Thursday Dec 31, 2009

Year's last "At a Glance" : Recent reviews of JavaFX, NetBeans, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users shared a variety of top-notch reviews as well as tips & tricks this week for the free virtualization program. A blogger from Showing My Geek, who recently started using VirtualBox, said, “I really like it,” and explained that he especially appreciated “the ability to allot memory for the video of the virtual machine.” Another blogger selected VirtualBox to highlight as the software product of the month and stated, “VirtualBox is similar to Microsoft Virtual PC, but better” and pointed to its wide-ranging support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from wikihow.com posted a VirtualBox tutorial for users who want to “play with other operating systems without having to change what’s on your computer right now.” And finally, a blogger demonstrated how to set up VirtualBox on a Linux host to sync an iPod Touch 2G and said, “I am quite happy (and surprised) to find that this solution works for me.”

JavaFX
Some JavaFX users kept busy testing the features of the new JavaFX composer this week while others continued to test the limitations of the current release. Nick Apperley reviewed the JavaFX Composer and said the templates “are a great productivity booster in JavaFX Composer,” noting that with the tool, all of the options for creating and customizing are centralized in one location. Another blogger compared JavaFX to Flex and said the biggest differentiator favoring JavaFX is its “ability to quickly create fantastic animation and graphs compared to Flex where 3rd party libraries come into play.” Longtime JavaFX blogger Drew designed and shared a new calendar implementation he built in JavaFX to improve his design skills, while Jeff Friesen published a tutorial that details a basic demonstration of the JavaFX PerspectiveTransform class.

NetBeans
Many NetBeans users continued to explore the features of the new 6.8 release of the IDE this week while others continued to report NetBeans success stories in production environments. Adam Bien posted several blogs focusing on his experience with the 6.8 release, with one blog dedicated to the five features that he said, “make NetBeans 6.8 my IDE of choice.” The other blog looked at the new NetBeans issue tracking tool, which he said, “really rocks” because “you get immediate feedback whether it is a new bug, a known one or what the resolution is … without leaving the IDE.” Finally, blogger Nat discussed his use of the NetBeans IDE for his UI automation project and said, “NetBeans is a great IDE for watir testing; I heartily recommend it,” noting that, “its svn integration is better than anything else I’ve used so far.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users were buzzing with excitement over the new 3.2 release candidate, and wrote about the new features of the upgraded program. Blogger Martin from ghacks.net wrote about the new reduction in startup time as well as the new proprietary file compatibility, which he said, “now supports password protected Microsoft Office documents.” Deb Russell from about.com also discussed OpenOffice this week, and recommended the MATH equation editor that comes with the office productivity suite saying it “lets you slip math equations into your documents rather easily.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users shared a plethora of tricks with others this week starting with a blogger from Ubiquitous Talk who published an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to protect active directories with snapshots implemented with OpenSolaris based storage heads and W2K3 or W2K8 servers. A blogger from Simon’s Musings provided a valuable tutorial that goes through “all of the steps from bare metal” to building a version of OpenAFS on Solaris. Finally, a blogger from The Intersect posted a series of workarounds he has compiled for different issues he encountered in OpenSolaris including turning off output flushing, a broken keyboard layout, and a tip for updating systems.

Tuesday Dec 22, 2009

JavaFX Amps Up Social Networking Products At LodgON


Reviews Interactive recently spoke with Wim De Munck and Johan Vos of LodgON discussing how the company is using JavaFX to deliver social networking products and services to clients. Both Wim and Johan were early Java pioneers who became interested in JavaFX technology when it was first announced as a Java-based RIA development tool at the JavaOne 2007 keynote address. They were pleased to find that JavaFX has benefits on both the development side and for the application's end-user. As Johan said: “For our developers, JavaFX is a relief since the write-once run-anywhere paradigm now holds for Web development as well,” and pointed out that the end user equally benefits, of course, “from the fact that a more attractive user interface can now be offered.”

