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JavaFX seems like a viable alternative for RIA development, but you need to write, build, and run some scripts to know whether it's for you. In this article (the first in a short series), Jeff Friesen introduces you to the JavaFX Preview SDK. Get installation instructions for JavaFX with NetBeans 6.1, create a Hello World script, and explore scalable vector graphics conversion and rendering using Project Nile. Level: Beginner.
It is remarkable to realize that one year ago we could only explore the JavaFX Script language and various JavaFX APIs via an interpreter and an interactive application called JavaFX Pad. Since that time, Sun Microsystems has evolved the language, has created a compiler to improve runtime performance, and has released the JavaFX Preview SDK for JavaFX programming.
The JavaFX Preview SDK (which will be replaced by the upcoming JavaFX SDK 1.0, expected to be released in November) consists of two components that provide the tools, technologies, and resources for creating RIAs (rich Internet applications) that are based on the JavaFX Script language and its associated APIs:
Learning JavaFX, especially at this early stage in its development, is a big undertaking; but it can also be fun. So we'll take our time getting to know the JavaFX SDK, starting this month with using JavaFX and Project Nile from within the NetBeans 6.1 IDE. We'll install the components and then I'll walk you through some easy RIA development using your new tools. Later articles in the series will explore the JavaFX Script language and its APIs. Tutorials will be based on the JavaFX Preview SDK, which is available now, and on JavaFX SDK 1.0, once it is released.
NetBeans IDE 6.1 with JavaFX provides an environment for developing JavaFX-based RIAs. It includes JavaFX tools (such as a compiler) and plugins for these tools, and is available for Windows and Mac OS X (Intel only). Visit Sun's JavaFX Technology Downloads page to learn about the NetBeans IDE 6.1 with JavaFX system requirements and download the component.
Although NetBeans IDE 6.1 with JavaFX officially supports only Windows and Mac OS X (Intel only), developer Weiqi Gao shows you how to get most of the Mac OS X version of the SDK to work on Linux in his blog post "Watch JavaFX SDK Run -- On Linux" (see Resources). If you're holding out hope that Linux will be officially supported at some point, there's a good chance that you will get your wish with JavaFX SDK 1.0, which is due out later this year.
Whether you download the NetBeans IDE 6.1 with JavaFX or just the JavaFX tools (if you have NetBeans IDE 6.1 installed and just need the tools), you should also make sure that you have the Java SE 6 update 7 (or later) SDK installed on your platform. Sun recommends that you install this Java SDK prior to installing NetBeans IDE 6.1 with JavaFX.
I installed Java SE 6u7 on my Windows XP platform, and then installed the NetBeans/JavaFX combo. After downloading the
netbeans-6.1-javafx-windows.exe installer file, I proceeded to run this installer. If you've never installed the NetBeans IDE on your platform, you'll find
that installation proceeds very smoothly.
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