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Trend Check on Flex, Silverlight and JavaFX

Posted by Charles | July 1, 2008 .

It’s almost half way into 2008. I think it’s about time to have a reality check on what’s going on in RIA space. Specifically, what’s up with Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight and Sun JavaFX, the so called RIA trio.

I believe what people want and look for show the best way to measure the trend. That’s why I went to Google Trend. A quick check on the three gives back a chart tells an expected story:

RIA Trend Mid 2008 1

From this chart, Flex shows a very consistent growth. The year 2007 is really the year sees accelerated increase in searching “Flex” on the web. It’s also the year Microsoft Silverlight and Sun JavaFX were debuted to the public. I do believe the two debuts, in a way, is the great endorsement to RIA space where Flex has been lonely enjoying.

For Silverlight, it grows in the same pace as Flex. It’s kind of showing slow down in Silverlight and increasing in Flex in the mid 2008. Regardless, in a short one year, it’s a very impressive establishment and achievement to the young Silverlight. Congratulations!

It’s a different story regarding JavaFX. I believe we can start writing off JavaFX as a major RIA technology. It’s not. Anymore. It’s just a burp from Sun and there is no momentum, nor enthusiastic demand from people either. By knowing some about JavaFX, the JavaFX Script is the one to blame. Why any developer or designer will want to learn another can-not-tell-what-it-is type of new ugly language, when there are real languages such as the ActionScript added to Flash, C# from MS bag of trade or JavaScript, or even Java. When there are way way too many scripting languages screaming for attention with many smart kids behind them carrying sex toys such Rails or Gails, why and why the hack Sun thinks anyone cares about JavaFX Script? Sorry for the vent, but get real, Mr. Sun.

Moving on, to avoid bias, I tried another way of searching the trend. I added owners to these technologies because I know “Flex” is more general term than the others. Just to be fair. The result is bit different:

RIA Trend 08 2

The chart at least confirm my statement regarding writing off JavaFX. It did on the chart. I somewhat think this is a more accurate chart than the previous one, even though it bothers me seeing Silverlight is having upper hand over Flex this year so far.

Adobe bought Macromedia in late 2005 so that the chart shows less history of Flex. When Microsoft announced Silverlight early 2007, it spiked people’s interests. Earlier this year when Microsoft announced Silverlight 1.1 beta at MIX, as the chart shows, it took off. Overtime, it’s now at the similar level of Flex.

So, from now on, shown on the chart, the real competition begins, after the initial push winding down and the new guy is back to solid ground. The next half of 2008 will be very interesting for seeing how the chart will be drawn.

riatrend083 thumb Trend Check on Flex, Silverlight and JavaFX

Another interesting observation is the top 9 regions searching these technologies. The U.S. is number 6. Why most the people searching Flex, Silverlight or JavaFX are from India, Philippines, Russia, Brazil and Romania? Are there the most of RIA developers in? I can explain the software development power houses of India and Russia. But Romania?

Can anybody has a better theory?

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11 Comments so far
  1. Peter Baird  July 1, 2008 10:36 am

    Hey Charles. Interesting post. One point of contention, Silverlight competes with the Flash Player… Flex is just one way you can develop for the Flash Player. When you chart for Adobe Flash vs. Microsoft Silverlight you see a very different story (

  2. Oguz Celikdemir  July 1, 2008 1:48 pm

    There are so many university graduated people in Romania. Especially, european companies moving IT deparments to there, because of the cost. For example, our company has biggest IT infrastructure and employee ( 1200 ) which our nightrun operations doing over bucharest

  3. Sravan  July 1, 2008 8:48 pm

    Very interesting post, Charles.

    Microsoft has at least one product that it can be happy about, though Peter has a point.

    Adding to Oguz, there are many students who are learning Flash because it is easy to learn. An extra point on résumés, and possibly a good website displaying those skills as well.

  4. Richard Monson-Haefel  July 2, 2008 7:59 am

    Interesting … I wouldn’t write off JavaFX just yet. They may be late to the party but they have an interesting story. Regarding “RIA trio”. Where did you get that from. Never heard of it.

    I did a similar analysis comparing JavaScript and Flex which you can access at my own blog entry called “JavaScript declining, Flash gaining”

  5. Martin Short  July 2, 2008 10:33 am

    I agree regarding sun’s ria strategy, they’ve missed the boat. Also considering there are some major Swing/javafx people who left Sun to go to, yup, Adobe. Hardly a good indication.

  6. Snowman  July 3, 2008 12:23 am

    JavaFX is trying to get rid of Swing. It’s actually a good sign that Swing folks are leaving. Swing is 10+ years old widget tookit – it should simply die, there is no rational reason to keep it alive using all legal and illegal treatments …

  7. mihai  July 6, 2008 12:43 pm

    “But Romania?
    Can anybody has a better theory?”

    Maybe it is because Adobe has a local R&D center in Romania :)

  8. Rajan M  July 29, 2008 9:00 pm

    This is very useful article.

  9. Claudiu  August 16, 2008 5:03 am

    Maybe Romania, because romanians are interesed by the new technology, and maybe because in universities, Flex is present.

  10. Carlos  September 3, 2008 9:40 am

    Muy buen Post Charles,

    No se que ha de pasar en 1 año con el desarrollo de RIA’s, seria interesante un post Flex Vs JavaFX Vs SilverLight para sacar más jugo de los comentarios anteriores.

    Espero que alguien conozca ejemplos de applicaciones RIA hecha en los países que están por arriba de Estados Unidos y comparar la madurez que estas tienen


  11. George  December 24, 2009 9:24 am

    Hello. How do you compare 3 sites on google trend?


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