LodgON uses Java end-to-end in its application development, and Johan said he has found using JavaFX to be critical to both the front-end and the back-end development. As he stated, “In social networking software, the interactions between users are very important; they provide part of the real value of a project,” and pointed out that “the JavaFX HttpRequest in combination with the Jersey RESTimplementation in the Glassfish back-end allows for a high number of small requests.” Additionally, Johan reported that with JavaFX, LodgON has experienced “a dramatic reduction of the development time,” which he said saves the company from losing time “writing dirty hacks in JavaScript/CSS for each different browser.”


LodgON




Johan said the primary advantage JavaFX offers a Java developer “is the ability to use the familiar Java APIs in the JavaFX code.” And while LodgON also does projects in Flex, Johan said there is no mistaking the fact that the ability to use the Java Syntax in JavaFX “allows for a really fast development.” As an added bonus, Wim said “customers really like the 'application style' of the projects we do with JavaFX.” He listed highlights his customers have pointed to with the employment of JavaFX including “the ability to drag the JavaFX application out of the browser window, close the browser and still continue working with the JavaFX application.”

Johan also reported that LodgON is actively working on proof-of-concepts in a mapping software component for opening up JavaFX to Location Based Services as well as an OSGi service browser written in JavaFX that can handle both OSGi bundles in addition to JavaFX apps. As to what he hopes the future holds with JavaFX, Johan said that having a component that allows LodgON to edit HTML “would allow us to port even more applications to JavaFX.” LodgON is clearly dedicated to learning and sharing more about JavaFX, and has just created a new section on the company's Web site where it profiles a sample of its JavaFX applications.

To read more about how LodgON is using JavaFX and what other benefits it has realized from its implementation of the technology, check out the full interview transcript here.

Tuesday Dec 15, 2009

Matthew Hegarty, October winner of the JFXStudio Challenge, talks about JavaFX technology


Reviews Interactive recently spoke with the October winner of the JFXStudio Challenge, Matthew Hegarty, creator of the JavaFX Video Poker game, which was written with a total of just 2,994 characters. A long-time Java programmer, Matt started using JavaFX about two years ago, and has relied primarily on online resources to learn the language, following examples posted on various blogs. However, in a sentiment common to the developer world, Matt states that “the most effective way of learning is to actually use the language, which is partly why I've been taking part in the JFXStudio challenges.”

Matt's idea for the Video Poker game came after hearing Dick Wall of the Java Posse mention a poker game while discussing the challenge. Even though Matt thought “it's too obvious,” he forged ahead with development. The approach Matt took was to write the code normally, and to aim for no more than 4,500 characters, confident he could cut it from there. Once he developed a final cut, he had to remove whitespace, and cut down variable names. However, when he found he was still 100 characters over he said “I had to try to shave off extra characters where I could – this involved removing extraneous semi-colons, re-using strings where I could and even swapping declarations of MountEvent for FXBase because it had a shorter name!”

Matt admits there were a few sacrifices he had to make in creating the game – mainly cutting out animations for the cards – but said, “mostly by sticking to a simple idea I was able to keep the core of the game there.” Besides the Video Poker game, Matt has used JavaFX in other application development to include a previous entry into a JFXStudio challenge called Reaction Time task, while another is an educational application called PsyKit – a face recognition task – for students of psychology.
Matthew Hegarty
Matthew Hegarty

When discussing JavaFX Matt said: “Once you get used to the style of the language you can create applications very quickly,” stating that it makes it easy and quick to translate an idea into “something working on screen, and that really keeps programming fun.” Matt was able to get the basics of his Video Poker game going in only a couple of hours, which he said was the result of “the more you use it [JavaFX], the more efficient you become.”

Read the written Q&A with Matt here.

Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

JavaFX helps WhiteStone create the “wow” factor


Reviews Interactive recently spoke with José Rubi-Gonzalo from WhiteStone Technology about how the company is currently using JavaFX in the Workflow component of its Consolidated Service Desk and IT Service Management product. Specifically, WhiteStone utilized JavaFX to create an intuitive tool with a rich set of functionalities that allows users to create complex business processes using a visual approach. José points out that “UI design is key for a successful application,” and noted that JavaFX has helped WhiteStone differentiate from other competitors in the service desk industry by giving them the capabilities to create a visually rich UI that not only helps users be more comfortable, but productive as well.

