod.
Avatar can forge a hybrid combination in which the UI is written via HTML5 and the model and controller are built in Java, enabling an application that looks like any other iOS application. "The basic idea is that you have a Java and an HTML5 hybrid app which can run on mobile devices," said Adam Messinger, Oracle vice president of development for Fusion Middleware. Avatar unites Java ME, SE and EE, Messinger explained. The Java Virtual Machine is linked to the programme, enabling compliance with Apple rules, according to Messinger.
Bridging the divide between Java ME and SE, Oracle plans to let Java ME developers benefit from Java SE language enhancements, leveraging consistent debugging, profiling, and diagnostics across both platforms. CDC (Connected Device Configuration) technology from Java ME will be fitted atop Java SE via a CDC profile. At this juncture, Oracle has made no statements about discontinuing Java ME, however. The company anticipates its Java ME specification will provide for a smartphone experience on feature phones.
With Java SE 8, Oracle is pushing delivery out from late 2012 to the summer of 2013. Oracle just released Java SE 7 in July.
"As we've talked to the community, we've heard that the pace is too rapid," Messinger said. "Too rapid for certification, too rapid for updates." Java SE 8 will feature Project Jigsaw capabilities, which involve a module system for Java applications and the Java platform, as well as Project Lambda, providing closures and related features in the Java language as well as parallel operations in Java collection APIs.
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