Oracle Plans to Decouple JavaFX from the JDK

Oracle says it will separate JavaFX from the core JDK distribution beginning with JDK 11. Making the technology available as a separate module will make it easier to adopt and will "clear the way for new contributors to engage in the open source OpenJFX community," the company said in a statement.

Introduced in 2007, JavaFX is a set of graphics and media packages for rich client app development. Oracle open-sourced the technology in 2011 as OpenJFX, and it became part of the Oracle JDK download in 2012. It continued evolving in the OpenJDK community, attracting a passionate following of its own as a cross-platform desktop application toolkit.

Oracle pointed to its decision last year to accelerate the release schedule for the Java SE Platform and the JDK as part of the motivation for the separation. That accelerated release cadence provides a feature release every six months, update releases every quarter, and a long-term support release every three years. "JavaFX needs to be able to move forward at a pace driven by the contributions from Oracle and others in the OpenJFX community," the company said.

The company also cited the Java Platform Module System (JPMS), better known as Project Jigsaw, which was included with the Java SE 9 release, as a motivation. The JPMS brought a fundamentally new kind of programming component to Java; making JavaFX available as a separate module is a logical step, the company said.

Oracle has published a roadmap update for all of its client technologies, including Java Deployment (Applets and Web Start) and Java UI (Swing, AWT, and JavaFX) tech. The paper also aims to provide guidance for application developers, administrators, and users who rely on a stand-alone preinstalled desktop Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Oracle's position as stated in the paper is a bit mixed:

"Over the last decade, the JavaFX technology has found its niche where it enjoys the support of a passionate developer community. At the same time, the magnitude of opportunities for cross-platform toolkits such as JavaFX in the market place has been eroded by the rise of 'mobile first' and ‘web first' applications."

The company says it will continue to support JavaFX new fixes for Java SE 8 until 2022. It also plans to work with "interested third parties to make it easier to build and maintain JavaFX as a separately distributable open-source module."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].