A code base for the web, PC and mobile

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Gluon posted a status update for JavaFX, showing how a single JavaFX The codebase can be used on a PC (standard JavaFX), a mobile device with Android or iOS (via integrated GraalVM) and a browser-based beta version of WebGL (via Gluon).

The new addition of WebGL extends the level of support for the client side of the browser, allowing developers to write the entire application in a single Java language or code base, without requiring a specialized JavaScript interface. The change can benefit developers who write client applications that are used across multiple device profiles or those who create web interfaces that are hosted on the web or packaged locally through techniques such as Electron.

Pi4J contributor Frank Delporte published a guide and a sample project designed to showcase the ability to deliver a single app on Mac and Raspberry Pi devices like the Elecrow CrowPi2 Laptop. The project shows how to use common libraries and style sheets such as FX controls and BootstrapFX to make JavaFX applications look like what users expect. This change can speed up development by using common shared components while maintaining a familiar style of applications “just looking different” from what users are used to.

Gluon’s approach provides a fully client-side component that does not require anything on the server. Once built, the JavaFX code is transpiled into JavaScript, then calls the WebGL code. This approach makes JavaFX web interfaces accessible to serverless applications because no server-side persistent state is required.

While JavaFX provides the foundation for cross-platform applications, usage is low in the industry with much more common JavaScript / Web clients. StackOverflow Trend Reports on similar cross-platform development trends show a relative increase in Flutter and React-native while JavaFX is largely unchanged. Compared to direct numbers, JavaFX has 120,000 students on Udemy vs. React-Native to 900,000 and Flutter at 1,500,000.

JavaFX was recently discussed on the Foojay Podcast, members stating that the best approach for cross-platform applications is to select a common application style rather than emulating the native environment for each platform. Developer Gerrit Grunwald pointed out that iOS controls are very unique with state information generally outside of the object represented by the FX control.

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