JavaFX on iOS and Android: The real problem and challenge

Rick Walker thoughtslinger at
Sat Nov 9 06:39:28 PST 2013

There is more to this issue than simply JavaFX, iOS and Android. There
is a bigger picture here that involves the complex relationships
between Oracle, Apple and Google.

I think it is fair to say that we all have enormous respect for
Richard Bair and his team. It seems to me we should listen to Richard.
If I understand his postings correctly, he is saying that we, the
community, should "create a new OpenJDK project" which, if it "used
the OpenJDK class libraries" would let his team "put support directly
into the OpenJFX build system for building FX and running FX apps ...
directly on RoboVM".

It seems to me that the message here is that Oracle is totally willing
and able to support RoboVM as an OpenJDK project. Niklas - are you up
for it? The optics here are important. The project must be created by
the community (NOT BY ORACLE).

from Richard's post of October 22:

Personally I'm interested in RoboVM on Android, so that there is a
single VM across both iOS and Android. Also if RoboVM supported the
OpenJDK class libraries, it would make this so much simpler for us and
provide a consistent story. For example, the OpenJFX project is an
OpenJDK project and we really can't be officially promoting a VM that
doesn't implement the Java standard. It puts us in a very awkward
position. If RoboVM used the OpenJDK class libraries instead of the
Android class libraries, not only could I push it at conferences like
JavaOne, but I could also put support directly into the OpenJFX build
system for building FX and running FX apps (like Hello*, Modena,
Ensemble, etc) directly on RoboVM without developers having to setup
anything special. This would be huge for making it easy for people to
contribute iOS fixes to OpenJFX. But I can't do that if RoboVM doesn't
actually implement "Java".

and, from November 8:

Totally, I think the normal process for this is to create a new
OpenJDK project, is it not? Can you take a look at the OpenJDK bylaws
and report back on the process? I think it would be awesome to do a
port. Note that there are a few OpenJDK ports already which have ARM
support, you might want to look there as a starting point?

On Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 8:59 AM, Pedro Duque Vieira
<pedro.duquevieira at> wrote:
> I'm sure the javafx team is doing a great job. My intention was not to put
> that in question but to try to contribute further to this discussion.
> Yes indeed oracle javafx team has fewer resources than what should be
> preferred. We need to harvest the power of the community in the best way we
> can to further expand the this "resources".
> In that sense I think the best to do is to get better organized at doing
> so.
> Instead of a man for himself kind of effort we should have a kind of
> corporate like structure with the intricacies of being a group of
> volunteers...
> On Nov 9, 2013 1:21 PM, "Felix Bembrick" <felix.bembrick at> wrote:
>> What we do know is that Oracle are working on "something" and that RoboVM
>> is already out there.  We also know that RoboVM has serious limitations
>> such as being based on the Android class library, not supporting JDK 8 or
>> OpenJDK or invokedynamic etc. so is not really a viable solution at this
>> stage.  This is not to say that the work of Niklas is not first-class as it
>> clearly is an awesome technology even in its current form.
>> I think the key factor we need to consider here is that RoboVM is
>> essentially a one person project and even the JavaFX team at Oracle itself
>> is not that large.  Although it's difficult to gauge exactly how many are
>> on the team, I would say from the various names that pop-up on the OpenJFK
>> list and in private conversations we are possibly looking at a dozen or
>> less active staff and possibly a total head count of developers in single
>> figures.
>> Clearly then, with such a small pool of talent, it is not practical to
>> dilute the effort over more than one project.  In an ideal world where we
>> had two or more projects backed by large corporations with infinite
>> resources then the more competition would be helpful for long term
>> viability and quality.  But our world is hardly ideal and it makes sense to
>> have everyone on the same page.
>> To this end I tend to agree with Pedro DV in that we need Oracle to come
>> clean and "open up" the porting of JavaFX to iOS, Android and any other
>> potential OS.  I am not going to comment on whether Oracle are doing a
>> good/bad job as I am sure there are many more factors and issues that we
>> are not privy to that prevents them from doing exactly what we would like
>> them to do.  They are not out to derail JavaFX and in fact are very much
>> behind it being viable on mobiles and tablets.
>> I know Richard Bair and I have to say that he is one of the most
>> passionate developers and believers in Java and JavaFX there is so I am
>> sure he is keener than anyone for it to succeed on all platforms.
>> Perhaps we have to approach Oracle with positivity and a willingness to
>> help and hope that they are in a position (technically/legally/etc.) to
>> open things up and invite us in.  I am absolutely convinced that JavaFX on
>> iOS and Android will never be a success if we don't all work together which
>> means pooling our resources and code and contributing to an Oracle-driven
>> project.
>> Felix
>> On 9 November 2013 23:06, Pedro Duque Vieira <pedro.duquevieira at>wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> Pardon me for saying this but I think Oracle is really handling this issue
>>> very badly. I think very poor communication strategy is the real issue and
>>> source of much frustration from the community.
>>> I can see that Oracle is indeed working and assigning programming hours to
>>> bringing JavaFX to iOS and Android but there is very little communication
>>> going on about Oracle progress on this..
>>> I think Oracle should tell us more about their work with javafx on iOS and
>>> Android. Oracle should create an article or wiki or whatever about their
>>> progress on this:
>>> 1 - That site/article/whatever should detail what's the current state,
>>> what's missing, what's the roadmap..
>>> 2 - Oracle should tell us how can the community help with the current
>>> effort. Creating a list of tasks that could be accomplished by a community
>>> member would be very helpful! That would assure that we are not working
>>> all
>>> on the same thing and thus wasting time. Each community member could than
>>> pick up a task and say he/she is working on it and provide pointers to
>>> their project and current work so anyone can chime in and help.
>>> I think tasks that can be handled by the community should preferably be
>>> tasks that should not be too big in scope/development hours - community
>>> members usually do this on their spare time for a couple of hours.
>>> Currently the only tasks we have are:
>>>   - Develop iOS port or iOS jvm
>>>   - Develop Android port or Android jvm
>>> This is too big for any community member to pick up. Too big in scope and
>>> too much to wrap your mind on.
>>> 3 - Oracle should provide an estimated time/effort for each task and for
>>> each project. Also an indication of the task importance level would be
>>> very
>>> helpful. Preferably tasks with a very high importance level should be
>>> handled by javafx team members.
>>> 4 - Oracle should be the steward of this effort. I think this point is
>>> very
>>> important for the following reasons:
>>>   4.1 - Oracle has more know-how on this than any community member can
>>> possible have. So it does not make sense for community members which are
>>> less prepared to accomplish this to be the stewards of such effort. It
>>> would be like asking a sailor to command a ship and have the captain mop
>>> the floors of the deck.
>>>   4.2 - By having Oracle as the steward, businesses will be more inclined
>>> in betting on developing projects for iOS/Android/Windows phone. This is a
>>> credibility issue.
>>>   4.3 - By having Oracle as the steward community members are more
>>> inclined
>>> to help and contribute than say contributing to RoboVM. No offense
>>> intended
>>> here, I think RoboVM is a great effort and probably the best thing to
>>> happen on the javafx space since its start.
>>> My 2 cents,
>>> Thanks, regards,
>>> --
>>> Pedro Duque Vieira

Richard P. Walker
thoughtslinger at

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