José said the JavaFX technology was announced at a time when the WhiteStone was already looking to update its Workflow tool which José said “needed to evolve,” to add more functionality without limiting growth. He said the technology “matched exactly our needs – a Java based language that fit nicely into our existing J2EE framework, multi-platform, and multi-screen.” José said there was a very fast adoption of the technology by the development team noting: “JavaFX is very easy to pick up for Java developers so our team was writing code on JavaFX in no time.”

WhiteStone Technology


José said a simple integration process was another key factor in selecting JavaFX because WhiteStone needed to protect its past technology investments. However, since the original application was developed on J2EE, José said introducing JavaFX was “straightforward.” José said WhiteStone is now able to deliver more features on a faster timeline “because our development capability has grown very significantly with the technology change.” When asked about what he liked most about using JavaFX in the service desk application José responded: “For me, personally, is the peace of mind that JavaFX gives me, because I know we have the ability to maintain and grow our application with the level of quality interaction and visual design that our users expect.”

Looking to the future, José said the company is looking to continue incorporating JavaFX into the rest of the service desk application while also exploring the potential of using JavaFX for a mobile platform to extend the capabilities of field service users. WhiteStone is also working on deploying a system with a software UI developed entirely in JavaFX for one of the leading hospitals in Spain, that will help increase quality of life for patients. As José pointed out, when starting work on this new project “we knew we could not just write another web interface...with JavaFX we had the capacity to produce the application we envision, mixing an innovative interactive design with great visual capabilities.”

To learn more about WhiteStone's experience with JavaFX, read the full interview here.

Wednesday Dec 02, 2009

JavaFX enables Ubivent to develop customized virtual event platform


Reviews Interactive recently spoke with Jens Arndt from Ubivent, 'Europe's leading virtual event specialist.' Ubivent both designs and conducts customized virtual events, and has based its entire platform on JavaFX. The primary reason Ubivent selected JavaFX is because the technology allows developers to create customizable graphics controls and effects in the events platform, which is essential for Ubivent customers who are utilizing virtual events as a marketing instrument, and need to ensure that all events fit corporate design guidelines.

Jens said that JavaFX makes the UI easier to customize and configure in many ways, by allowing the 3D architecture to change for each event, without having to alter the general design. As he pointed out, with JavaFX: “All of the UI is configured using XML files which are synchronized between the servers and the clients using our proprietary protocol. We then bind our DOM directly to the UI elements and so we can push updates instantly to running clients.” Jens said this has allowed Ubivent to create a much simpler process then what could be achieved with other programming languages and platforms.
Ubivent

Beyond the freedom in design JavaFX provides, Jens pointed out that “from our perspective, the most critical element is the fact that JavaFX is a powerful programming language, which makes developments really easy.” He went on to state that the clear structure of JavaFX “allows us to achieve a high degree of code re-usability within our projects,” while also allowing developers to use already established debugging tools. These details, along with the binding for UI components and overall integration with existing Java code, have helped Ubivent to improve “day-to-day efficiency in developing our platform.”

In looking to the future, Ubivent plans to leverage the capabilities of JavaFX to develop a sophisticated “what-you-see-is-what-you-get-like” admin tool to allow customers to have even more flexibility in the set-up and administration of virtual events. Jens also reports that Ubivent is additionally looking to build an evaluation and reporting app for the platform, as the company moves towards building a complete user-friendly event infrastructure, saying: “JavaFX helps us attain this goal." He is looking forward to added features and functionalities in JavaFX including getting increased accessibility support, media capturing capability, and a fully functional password field, but said right now, "in general we're totally happy with JavaFX."

To read more about how Ubivent has integrated JavaFX in its virtual events platform, read the full interview here.

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenOffice & OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox received exuberant praise in both trade publications and on top blogs this week. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy said VirtualBox “delivers tremendous virtualization power” and also noted that it “installs quickly, requires very little study, and includes all the essentials.” Ken Hess from Linux Magazine stated: “Yes, VirtualBox is all that and a bag of computer chips,” while Larry Henry from Lehsys.com reported in a blog titled 'VirtualBox just keeps getting better,' that he has been using the program for eight months and that “it's been just awesome … there's no lag to it – it just works.” Finally, blogger Roger recommended VirtualBox because “the virtualization technology is top notch.”

