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JavaFX is now a default platform (supported by Oracle) for developing desktop apps. It replaced the clumsy Swing and is showing a lot of promise. http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/overview/javaf...

How widely is this adopted? FX is one of those tools I'm a little leery of because of the possibility it may be abandoned by Oracle if not enough people use it.

What is the case for desktop apps these days vs web apps? I would love to mess around with JavaFX but really can't come up with a compelling reason to use it.

If you want to interact with local hardware/storage media, native apps are still easier. "Offline" mode can also be the default, at least for systems that have a local data store. Finally, multicore CPUs may be theoretically exploited with web workers, but it's a lot easier to just spin up a native thread in your Java code.

Downsides are all the usual ones, of course: updates don't happen automatically, you may need some sort of licensing/DRM if you want people to pay for your application, and your testing story is a lot more complex. (Plus: look-and-feel on various platforms, reverse engineering is that much easier, etc., etc.)

Offline + sync, and higher performance requirements are my two use-cases for desktop apps.

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