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Get out of (em)bed

JDK for ARM without JavaFX: The end of JavaFX Embedded?

JAX Editorial Team
Raspberry Pi image via Shutterstock

Oracle has withdrawn their support for JavaFX Embedded, however JavaFX continues to be provided as a fully supported part of the Oracle JDK 8 product on x86 platforms. Are we seeing the beginning of the end for JavaFX on embedded systems?

The latest version of the Java Development Kit for ARM processors (JDK 8u33 for ARM) no longer supports JavaFX Embedded, with Oracle making the new change known in their latest release notes. The ARM architecture is based, among other things, on the single board computer Raspberry Pi.

Oracle’s difficult decision

Oracle initially did not specify their reasons for the decision. After some initial confusion in the community, Oracle’s Kevin Rushford took the necessary steps in preparing an official statement: Due to the lack of standardization in the hardware market, it was seen as difficult to continue supporting JavaFX on embedded systems. The bottom line was that Oracle couldn’t meet the requirements of their paying customers and while making the necessary resource tradeoff.

But this no way implies that JavaFX will cease to exist on other platforms:

This does not mean that FX is going away on other platforms, and hopefully does not mean we will be disappearing from ARM completely.

Rushford’s colleague, Dalibor Topic, has elaborated on the development over at the Raspberry Pi blog by announcing that the code for JavaFX Embedded has been given to the open-source project OpenJFX. He recommends that developers who are looking for alternatives to JavaFX Embedded come out and contribute to the project, or use alternative UI frameworks such as Swing or AWT.

Java and ARM – a friendship with history

In December 2012, JavaFX UI technology was first integrated into the Java Standard Edition for Linux on ARM chips as a preliminary release of Java SE 8 for developers. The new possibilities were highlighted by Oracle’s Simon Ritter during his presentation at JAX 2013:

In July 2013, Oracle partnered with ARM to better coordinate the Java Standard Edition on 32-bit and 64-bit ARM systems. ARM is also an Executive Committee member of the Java Community Process (JCP).

Relations between ARM and the programming language have existed since the early days of Java: In 1996, ARM ported the JavaOS operating system, while maintaining its own chip architecture. Thus, the first bridge between the British Chip Group and the one-year-young programming language was forged and a long-standing friendship has ensued.

While Oracle’s decision has startled many in the community, the cooperation between the companies is likely to have little effect. You also need no longer worry about the future of JavaFX (long neglected by Sun and Oracle). As of Java 8, JavaFX is the official UI toolkit for Java, and is booming like never before.

This post first appeared on JAXenter.de (30.1.2015)

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