JavaFX
JavaFX was discussed in a variety of forums this week, including in an analysis piece of the Java programming language by Peter Wayner at InfoWorld. Peter said that while JavaFX requires Java programmers to learn a new language, “the new animation classes may make it worthwhile for highly interactive desktop tools.” Meanwhile, a blogger new to JavaFX developed his first application with the programming language and said “indeed, it's a lot easier to prepare the GUI than plain old AWT,” and also pointed out that “JavaFX is a lot easier way to do the graphics.” Finally, a blogger from Soft-Tech Talks reported “I am amazed with its features,” after testing the GUI development capabilities of JavaFX.

NetBeans
An ever-increasing number of developers made the move to NetBeans this week starting with Glen Smith who reported NetBeans was his choice of IDE for Grails development because “the Mercurial support is just fantastic (and built into the basic install!).” A blogger from TechnologyTales.com made the switch to NetBeans after Eclipse stopped working with his Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade and said “things seemed to go smoothly and it looks to have replaced Eclipse for PHP development duties.” Finally, Quintin Beukes selected NetBeans for its Maven support and said while it doesn't have as large of a feature count as Eclipse, “the features it does have are far more complete and of much higher quality.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users had heaps of praise for the office productivity suite this week starting with Willow Sidhe who described OpenOffice as “the best free word processor out there.” She said: “I use it exclusively for word processing and I actually prefer the program to Microsoft Word.” Don Lindich said he has been using OpenOffice regularly and has “come to prefer it over the latest version of Microsoft Word,” and pointed out that the compatibility with Word is great. Finally, Kent Newsome reported that he was “pretty impressed” with OpenOffice, saying “I'm about ready to call OpenOffice a winner.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts continued to share tips and tricks with others this week, employing some inventive new methods in the process. Beryl Sims created a “visual installation tutorial” that walks step-by-step through the process of an OpenSolaris installation. A blogger at Linux Administration demonstrated how to setup an OpenSolaris client to work with a Linux OpenLDAP server while a blogger at Linux/UNIX succinctly described how to install a Flash player on OpenSolaris through Firefox. Finally, blogger Colin described how to overcome a bug that prevents the install of pkgs on OpenSolaris snv_127 through the Package Manager and command line.

Wednesday Nov 18, 2009

Reviews and How-to Articles from NetBeans Developers


1. Using Graphs to Build Your Own Ruby Pattern Matcher – justinbozonier.posterous.com, 11/9
Justin Bozonier wrote about using dynamic programming to implement a string matching algorithm. He said for the IDE he tried using RadRails, RubyMine, and NetBeans, and said “ultimately I chose NetBeans...for some reason it turned out to be the easiest for me.”
NetBeans
2. NetBeans finally imports my Eclipse projects – joconner.com, 11/9
John O'Conner excitedly reported that NetBeans 6.7.1 was able to import Eclipse projects he does at his day job, and works with “no errors, no problems.” John was excited because this compatibility means “I'm going to use NetBeans again after 2 years away!” He pointed out the bonus is that “the Java support of the IDE is amazing,” stating “NetBeans does JavaScript FAR BETTER than Eclipse does.”

3. NetBeans Unit Test Creation better than Eclipse? And where should unit test live? – beilers.com, 11/9
The blogger, who said he is “kind of tied to Eclipse as my IDE,” also “plays” with NetBeans and said he would switch if the IDE had Emacs key bindings. Among the highlights the blogger said he “especially like the way it (NetBeans) manages plug-ins,” as well as the way it handles unit testing by automatically creating a secondary source tree, and the way libraries are separated.

4. Migrating to NetBeans Platform 6.8 – launchpad.net/gephi, 11/8
Mathieu Bastian reported on his trunk code update from NetBeans 6.5 to 6.8 and said “no bug has been found after migrating,” and also pointed out that “the retro-compatibility is really satisfying.”

5. Develop High Transaction Web Applications with Java MySQL & NetBeans – armelnene.blogspot.com, 11/12
Armel Nene published an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to develop a high transactional Web application, using NetBeans to generate the code.

