01 October 2010

Visage - A Refreshing Change

With Oracle making the disappointing move to drop support for JavaFX Script, and leaving its users in the cold with no migration plans something had to be done to rectify the situation. At JavaOne Steve Chin announced plans for a new programming language called Visage. Visage is to be heavily based on JavaFX Script, but is designed to be portable to a number of different platforms. Any GUI toolkit can be used with the new language.

Like JavaFX Script Visage is to be strongly typed and allow front-end applications to be created easily and productively. Also a number of programming paradigms will be incorporated for front-end application development (Procedural, Object Orientated, Functional). Unlike JavaFX Script Visage is vendor neutral and community controlled. However partnerships will be established with other vendors to enable Visage to be ported to different platforms.

Many people and businesses that have made a considerable investment in JavaFX Script think that any investment made will be lost. With the creation of Visage one of its main priorities at the moment is to preserve the investment made by people and companies by providing a transition path. Plans are currently under way with Visage to help JavaFX Script users make the transition to the language. A migration process with JavaFX Script is not only very difficult but is unnecessary since the area of developing front-end applications is not properly handled by major programming languages.

One of the first discussions to appear after the creation of the Visage project is porting plans for some of the major mobile platforms (eg Android). This is a great idea for getting Visage off to a head start. I intend to release a proposal to Google within the next few days on establishing a partnership with the Visage team to port Visage to the Android platform, and to have Google involved in the development of the Visage language if possible.

Visage represents a fresh change that challenges the status quo. Why is there no programming language specifically designed to handle the creation of front-end applications (except for JavaFX Script)? How is it that mobile development has been made unnecessarily difficult for newcomers? Visage is the way to make mobile development more accessible to potential software developers, and to people getting started in mobile development for the first time.

If someone is getting started in programming then they should be able to start in mobile development, if they choose to do so. Unfortunately the reality is that they must start in a different area of software development since there are no viable options, unless one decides to get started in mobile web development instead. However getting involved in mobile web development is completely different from mobile development, which is not an ideal situation for a newcomer that wishes to get started in mobile development.

Currently Visage is in the design stage so anyone can contribute various ideas that might be good to incorporate for the language. Unfortunately my own proposals for Visage, which are in a presentation (an odp file) cannot be attached to this blog post. Hopefully I can submit the presentation to the Visage website.

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