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Sun has, by attacking the two big issues, the complexity of writing UI code and the deployment issue, come up with a platform with a lot of potential. For development, it has enhanced NetBeans 6.5, and created an editor with drag and drop support for JavaFX code, giving developers a mature, open source based, IDE which will also handle any Java code they want to develop. JavaFX's Production Tools let Illustrator users export JavaFX code
Zoom JavaFX's Production Tools let Illustrator users export JavaFX code
There are also tools from Sun which can convert Illustrator and Photoshop content into JavaFX code, making the integration of good quality graphic content a lot easier. It's all fairly compelling.

But its not completely rosy. Despite Sun's commitment to open source, only the compiler, parts of the graphics library and the tools are licensed under the GPL2. The JavaFX runtime though is closed source, and that may create some issues in the future. JavaFX is designed to be cross platform too, with JavaFX Mobile also appearing with the JavaFX 1.0 release, but only Windows and Mac OS X are initially supported at launch, which, although covering the largest proportion of desktop platforms on the market, leaves Linux and Solaris waiting for their JavaFX support. In mitigation, Sun can plead that they are incorporating proprietary codecs for media support and have actually managed to launch on two platforms, rather than adopting the "Windows first" attitude that has previously plagued Java desktops.

Can JavaFX take on Flash? – No. Flash is already ubiquitous. JavaFX can though take on Adobe's AIR and Microsoft's Silverlight; it has all the right stuff in the platform. Whether Sun can gain mind share for JavaFX has yet to be seen, but Java developers will, we expect, appreciate the new way of developing rich applications, with or without Swing components. One thing is certain; the fight for dominance in rich internet applications is now a three horse race.

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