6. Create a GWT Application from Scratch – blog.jdevelop.eu, 11/11
The blogger demonstrated how to create a GWT application for NetBeans in this in-depth tutorial, as well as how to do so with Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA, allowing people to choose which IDE to work in.

7. PHP Remote Debugging with NetBeans 6.8 – roysimkes.net, 11/10
The blogger said NetBeans 6.8 is “getting better and better,” pointing out that you can now debug php code with the it, which he demonstrated how to do in this tutorial.

8. Configuring JavaMail on GlassFish – energybuns.blogspot.com, 11/6
The blogger posted a tutorial that shows how to use the NetBeans platform (6.5.1) to configure JavaMail on GlassFish.

9. Changing default Look'n'Feel for NetBeans (and the GUI builder) – raftaman.net, 11/6
The blogger said “NetBeans' GUI builder is great,” pointing out that “it's one of the essential features that made me drop Eclipse.” However, he noted that designing certain GUIs are difficult because the preview look and feel on NetBeans may differ from the look and feel of the application platform. Therefore, he described how to change the NetBeans look and feel (as well as the GUI builder's look and feel) in this tutorial.

10. Simple example on NetBeans using Java with Swing – Sum – en.actualidadinformatica.com, 11/6
The blogger posted a simple tutorial that demonstrated how to use NetBeans to combine Java and Swing elements in an application that executes a simple sum of two numbers.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

At a Glance: Recent VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
This week there was a prolific amount of VirtualBox buzz to be found on the Web. Blogger Hardik Shah said VirtualBox “reigns supreme” over all virtualization options on the market stating that “everything is just CLASS EXTRAORDINARY.” A blogger from Fun with IT reported on the migration of a Windows XP virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox and said it “worked even better than I expected,” noting that in VirtualBox “the VM just booted and ran like a champ!” Finally, a blogger from Bill's Security Blog discussed why he used VirtualBox in the setup of a safe environment to perform penetration testing, and also described how to set up and configure VirtualBox for internal networking only.

JavaFX
JavaFX continued to gain momentum this week as developers published new applications and explored new tools. Sten Anderson released a new version of his JavaFX-based music discovery application, Music Explorer FX, updating it to take advantage of “performance and stability improvements” in JavaFX 1.2. Sten reported that the new release “boasts notable performance improvements and some crazy caching techniques.” Blogger Drew from the JavaFX Journey tested blend modes in JavaFX and concluded that “blending can be powerful.” He also published an application that displays the effects of the various modes. Finally, Max Katz posted two tutorials this week, one in which he demonstrated how Exadel Flamingo allows a user to utilize Hibernate Validator-based validation in the JavaFX UI, while in the other he showed how to connect a Seam component from JavaFX to an enterprise back-end using Exadel Flamingo.

OpenSolaris
It was another hefty week of OpenSolaris tutorials, as more and more users blogged about their experiences with the OS. A blogger from toic.org reported that he has been using OpenSolaris for a while and said “I'm quite pleased with it to say the least,” posting an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to set up an OpenSolaris server, using ZFS and COMSTAR to create “a scalable, high-performance, low-budget storage server.” Meanwhile, a blogger from dfusion.com.au posted a step-by-step guide to mounting Solaris NVSv4 using Kerberos onto a Mac, which he reported he has been wanting to do because of Solaris ZFS which “is way superior to any other current filing system. Period.” Finally, OpenSolaris enthusiast Ewald Ertl demonstrated how to copy files to a remote Solaris server using Nautilus in OpenSolaris, which he likes because it “supports the navigation on remote systems with a lot of protocols.”

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

Tips & Tricks from NetBeans Developers


1. My Development Environment -– whoneedsactions.com, 11/4
Blogger James Riley said since starting with NetBeans he has “never looked back.” He noted that what makes NetBeans his IDE of choice “is its Ruby on Rails support – being able to carry out all your command line activities from within the IDE saves me a lot of time.”
NetBeans
2. 15+ Creative Java applications based on NetBeans Platform -– veerasundar.com, 11/3
The blogger said NetBeans is more than “just an IDE that helps you to build Java/PHP/C++ applications,” and stated “there are numerous GUI applications built upon the NetBeans platform,” 15 of which he highlighted in this post.

