Review of JavaFX Script by James L. Weaver

by Ulf on September 4th, 2008 (Permalink)

JavaFX Script („JavaFX“ henceforth) is a new way to develop client-side Java GUI applications, comprised of a more declarative code syntax, and some new ways to couple behavior to code. That being the case, it (and by extension, this book) has two audiences: developers proficient in Java who want to learn about JavaFX, and web developers interested in building rich client applications who may not know much (or any) Java.

Falling into the first group, this reviewer thinks neither group is well served by the book. Java developers don‘t need much introduction to basic concepts; they‘d be better served by comparisons between how things are done in plain Java, and how they are done in JavaFX, plus an overview of the new features JavaFX brings to the table. Neither is included in the book. Non-Java developers will struggle when trying to understand Java syntax and concepts, JavaFX concepts and parts of the Java class libraries all at once.

Most of the book is taken up by presenting various JavaFX concepts using a single medium-sized example GUI application (that builds word search puzzles, although that‘s really besides the point). Where some concepts don‘t fit that application, small additional examples are used. This does help in understanding what‘s going on, since the code can simply be run, and the effects of certain constructs be observed, if the text leaves something unclear.

As regards JavaFX Script itself, I think it misses the mark. The new syntax and bindings simplify some tasks, but without a solid understanding of the underlying Java concepts it‘ll be hard to pick up casually. If one is well versed in Java, on the other hand, it seems that JavaFX Script does not offer a large enough leap to make it worthwhile. Maybe upcoming members of the JavaFX family of technologies will make it clear where the journey is headed.

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