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AJAX and RIA Technology Will Be Free for All: Sun CEO

Jonathan Schwartz adds "Java's Always Been a RIA Platform"

'Java's always been a RIA platform - before the world really wanted one,' claimed Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz recently, as he reflected on the reinvention of the Java platform as represented by JavaFX. 'What's a rich internet application?' Schwartz wrote.

'It depends on your perspective,' he continued, adding 'From mine, it's any network connected application that persists in front of a user, typically outside a browser, that can operate when disconnected from the network.'

Writing in his popular industry blog, Schwartz gave a little of the background to Java's origins:
"Early Java applets delivered interactivity, but at the expense of development complexity and, in the early days, performance - when a browser, and more recently JavaScript, would suffice.

But browser based applications are hitting complexity and performance limits, and content owners are striving for higher levels of engagement (via high definition video, or advanced interactivity). Developers are demanding something new - the browser's a wonderfully accessible programming model, but it's a weak deployment model for rich/disconnected applications."
Schwartz also noted how, in his view, an unspoken driver of RIA is also business model evolution - "many companies behind rich applications are seeking independence from browsers and search engines, whose default settings and corporate parents present a competitive threat."

"There's a growing appetite for locally installed applications that build rich, direct and permanent engagement with consumers. No one wants to pay a toll to meet their own customers," he added.

In Sun's view RIA developers want to reach every consumer on earth, and on every device, because the market is in front of consumers - no matter what screen they may be using.

Second, according to Schwartz, "RIA developers want performance, functionality AND simplicity."

And third, enterprises want to reuse their existing Java skills and assets in moving to RIA, he added. Fourth, they want free and open platforms, and lastly, "the real value in Web 2.0 is the data - not the app. And that data is YOURS."

Schwartz ended by discussing what the success of JavaFX is worth to Sun:

"By definition, it's worth more to Sun than the adoption of someone else's platform (known as "positive option value") - and the proprietary infrastructure used to serve it (don't forget, RIAs have rich internet back-ends (RIBs?). And in the RIA world, all the options are going to be priced at free, anyways - this isn't a contest to be won on price.

From where I sit, the platform likely to win will be the one that sets developers free - to pursue markets, opportunities and customer experiences as they define them, not as vendors define them. Now, setting developers free - that's where we can excel. It's in the DNA of everything we do.

For developers, learn more at JavaFX.com. And be sure to check out NetBeans - like Java itself, it's starting to rock the free world... "

Photo credit: Arun Gupta, Sun

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JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

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Most Recent Comments
Casper Bang 06/11/08 08:41:29 AM EDT

For a company which claims to always have had a RIA platform, applet's were surprisingly sucky and JavaFX is remarkably vapourwareish. I find it ironic you can claim Java as a success in this, when it's Java's scripted sibling language JavaScript who now dominates the web experience here 10 years after.

NN 06/10/08 07:11:49 PM EDT

Yes Java has fail our time and time. SUN has fail in so many ways that unimaginable in terms of making money and consolidating as of the top 3 software maker.

1. BEA made lot of money
2. Adobe Flex base has more demand compare to Java base anything i.e. JavaFx or JSF. Even Flex latest version is somewhat better but created more penetration compare to Java base plug-in or similar.
4. AIR again from Adobe can give Flex to desktop transition with ease. Swing fail in so much and SUN never ever care to address that. Yeah Java Web start if you care more.
5. still more

Richard Monson-Haefel 06/10/08 07:59:08 AM EDT

Jonathan Schwartz is right (mostly). Java has always been a RIA. In fact, I would say that Java pioneered this market.

That said, Java didn't succeed as a RIA for a couple of reasons. First was speed - not just speed of the applet plug-ins but also speed in downloading. Broadband was not common in 1995 - 2000 and its hard to be successful with a RIA technology when everyone one is sporting 14.4 - 56k modems.

Another big reason Java was not successful as a RIA platform was that the Java plug-ins were very inconsistent across browsers. I believe that Sun has learned that lesson and now provides the plug-ins for nearly all browsers themselves. I suspect that the new plug-ins that support JavaFX will all be built by Sun.

Before there was Adobe Flex or Ajax there was Java. There was also Curl which was released as product in 1998. DHTML also had a run at the RIA market but failed for much the same reasons as Java - lack of bandwidth and more importantly poor portability. Of the three (i.e. Java, Curl, and DHTML) only Curl managed to achieve and maintain any significant penetration and that was mostly in Asia - a market that the westerners are understandably unaware of.

Richard Monson-Haefel
VP of Developer Relations
Curl, Inc.

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