3. Glassfish, NetBeans and JSF 2.0 Test Drive –- andygibson.net, 11/2
Andy Gibson has been testing the new NetBeans 6.8 beta release and said “feature-wise it is a great product with better tooling for JSF,” along with other programs but said “while the features are impressive, NetBeans still seems hindered by performance issues and some minor bugs,” but said compared with other IDEs, “NetBeans is a superior product in terms of features.”

4. ZK 3.6.3 with NetBeans 6.8 Beta on GlassFish V3 –- javadude.wordpress.com, 11/6
The blogger, who is using NetBeans 6.8 Beta, was curious to see whether he could get the latest ZK release to work with NetBeans 6.8 running on GlassFish, and demonstrated step-by-step just how to add ZK 3.6.3 to NetBeans to create a directory for GlassFish in this tutorial.

5. HSQLDB NetBeans –- anipossible3.blogspot.com, 11/5
The blogger gave a step-by-step instructions describing how to configure HSQLDB in NetBeans in this tutorial.

6. NetBeans Platform: Implement Perforce client – part IV –- javasign.blogspot.com, 11/2
The blogger finished up his series on the Perforce client with the NetBeans platform, to illustrate how it can be implemented as a versioning client in NetBeans. Specifically, in this tutorial he discussed how to integrate into Perforce the NetBeans IDE file manipulation operations to include add, delete, rename, move, or edit using the NetBeans VCSInterceptor class.

7. ReST Web Services on Google App Engine using NetBeans 6.7 –- armelnene.blogspot.com, 11/1
Armel Nene demonstrated how to develop a ReST based web service that works with the Google App Engine using NetBeans and Jersey API in this tutorial.

8. Install iReport Plugins in NetBeans –- ireport-tutorial.blogspot.com, 11/1
The blogger posted a screencast tutorial that demonstrates how to install the iReport plugin in NetBeans, which the blogger said “is the most popular and top-rated NetBeans plugin.” He said the plugin allows the user to easily design reports in NetBeans.

9. NetBeans Platform: JNLP & static codebase –- puces-blog.blogspot.com, 10/31
Blogger Florian Brunner discussed how to deploy a JNLP NetBeans Platform application to a web server that doesn't support WAR-files in this tutorial.

10. NetBeans IDE unboxing and review -– violarocks.wordpress.com, 10/31
The blogger posted a video tutorial that shows the unboxing and installation of NetBeans 6.7.1 along with the creation of a simple Java project application in NetBeans.

11. NetBeans Refactoring – Part 1 –- significantinsignificance.wordpress.com, 10/30
The blogger published a tutorial on on refactoring in NetBeans, which he said is “a very powerful and a personal favorite NetBeans feature.” He described how the refactoring capabilities available in NetBeans can allow the user to change source code easily, illustrating and explaining half of the options available in the refactor menu in this post.

12. Writing your First Boxee App -– greatboxee.com, 10/30
The blogger posted an in-depth step-by-step guide to writing a Boxee app using NetBeans as an IDE. At the end, he said his experience with NetBeans was “just OK” noting that “it had the bare minimum of refactorings, intellisense, and a test runner.”

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users posted dozens of tutorials full of praise this week to encourage and help others to try the free program. The blogger from Gophn.com said VirtualBox is “definitely the epitome of the phrase 'bang for the buck' … especially since it is free,” while also stating: “There is no beating this software's features, performance, compatibility, and probably support.” He posted two in-depth video tutorials to walk a new user through the installation and setup of this “must have program.” Blogger Alex Amiryan reported on his new install of Fedora 11 on VirtualBox saying everything “works just perfectly,” and shared a system startup service he wrote to power on some of the virtual machines in the background at startup. Finally, Jonathan Moeller demonstrated how to install VirtualBox in Ubuntu 9.10 from a terminal window saying, “as ease of installation goes, you can't beat that.”

