Simplifying Gluon

When we first started brainstorming what Gluon would be back in late 2014, we always had the names of products in our heads. Gluon Charm was the name from the very beginning, and while other names were changed, some of them remained the same, almost unquestioned. By now Gluon has been operating and working with customers and the community for around a year. We’ve acquired a lot of feedback and we came to the realization that our offerings are not always clear. Now that we think about it, it is entirely obvious that Gluon Charm and Gluon Particle lack a certain descriptive quality!

Therefore, we have been taking the opportunity recently to step back and look at where we are, and how we communicate our offerings. A few months back we totally revamped the Gluon HQ home page, and today we’re taking the next step along this simplification journey. Today we begin on another round of simplification and rebranding, with four announcements:

  1. Gluon Mobile will contain everything needed for developing mobile apps.
  2. Gluon Desktop is our toolset for creating JavaFX desktop-only apps.
  3. We’ve significantly improved our IDE plugins to be the starting point for all users of Gluon software, and we have even more updates on the way.
  4. Gluon Charm Down will be dual licensed with a license for open-source development and a license for commercial support, as part of Gluon Mobile.

We won’t be retiring the old names altogether – they will remain our internal names, so you’ll see them popping up in JavaDoc and technical documentation. But in general we will be talking about Gluon Mobile now, rather than Gluon Charm.

Gluon Mobile

Gluon Mobile is not just a rename of Gluon Charm, it is a concerted effort to pull together the four threads we’ve been developing over the past few years:

  1. JavaFXPorts (the JavaFX SDK ported to work on mobile devices),
  2. Gluon Charm Down (our platform-agnostic APIs for accessing hardware features on mobile devices),
  3. Gluon Charm (our platform-agnostic toolkit for building cross-platform user interfaces),
  4. The Gluon IDE plugins (for kick-starting your application development with pre-built boilerplate code.

The diagram below shows the components of Gluon Mobile:


Going forward, you’ll hear less from us about these four projects, and more about the combined benefits of all four as part of Gluon Mobile.



Gluon Desktop

Gluon Desktop has a far simpler explanation: if we combine all our mobile components in a product named Gluon Mobile, it makes sense to simplify Gluon Particle to a similarly descriptive name! Therefore, Gluon Desktop is now our cross-platform, desktop-focused solution for people and organizations wanting to build professional applications.

Improved IDE plugins

We have updated our IDE plugins for NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse to include wizards for multiple forms of Gluon Mobile application. This means that the plugins will generate all the boilerplate to get you started on a new application. We are also in the process of updating the plugins with more functionality, including Gluon Desktop support and options for our Gluon Mobile customers (and OSS Commercial Support customers) to automatically make use of the latest daily and monthly builds of Gluon Mobile, Gluon Desktop, JavaFXPorts, etc, that are available at certain tiers.

Charm Down

Gluon Charm Down GPL licensing

Gluon Charm Down is our library for accessing the native functionality of the various hardware devices we support (that is, Android, iOS, embedded devices, and traditional desktop computers). It is part of the Gluon Mobile product, as mentioned above. When we started Gluon Charm Down, we always imagined it would be an open source project for the betterment of the community (and of course it would be hugely useful to us as we worked on the higher levels of Gluon Charm).

With Gluon Charm Down, we want to address the needs of two groups of developers:

  1. Open source developers, who want free access to the code, to use it in their own projects for free, to enhance the project, and to contribute to it
  2. Commercial companies and customers, who want a license that comes with a SLA.

We are very pleased to say that we will be investing more heavily than ever into Gluon Charm Down, and we hope to encourage even further growth of the community by switching the licensing of Charm Down to a dual license.

First of all, Charm Down will be available under the GPLv3 license. This enables us to invest heavily into Charm Down with the knowledge that all users are compelled to contribute their efforts back into the project, enabling it to grow and adapt to new platforms and services offered by them. It also gives certainty to the open source community that the source code is as openly licensed as possible. We hope to increase the participation of Open Source developers, communities, and researchers in Gluon Charm Down.

The second license is the Gluon Commercial License that comes with Gluon Mobile. This ensures that our Gluon Mobile customers are all granted commercial licenses to Gluon Charm Down as part of their purchase of Gluon Mobile, and they are therefore not impacted at all by the choice of open source license for Gluon Charm Down. They can use Charm Down in closed-source projects, without having to contribute back to the project (although they are very welcome to do so!).


At Gluon we are not a closed book. We welcome your feedback, your concerns, and your advice. Please contact us and let us know. The changes we are announcing today are in the process of going live as we speak – sections of the website already reflect these new ideas, and the rest will be updated on a rolling basis. We look forward to hearing your feedback and continuing to work constructively with our community and customers.