In June 2016, we announced Gluon VM as a new Gluon Labs project. Last year at JavaOne we gave a preview of Gluon VM running on the iOS simulator and we provided an update. Since then, we have been working on closed beta versions of Gluon VM, that have been tested by a select number of customers.
Today, we are happy to announce the first public developer preview of Gluon VM. With this preview, you can use Java 9 to create mobile apps and run them on iOS and Android. And the great thing is that you can do this without leaving your favourite IDE. We adapted the Gluon Plugin for NetBeans, IntelliJ and Eclipse to work with Gluon VM. If you install the Gluon Plugin in your IDE, you can get started right away.
Since we launched Gluon Mobile, it has been possible to create beautiful, performant, native-looking Java mobile apps using a single codebase. Using the same codebase to create apps for desktop, android, iOS and embedded systems is a huge advantage, especially since you create them in the worlds most popular language: Java.
Java is evolving very fast, and we have to make sure that the skills used to create todays Java apps also can be used to create mobile apps. Therefore, we needed to bring Java on mobile to the same level as Java for cloud, server and desktop. The original Gluon Mobile stack is based on the Apache Harmony core class implementation, which prevented this. As of today, it is possible to create Gluon Mobile apps that are completely based on OpenJDK 9, leveraging the same core classes as the ones used in desktop and enterprise applications. Because of this, going forward we will be able to align much easier with changes in the Java language and the Java platform. There are a number of interesting evolutions in the OpenJDK that can be very applicable to mobile development. The current developer preview of Gluon VM is just a first step, and the beginning of a new era.
If you want to give Gluon VM a try, you can start by reading the Gluon Mobile documentation. The latest versions of the Gluon IDE plugin allow both the “traditional”, Java 7/8 based development as well as the experimental Java 9 based Gluon VM development. We created a specific sample that works with Gluon VM in the Gluon Samples github repository. However, keep in mind Gluon VM is still in developer preview. That means we are still working on bug fixes and improvements. If you want to file issues, you can do this in the issue tracker of the new, open-source jfxmobile plugin that is powering the Gluon IDE plugins.
This continues our long-term focus on open source, and our belief that in doing so we can help to drive improvements to the quality and performance of Gluon VM, and the wider open source community. We have many community members and companies who support us in doing this by being Gluon Open Source customers, which allows these people and organizations to co-determine our roadmap, and gives access to snapshot and early access releases. Finally, if you want to create mobile apps using Java, becoming a Gluon Mobile customer will give you a head start.