JavaFX on iOS and Android: The real problem and challenge

Tom Eugelink tbee at
Sat Nov 9 10:15:55 PST 2013

Oracle has a strict do-not-communicate-what-is-not-certain policy and I actually commend them for it. Better to not communicate than make promises you can't keep (I'm seeing the effect on that in many of the projects I'm asked to assist). I think the urgency of mobile platforms is clear to Oracle, given the recent focus on JavaME and the internet-of-things. Patience is a virtue.

My 2 cents,


On 2013-11-9 18:21, Pedro Duque Vieira wrote:
> Sure we should listen to Richard. He is doing a great job as well as his
> team.
> I don't think however that enough is being communicated..
> I don't think those legal boundaries are being layed out explicitly.
> What are those legal boundaries?
> Will RoboVM not be subject to those legal issues?
> What's the difference between us creating a project and trying to integrate
> it into openjdk and Oracle doing it?
> Once we create a project and try to integrate it into OpenJDK what will
> happen? Can javafx team members contribute to it (apparently yes)? Will
> Oracle be helping out and telling us what's the best route to follow?
> Once we get RoboVM correctly running javafx apps on iOS and Android what
> will still be left out to do? Are things like comboboxes poping up scroll
> wheels already in place? What about app notifications? What about saving
> app configurations to the local platform db? etc, etc?
> I think there is a lot of stuff to discuss. Also I think Oracle should be
> telling us what have they accomplished so far, what exactly they are
> working on (they are indeed actively working on this) for porting javafx to
> iOS and Android... probably something that an email can't cover perfectly..
> Regards,
> On Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM, Rick Walker <thoughtslinger at>wrote:
>> 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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