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Developers vs Designers: Expanding the Java Platform Beyond Programmers

Location: F150 Level: Novice
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)

It used to be that software development rarely involved artists or designers at all, often only to build mockups that were (grumpily) re-implemented by developers. Today designers, artists, and other non-programmers are increasingly the drivers of innovative new applications, in some cases completely dispensing with dedicated programmers. The rise of JavaScript, PHP, and Flash have shown that non-programmers (or at least non-traditional programmers) can make compelling and dynamic applications if given the right tools and platform. Until recently, however, the Java platform was pretty much for programmers only. New developments in the Java ecosystem, including JavaFX, aim to change the landscape with new and (and still very beta) tools, libraries, and communities to expand the Java platform beyond its traditional audience.

In this session Joshua Marinacci of the JavaFX team will cover the traditional split of software development between designer and developer, and then show how new visual tools and languages are shifting this divide. This session will cover not only JavaFX but new designer/developer approaches taken by other software communities and their influence on JavaFX. Knowledge of Java is not required for this session. A general understanding of web technologies and software development is helpful.


Part 1: Developers vs Designers

  • In the beginning there was: the Developer
  • Software can be beautiful (but it’s hard)
  • Landslide: the shift from developer to designer driven software
  • The Web: let a thousand eyesores bloom
  • The skinning revolution: Winamp

Part 2: Java, the programming platform

  • unfriendly to designers
  • consumers vs enterprise
  • LayoutManagers: the worst idea ever?

Part 3: Designer friendly tools:

  • Integration with the designer workflow
  • The “Futz Factor”
  • Flash, the king of the hill
  • The RIA Revolution: Silverlight, AIR, Flex

Part 4: JavaFX, the designer platform?

  • Why Java needs designers
  • Why designers need Java
  • new tools for developer & designer collaboration
  • it’s the documentation, stupid!
  • a new language for designers

Part 5: Demo Time!

Photo of Joshua Marinacci

Joshua Marinacci


Joshua Marinacci is a Java.net blogger and co-author of ‘Swing Hacks’ for O’Reilly. He is currently a staff engineer for Sun Microsystems working on designer tools for JavaFX. He previously worked on NetBeans and core Java SE.

OSCON 2008