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Open source JavaFX on its way for iOS and Android

Will allow developers to create cross-platform apps for the first time

By MARK JONES

Published: 14 February, 2013

READ MORE: US | Oracle | Applications | Java

Oracle has announced this week that it's going to create an open source version of its JavaFX UI platform which will allow developers to create cross-platform apps for iOS and Android for the first time. The announcement was made by Richard Blair in a post over at FX Experience revealing that JavaFX developers can expect the first "bits and pieces" for iOS to be available from next week.

The move could well raise interest in the JavaFX platform though with HTML5 looking to be the dominant new standard in the future Oracle could have had a hard job convincing developers to switch and desktop coders have already been slow to adopt it. However the ability to create one app which would work on both iOS and Android is an attractive prospect.


Blair addresses the issue that Apple doesn't allow GPL licensed applications in its app store. He says that by combining OpenJFX and OpenJDK code with the application its creator can then safely release it under their own license as a single application co-bundle.

"When OpenJFX can be built without any binary stubs, then there is nothing stopping you from taking OpenJFX with iOS port + OpenJDK and creating commercial applications that can be sold in the iOS app store" said Blair in the post. It might not be as straight forward as that but it certainly seems as if there's a good chance of developers being able to significantly increase the earning potential of their apps at some point this year.

It's expected that the open source JavaFX will be available by the end of the first quarter of 2013 though it was originally promised to be released by the end of 2012. A JavaFX game was shown off at 2011's JavaOne event running on iOS though it was only a proof of concept and never made to either Apple or Android's app stores.

While cross-platform apps have a way to go before they're perfected there's certainly a lot of evidence to show that they're the way forward. Not only are open source operating systems like Firefox OS and Ubuntu for phones adopting HTML5 as their standard language for making apps but BlackBerry has also taken a significant step by making it easy for Android developers to port their apps into BlackBerry world. A move which has boosted the number of apps in the store though there's been some criticism over that they aren't as refined as BB10's native apps.

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