Why Doesn’t Opera Support JavaFX?

UPDATE 05/02/2010

The following article has been updated to be more concise with respect to the way JavaFX is implemented in the various browsers. Opera does not support the Java Plugin in general.

I’ve been a serious Opera user since the first version of the Opera 9 series, and I’m currently running Opera 10.5 pre-alpha. It is a great product and it indeed does make web development fun. I do almost all my web development in Opera and only test in other browsers when I need to. I know for a fact, that since Opera supports standards, almost all my CSS layout and Javascript code will work in Firefox, Safari, Chrome and most often IE 8 (IE 6 and 7 are my back case), right out of the IDE. Most often, if I have to do some code refactoring, it would be for some IE specific quirk (I know most of you know of this pain).

However, I’ve been meaning to try out JavaFX for a while now, but I’ve not made the switch to it yet, simply because Opera does not support it, which is very frustrating. JavaFX has been around for at least a year now, and I’ve not found a tangible reason why it should not work in Opera. Virtually all the other browsers are capable of running it, except Safari on Windows, which gets confused and keeps asking you to install the latest version of Java even when you have it installed. I’ve searched online but all I get is the fact that Opera uses the native Java implementation instead of the plugin for running applets. So I’ve been wondering, who’s responsibility is it to get that fixed? Is it the browser makers who are supposed to implement the plugin or is it the plugin developers who are supposed to make it work in all browsers? I know Opera is written in native C/C++ and I have to ask, is the New Java Plugin written in .NET or something? What makes it incompatible with the browser? How long am I going to have to wait until I can run JavaFX applications in Opera? (Is anyone at Sun/Oracle/Opera reading this?)

I don’t like Firefox cause I perceive it to be slow (haters and fun boys, bash all your want), IE 8 is great (if you have the specs for it), Chrome is just too geeky for me (I think it lacks style) and Safari although very, very cool, just doesn’t win me over (I think it is because of its memory consumption).

Can anyone in the developer community give me some answers that might make me the next JavaFX enthusiast? Is Opera ever going to get this feature? I honestly think I have not implemented any serious JavaFX applet just because I know a lot of people would not be able to view it. For now I’m sticking with traditional applets because they are well supported and are reaping all the benefits of the JRE improvements meant for JavaFX.

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15 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t Opera Support JavaFX?

  1. You lost me with “Java Plugin 2”. There were really no special Java runtimes released for JavaFX. The end result is basically an applet, and runs in a plane old JRE.

    Keep in mind, you are using a “beta” version of the browser, perhaps they don’t have support for the later JREs that support JavaFX?

    1. I’m sorry but you are not update to with Java Development, but there is a seperate (but not independent) Runtime for JavaFX applications and applets, which processes the JavaFX byte code. This is downloaded and included after the standard JRE is installed and is only available with JRE 6 update 10+. The end result is a JavaFX Scene Graph embedded in a standard applet container. This is made possible by a new Java Plugin which was re-written to make applet deployment better and adds the functionality to drag and drop applets out of the browser into their own standalone process.

      Indeed I am using a pre-alpha version of Opera 10.5 and applets do not even work at all in this version. However, I am more concerned about versions 10.10 and below in which standard applets work but JavaFX applets do not. I’m hoping for news one day that Opera will use the new Java Plugin instead of running applets directly via the JRE. This makes it impossible for the new Java Deployment Toolkit to work properly with the browser. I will be sorely disappointed that if by version 11 of Opera, there is still no support for JavaFX. That will certainly not help Opera’s already minute share in the browser market.

      1. Your information is incorrect, plugin2 in not required for running javafx applets. JavaFX apps are compiled into class files and can be executed on any java vm (post 5.0).

        For example there’s no plugin on MacOS and yet javafx is supported there.

        Dmitri

      2. I do not run Mac OS so I cannot prove or disprove your claims. However, I must ask, if JavaFX is capable of running on the just the VM then Opera should be able to run JavaFX apps straight away, since it executes Java applets by running the VM directly.

        Also, I do notice that several Java Web Start resources are downloaded and are required in order to run JavaFX apps. Do you have any info on why that is necessary?

      3. These are not claims, they are facts (I work on JavaFX runtime).

        You could easily verify this on Windows by disabling plugin2 (in Java Control Panel) and going to javafx.com . You could even uninstall Java6 and install Java 5 to make sure – or just disable java6

        JavaFX runtime is served as a jnlp extension if plugin2 is available.

        Dmitri

      4. Awesome! I managed to snag one of you guys. So can I ask personally, Dmitri, when will JavaFX support be made available in Opera? Are you (JavaFX team) responsible for making that happen or is Opera Software responsible?

        I really want to start making serious in roads into JavaFX, but as I have stated already, this lack of support sorta puts me off. I know IE, Firefox and Safari have the largest shares in the browser market so they come first, but having a product that cuts off some portion of the browsing community is really a turn off. Safari on Windows still has problems running JavaFX and that is also an issue.

        I know you guys are working your butts off to make this technology a success, and I’m personally behind you 100%, but could I just get a concrete estimate of when these deployment issues might be fixed?

        PS: do not say anything here that might be a breach of confidentiality though.

      5. Comment moved to right position

        Opera uses their own way of launching applets, not Sun’s java plugin (which they don’t even allow to register I’m told), so we can’t really do much to make it work. Also, given Opera’s market share you can’t blame Sun/Oracle on not making it a priority even if we could.

        But again, there’s nothing “special” that’s required to run JavaFX applets from the plugin – they could be launched on old runtimes (at least java5) on old plugins.

        Dmitri

      6. Hey Dmitri, great news. Just found out that about 6 days after I posted this article, Opera released a new snapshot build of their upcoming 10.5 browser version. And get this, they have scrapped their old implementation of Java Applets in favour of the standard Java Plugin used by Firefox and IE.

        Now when applets are run, we get almost the same experience as with other browsers. JavaFX does not work yet, and I suspect it could be both Opera’s integration of the Deployment Toolkit and the JavaFX browser detection script which might need to be tweaked. I’m no expert so I leave them to fiddle with it. I know they’ll fix it soon.

        You can read the full article here, if you already have not: http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/java-is-back

  2. Yes, we know about this development. Unfortunately the timing was such that we’d just disabled Opera in JavaFX deployment script (dtfx.js, as of javafx release 1.2.3) since it didn’t work with the old Opera plugin.

    Hopefully this will be addressed soon and Opera users will be able to run javafx apps.

  3. Just set the ‘Identify as Firefox’ in the Opera browser preferences and JavaFX applications should work …

    1. Please see my most recent post on this. I even include a tutorial for those who would find it difficult.

    1. I read that article just this morning. I’m glad Opera is finally embracing the official plugins.

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