Java FX 2.0 has been released in beta - this is good news for some developers but not for those in the Linux environment.
Java FX 2.0 was announced over six months ago - at JavaOne in September 2010 which is why Oracle is describing this beta release as "much-anticipated".
However, the fact that there is no download for Linux has led to more discontent than enthusiasm among the comments greeting the news announcement on the Java blog.
The new features of JavaFX 2.0 are:
Java APIs provide all the familiar language features (such as generics, annotations, and multithreading). The APIs are designed to work with other JVM languages, such as JRuby and Scala.
A new graphics engine makes use of the GPU to speed things up. The basis of this new engine is a hardware accelerated graphics pipeline, called Prism, that is coupled with a new windowing toolkit, called Glass.
A new media engine that supports playback of the web multimedia content based on the GStreamer multimedia framework.
A web component that gives the capability of embedding HTML content within a JavaFX application using the WebKit HTML rendering technology. Hardware accelerated rendering is made available using Prism.
A refreshed browser plug-In for JavaFX 2.0 that allows the loading of JavaFX applets based on Prism.
A wide variety of built-in UI controls, which include Charts, Tables, Menus, and Panes. Additionally, an API is provided to allow third parties to contribute UI controls that the user community can use.
Sample applications that showcase the different features of the JavaFX 2.0 technology, along with a large number of code samples and snippets.
Of course older JavaFX application will no longer work because JavaFX Script is not supported. In fact the new version is much more like a "reboot" of the entire technology than an upgrade.
As well as the SDK you can also download a JavaFX 2.0 plugin for NetBeans.
Oracle said that it plans to move the JavaFX 2.0 release into general availability some time in the third quarter of 2011. It also plans to release versions for Linux and the Mac later in the year.
The real question is whether or not JavaFX 2.0 can revitalise Java on the desktop? Is it really just a matter of adding some 3D effects and general purpose graphics?
Download from the Java FX site.