The JavaFX Hidden Economy

Here at Gluon we have been huge fans of JavaFX for a very, very long time. Our team is made up of a number of respected experts in the community, with contributors to a number of open source projects such as ControlsFX, not to mention our open source projects such as Gluon Charm Down (for accessing iOS and Android device hardware), JavaFXPorts (for bringing JavaFX to iOS and Android), Gluon Connect (for easy cloud connectivity), Gluon Ignite (for JavaFX dependency injection), Gluon Scene Builder, Gluon Maps (for displaying maps in mobile and desktop apps), as well as our forthcoming Java 9 VM called Gluon VM. Additionally, members of our team have published some of the leading books on JavaFX: Pro JavaFX 8 and JavaFX 8: Introduction by Example.

One thing we hear from people is about whether they should use JavaFX in their projects. The issue they see is that ‘no one is using it’. We want to try to dispel that myth a little by providing some insights that we have. This can be broken down into three different areas: stats, open source activity, and consulting customers.


Gluon Scene Builder
Every now and then we have posted updates about about Gluon Scene Builder downloads. The last update was during January 2016, when we had 206,054 downloads. As of August 21st, Gluon Scene Builder has now been downloaded from the Gluon servers 600,460 times, across all platforms. This means in the last 18 months there have been just under 400,000 additional downloads.

Diving deeper into this, Gluon offers Scene Builder installers for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the Scene Builder Kit for integration into IDEs, and Scene Builder as a OS-independent jar file. Ignoring the latter two, the distribution of users is 78.6% Windows, 12.4% Linux, and 9.0% Mac OS. Platform-specific installers account for 78.2% of all Scene Builder downloads, with the platform-independent jar file taking 18.7% and Scene Builder Kit taking 3.1%.


Gluon IDE Plugins
One of the ways in which Gluon enables developers to rapidly hit the ground and productively create cross-device mobile solutions is with the Gluon IDE plugins. These are plugins that support developers building cross-platform applications, making getting started with Gluon CloudLink, Gluon Mobile, and Gluon Desktop much simpler. These plugins provide templates and other tooling, and we recommend all developers use these plugins when getting started with any Gluon solution.

Gluon is kept informed on the number of downloads of each plugin, and we provide the following stacked area chart to show the growth in usage of these plugins over the last few years:

Outside of JavaFX offerings out of Gluon, we also have insights from the community. ControlsFX is a highly-renowned JavaFX project, and has had similarly impressive downloads of just the last release (version 8.40.12):

Open Source Activity

Not only is the community seeing substantial downloads, but it is moving forward at a fast pace. Already, thanks to engineers from Gluon, we have contributed patches to get ControlsFX ready for JDK 9. With this contribution, Jonathan Giles started doing continuous builds of ControlsFX 9.0.0 into Maven Central:

The community has been asking for ControlsFX support for JDK 9 for many months, so Gluon is very happy to support this effort. In addition, Gluon is actively ensuring all of its software is ready for JDK 9. We already have internal builds of Scene Builder, Gluon Mobile, ready to release, and Gluon VM is a Java 9 VM from the start. We have also started work on porting OpenJFX 9 to mobile, and that work is expected to be ready by the time Java 9 is released. Because of all this work, our team are now experts in porting to JDK 9 – so contact us if you have any questions or need our support.


At Gluon we offer Java-based cloud and mobile solutions that solve real problems being faced by enterprises today. Because of our products, as well as our significant open source contributions already discussed, we find a number of enterprises engaging our services on both JavaFX and Java EE engagements. Obviously we have NDAs with our clients, and for good reason – their industries span banking and finance, automotive, aerospace, information technology, and other industries. These clients are developing solutions for their customers or internal users, and they come to us with requirements for custom solutions that meet their specific use cases. Our team of talented engineers can work remotely, or embed themselves inside the clients own offices, to deliver these solutions.

This gives us an incredible insight into the ‘hidden economy’ of JavaFX development. So often people say that they see no JavaFX development going on, and therefore surmise that there is no JavaFX development going on. It is unfortunate, but also understandable, that enterprises in these industries do not want to publicise their development choices or software solutions. These are their secret sauce, and we are simply there to enable them to more rapidly benefit from their software systems. We are seeing our consulting requests pipeline growing substantially. This funds our development efforts on Gluon Mobile (including the upcoming Gluon VM) and Gluon CloudLink. However, we at Gluon are not the only people seeing this, we know of a number of other consultancies offering services in JavaFX who are kept busy. Jonathan Giles tweeted the following recently:

There are many companies offering commercial JavaFX products and services, Gluon being just one of many. Oracle obviously has much more invested in JavaFX, and obviously benefits from it in terms of synergies between their various offerings. For example, Oracle is using JavaFX in conjunction with JDK 9 and Oracle Bare Metal Cloud:


In summary, JavaFX is doing incredibly well. Our open source projects, as well as our commercial offerings and consultancy services, are all immensely popular. If there is anything Gluon can do to help your enterprise needs, contact us today to discuss your needs.