JavaFX
Several JavaFX developers discussed and demonstrated features of the program in their blogs this week. Blogger Murat Yener described JavaFX as being similar to Flash and Flex but noted that with JavaFX “you have the control of the Flash counterpart of Stage and Timeline directly in the code.” He then demonstrated the functionality of Stage and Timeline in the process of developing an application. Elsewhere, blogger Muhammad Hakim shared his entry in the October JFXStudio challenge, detailing how he wrote the JavaFX app that calculates prayer time for Muslims based on location, and sharing the source code with others to experiment with.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared their tips and tricks this week through a plethora of tutorials. Aaron Gilbert from devtrends.com published a tutorial that demonstrated the step-by-step process of installing and enabling virtualization of xVM on OpenSolaris, which Aaron described as “robust.” Blogger Hiroshi Chonan described how to create an OpenSolaris Live USB stick on Windows with 'dd' utility in his blog, while a blogger from Creation of the Andz posted an in-depth guide to installing the OpenSolaris 2009.06 operating system. Elsewhere, new OpenSolaris adopters expressed their pleasure with the operating system. A blogger from Aello Puppet reported “everything is running without any error,” while a student new to OpenSolaris said he is “having fun playing” with the OS.

Monday Oct 26, 2009

JFXStudio 'Time' Challenge Winner talks JavaFX


Software architect Mark Nankman was the winner of the September JFXStudio challenge, which required developers to build an application with 30 or fewer lines of code in a single JavaFX file (30 lines as counted by actual lines, or 3,000 characters), with a 'time' theme. Mark's Pacman clock application took first place and caught the attention of many because of the creativity and complexity demonstrated within the small file. Mark has several years of experience in Java programming, and has recently turned his focus to Web 2.0 and RIA development, which is how he became interested in JavaFX. He said he used to develop Adobe Flex front-ends to interact with Java back-ends, but didn't like the fact that it required 3 programming languages! Turning to JavaFX Mark found that the programming language "makes developing maintainable rich web applications a lot easier."

Mark began using JavaFX in October of 2008, and said that he relied primarily on online tutorials to learn the programming language. Among the top sites he utilized are: JavaFX.com, JFXStudio, and Jim Weaver's JavaFXpert blog. When learning JavaFX, Mark set himself a goal to build a complete application, which resulted in his TweetBox Twitter client. To build the application Mark enlisted the help of the JFXtras site as well as the advice of other JavaFX developers. The project is open sourced and Mark is actively looking for other developers to join the project, so be sure to contact him if you are interested!

When discussing Mark's winning Pacman clock application, he noted that it was relatively easy to build, and said he had a functioning product within 30 minutes of starting, stating that with JavaFX “you can do a lot with just a little code.” Mark said he needed to use just a few simple manipulations to keep the code within the 30-line limit, such as using compact SVGPaths, along with several other tricks he listed on his blog. Overall, Mark noted that he was “amazed at just how powerful JavaFX is.” He reported only having to sacrifice one feature in his application – the ability to dynamically resize the clock – which he said simply couldn't be crammed into the 30-line application.

Mark Nankman
Mark Nankman


Mark said his favorite feature with JavaFX is "the fact that all three dimensions of the MVC model can (and must) be programmed and specified in the same, clean language." Mark has already been hard at work on his entry for the October JFXStudio challenge, which has the same 30-line, 3000-character size constraints, with the theme 'five.' For this challenge Mark developed and published a Mayan calculator, based on their ancient counting system, which can be found here. He noted that when developing this application facing the same constraints as last month's challenge he was "yet again amazed by how much you can do with just a few lines of code" in JavaFX.

Read the written Q&A with Mark here.


Wednesday Oct 21, 2009

JavaFX Reviews and How-To Articles


1. Should there be a DB API for JavaFX? –- nick-software.blogspot.com, 10/14
The blogger said he believes that the lack of a DB API is “a possible gaping hole when it comes to developing mobile JavaFX applications.” He stated “it would make sense” to have a database available to run on the high and mid-range mobile devices and gave his argument for why the JavaFX team should develop one.
JavaFX
2. Silverlight vs. JavaFX vs. Flex/AIR -– vinaytechs.blogspot.com, 10/12
The blogger compared three different RIA development platforms (Silverlight, JavaFX, and Flex/AIR)said that even though JavaFX was initially marketed as a Flash-look-alike creative media delivering platform, “the rich UI components allow develop[ing] complex RIA applications.”

