With Sun announcing JavaFX, Microsoft putting their strength behind Silverlight and Flex/Apollo going strong in the RIA space, the wars for UI domination has just begun. Perhaps I should say begun yet again! From Applets to *ServerPages to Ajax/RIA we have seen the user interface go through rapid evolution in the last 10 years or so. In the last couple of years the Ajax/RIA story has been the most prominent one and one technology that has suffered the most has been Java, with one and sundry blaming the poor interactivity of JSP, the complexity of JSF or the poor performance of the Applets. In fact there have been stories, articles and blogs about Hybridizing Java, about bringing in scripting languages into the JVM or about getting rid of our good old trusted friend altogether. However, with the introduction of JavaFX there is a completely new direction and a new set of questions. Is JavaFX a superior alternative to current Ajax/RIA technologies? Is it just a scripting face to the old options? Will it bring the desktop and web UI technologies closer? Will it address the next generation of UI requirements - video, svg, voice and more? Will it evolve rapidly with community participation, thus having implicit approval of the masses? Will it be Sun’s new recipe for success?
Matching up to the user interface wish list may perhaps be the important factor that will govern the final winner or winner(s) (plurality is the way of life in technology now!). That brings us to a good question - What is the ultimate user interface wish list? Should there be one wish list or should we have two - one that addresses the end user wishes and one that makes the developers happy? Are all solutions satisfying both these wish lists? If yes, then to what extent?