We're very excited to announce the immediate availability of the JavaFX 1.3platform. This release represents an important upgrade to the product anddelivers a range of performance and functional improvements, including:

  • New and enhanced support for UI controls, CSS skinning, and programmatic layout
  • Performance improvements in the JavaFX Runtime
  • New NetBeans IDE 6.9 Beta with improved editing and an updated JavaFX Composer plug-in
  • New features and enhanced performance in JavaFX Production Suite
  • A native JavaFX font family called Amble
  • Support for the development of TV applications, including a new TV emulator
  • Availability of the mobile emulator on the Mac platform
Check out What's newin JavaFX 1.3 for more details and additional enhancements

Itmight be hard to believe that JavaFX has only been in the market for less than one and a half years, it certainly is for us! In that time, we've built out thefoundation for mobile with a deployment ready runtime, delivered a library ofUI controls to make it substantially easier to build out consistent userinterfaces, and were able to entice developers to download over 400,000 copiesof our tools by our 1.2 release. We've released a beta of the JavaFX Composer to providevisual-editing for form-based UIs with an exceptionally positive response andseen the community rally around the platform with projects like JFXtras, numerous blogs, and overa dozenbooks. We've also been very excited to see companies like theVancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games adopting the technology for commercialproducts and services, and we've got another well-known customer that we'reexcited to start talking to you about shortly!

Butlets get back to the JavaFX 1.3 release. As we began working with some ofthese high-profile customers, we found they were really pushing the limits ofJavaFX. Since our 1.2 release we've spent a lot of time carefullyevaluating our performance goals to meet the needs of these customers and haveheavily optimized in the following areas:

  • Bind performance: 2-3x faster
  • Applet start-up time: 20% faster (with Java SE 6u18+)
  • Text Rendering: 5-10x faster (frames per second/FPS)
  • Highly complex animations: up to 10x faster (FPS)
  • Memory usage: 20-33% reduction (real-world apps, w/ Java SE 6u18+)
  • UI Controls: 50% faster, 33%-50% less memory (typical)
Letstake a quick look at a few of these. Binding hasoften been described as one of the more powerful features in JavaFX, but manydevelopers found they had to use it sparingly due to performanceconsiderations. In JavaFX 1.3 we've implemented substantial improvementsin the way JavaFX handles binding and have seen tremendous payoffs, inparticular with applications that make heavy usage of this feature.

Start-uptime is another area where we've made substantial improvements. First,it?s important to understand that we measure start-up time in two ways. We measure both cold-start (the first time a user loads an applet, includesdownload and initialization) and warm-start (subsequent launches of the applet). Cold-start is critical, because it?s the user?s firstimpression and it?s also where we've achieved the most improvements with1.3. To improve start-up time, we implemented a number of optimizationsthroughout the stack, including the JRE and the JavaFX runtime. Basicapplications running on systems with a recent version of the JRE (Java SE6u18+) launch 20% faster and complex applications start nearly twice asfast! Obviously your mileage will vary depending on the specifics of yourapplication.

Animationperformance has been another area of focus in JavaFX 1.3. In one of ourmore extreme benchmarks, we applied animations to 900 objectssimultaneously. In JavaFX 1.2 this would have resulted in a paltry 6FPS. With JavaFX 1.3 we are now seeing an impressive 67 FPS - that's over10x faster! Unless you are using a ton of objects in your application youprobably won't see this kind of performance gain but we've effectively removedanimations as a performance bottleneck so developers can use them much more freely in their applications. A similar benchmark with 500 animated objects managed todeliver a 5x improvement.

A key area of focus in JavaFX 1.2 was to deliver UI controls to make iteasier for developers to build great looking user interfaces. This effort was very well received by the community and has actually become one of the most requested areas for continued improvement! To this end, UI Controlshave continued to be a major area of focus for us with JavaFX 1.3. With 1.3, we haveadded and/or substantially upgraded 9 controls and have released previews foran 8 additional controls for developers to begin experimenting with in theirapplications. In addition, we have rewritten all of the existing UIcontrols to take full advantage of the new CSS support in JavaFX, making themsimpler, more powerful and highly customizable. Our UI controls improvementshave also yielded substantial performance gains, in particular withapplications that make heavy usage of UI controls such as enterprise-class applications. While applications that use complex UI controls (such as ListView & TreeView) will be 150%faster, and consume up to 50% less memory, we achieved substantially better performance withmore complex applications. For example, a 1.3 application with 200 controls uses 50-80% less memory, starts nearlytwice as quickly, and runs 50% faster (comparisons are with 1.2). For developers who might have usedUI controls sparingly in the past and/or avoided using JavaFX for applicationsthat required a substantial number of UI controls, JavaFX 1.3 really opens thedoor to a range of new use-cases.

There's a lot more we could say about this release (and we will), but for now headover to the download page, get a copy of the new SDK, and try it today!

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