Sun Microsystems has released the first preview versions of its JavaFX development tool.
The software is designed to help developers create rich internet applications (RIAs) through Sun's Java platform.
In addition to the JavaFX SDK, the preview package contains the NetBeans 6.1 IDE, a copy of the Project Nile graphics tool and a beta version of the latest Java Runtime Environment plug-in.
The move puts Sun into an increasingly large group of tech giants pushing special RIA development environments.
Adobe and Microsoft are both currently in the market with their respective Air and Silverlight offerings.
Sun plans to distinguish JavaFX by its namesake platform. The company argues that, given Java's huge reach with developers and consumers, JavaFX will be a natural choice for building RIAs.
"Java provides an ideal platform across all the screens of your life due to its availability across over two billion mobile handsets, 85 per cent of desktops, and its position as the platform for next-generation HD content as part of the Blu-ray BD-j specification," wrote Jacob Lehrbaum, a senior product like manager for the JavaFX marketing team.
"Building on top of Java, JavaFX enables you to build cross-device RIA applications and content that enable you to build immersive, interactive experiences that incorporate 2D & 3D graphics, animations, audio and video and rich scalable text."
Users can download the preview package for free from Sun's JavaFX website.
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