21 October 2010

Visage Moving Forward

Much progress has been made since the announcement of a new programming language called Visage. A Google Code website has been set up, and already there is a reasonable number of members (working on the compiler, tooling, or both). Overall reception to Visage has been highly positive with no shortage of volunteers, which makes the Visage community tick. Visage has certainly made a splash in the Java Lobby headlines with being one of the most popular links (with different articles) for about 2 weeks now. Having the creator of JavaFX Script (Chris Oliver) on board is a big bonus, which will help to keep the quality of the language (including the compiler) high.

Already in a short space of time the first preview of the Visage compiler has been released. In this release default properties are introduced, and cascading properties may also be included as well. Annotation and generics support is planned for a future Visage version. Although the first preview doesn't provide much it is one of many important steps towards creating a programming language that will revolutionise front-end development, especially mobile development in making it more accessible to a wide range of software developers.

Currently development is under way on Visage for Android, which should mean there is a release sometime next month that people can try out. Steve Chin is hosting a workshop on developing Android applications using Visage during Devox 2010 on the 17th of November. Speaking of Visage and Android I haven't heard any response so far from my key contact in regard to the Visage proposal for Google. There are talks underway on developing Visage for iOS (iPhone and iPad).

On the tooling side a development team has already been assembled to develop the NB plugin for Visage, and is currently using the NB plugin for JavaFX Script as a base. With development underway on Visage for Android I will be attempting to have a partnership established between the Visage community (on the NB plugin side) and the NB Android plugin community.

Visage has already made a considerable impact, which I think will evolve into a key technology to watch out for in 2011. Certainly if you are looking for a programming language to develop front-end applications then Visage should be investigated next year. With Visage growing at a fast rate which major company will support Visage first?

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.