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Thursday,July 24,2014
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EXCLUSIVES 

Apache Presses the Pedal on Java RIA Project

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After being in development for three years, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has released version 1.4 of the open-source Rich Internet Application (RIA) framework technology, Apache Pivot. Pivot 1.4 is the fourth installation of the Java-based RIA toolkit. It will compete with other RIA’s such as Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight and Sun’s JavaFX.

 
The framework technology has been developed using a combination of Java and XML. It can be used by developers [Front End Engineers] who have experience building AJAX applications and want to go beyond the capabilities of HTML, CSS, and Javascript for building richer graphical user interfaces in the browser, as well as on the desktop. It also provides a much richer set of standard widgets than HTML to allows for the creation of sophisticated user experiences quickly and easily.
 
Pivot began life as a research and development project at VMware in 2007 and was introduced to the Apache Incubator in 2009. Earlier, in December 2009, ASF had found Pivot warranted enough merit and community support to be promoted from the Incubator to a Top-Level Project.
 
Apache Pivot claims to combine the productivity and the usability of contemporary RIA toolkits like Adobe’s Flex and Microsoft’s Silverlight and the robust Java platform. Since it is constructed using Java and XML, Pivot can be executed either as an applet or as a standalone desktop application.
 
A project management committee has been established and Greg Brown has been appointed as the Vice President of the project. Greg is a principal consultant at Cantina Consulting who has expertise in a wide range of rich client-enabling technologies including Java, Flash, Flex, and AJAX. His has earlier worked with VMware, WebEx, and Molecular.
 
"Users have much higher expectations for Web applications now than they did 10 years ago. This is why we're seeing tools like Flex and Silverlight beginning to gain traction; however, both of these require developers who are otherwise happy using Java to switch technologies. Pivot is an attempt to create a modern, rich client development platform in Java" said Greg.
 
How Does Pivot Compare to its Java Cousins?
  • Swing: although it is possible to build RIA’s in Java using Swing, the number of advantages that Pivot has tilts the balance in favor of Pivot. The Swing toolkit has almost been banished into oblivion since Silverlight and Flex hit the markets.
  • JavaFX: this is not a Java developer’s handy tool as it involves learning the JavaFX scripting language. The demographics of the two tool kits clarifies the differentiating factors. While JavaFX gives more weightage to visual enhancements Pivot centralizes on application building.
Apache Pivot 1.4 is released under the Apache Software License v2.0 and can be downloaded here

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