3. Creating a Simple Game in JavaFX (Part 1, 2, 3) -– blog.exprimeit.co.uk, 10/15, 10/16
The blogger published a step-by-step account (with code) of how he re-wrote a game originally developed with JavaSE and Java2D in JavaFX since he wanted to see “how much easier writing the game would be using the graphic oriented JavaFX script language.”

4. javax.accessibility for JavaFX –- jfxstudio.wordpress.com, 10/14
Ubivent posted their newly-developed javax.accessibility package with a Swing component now included in the JFrame so as to make up for the lack of native accessibility support in JavaFX “for assisting visually impaired people.” The team described how to use the support and shared the source code for the new solution.

5. Enterprise JavaFX for the Web Platform -– InfoQ.com, 10/12
Peter Pilgrim posted a video presentation he gave at QCon in which he introduced the JavaFX platform, presented the scripting language as well as the standard deployment method of applications, and client applications with the server.

Tuesday Oct 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, OpenOffice, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
Positive VirtualBox buzz was bountiful this week in the blogosphere with a new VirtualBox user who commented “so far, VirtualBox is AMAZING in my testing process,” noting that it “opens up some amazing possibilities.” Another new VirtualBox user said, “I like VirtualBox so far, it appears to be a useful tool in the toolbox.” A blogger from Tech-Week described VirtualBox as “by far the best free virtualization program on in the Internet,” and gave a tutorial that described how to install and set up VirtualBox, something he noted “is fast and easy.” Finally, blogger Bob Jones reported on his new experience with VirtualBox saying, “I was extremely happy with what I got,” and posted his detailed installation steps on an Ubuntu host.

OpenOffice
There was a bounty of praise for OpenOffice this week starting with a blogger from Frugal in Virginia who said OpenOffice is “super easy to use,” and “allows you many of the same capabilities as Microsoft Office without the cost.” Ghacks.net's Jack Wallen recommended OpenOffice to Mac users as an alternative to iWork saying that although it may look different, “you will find it is just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.” Peter Wayner from Network World also recommended the office suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office noting that “the software reads all major document types.” Finally, a blogger from The eBook Agency called OpenOffice “the real deal,” and said of his experience “so far, OpenOffice is passing with flying colors.”

NetBeans
Praise for NetBeans was easy to find this week amongst the IDE's users. A blogger at Tech-how.com claimed with NetBeans “you get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications,” for a variety of programming languages in an IDE that “is easy to install and use straight out of the box.” A blogger from JavaSign said NetBeans is “the best tool to configure your environment,” and demonstrated how to create dynamic libraries in NetBeans stating that “in 10 minutes spent you can do much more than before with the best GUI ever.” Finally, a blogger from Ruby for Scientific Research said “NetBeans is a great development platform,” and demonstrated how to write and run a jRuby script with a library file from NetBeans.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and Solaris bloggers had plenty of commendations and user tips to share this week, starting with blogger Martin who reported that he regularly uses Solaris at work and recently uploaded OpenSolaris to use on his home system stating: “I always really enjoy OpenSolaris when I run it in a virtual machine under Linux.” Another blogger listed the top 10 reasons to try the Solaris 10 OS, noting that the constant innovation of the OS pays off for the user: “innovation matters, because it saves you money.” Finally, a blogger from Irrationale.com followed up on his recent OpenSolaris NAS guide with a tutorial demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, how to change out smaller disks for larger ones, and how to add disks to the NAS pool in OpenSolaris.

Friday Oct 09, 2009

At a Glance: Recent OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


OpenOffice
New and experienced OpenOffice users wrote about the office suite this week with blogger Nikki reporting that she has “found it to be very user friendly,” saying “it is a great alternative for those who either don't have or cannot afford MS Office.” Another blogger focused his attention on OpenOffice Draw, calling it “a powerful graphics package,” and highlighting the connectors feature between shapes. And finally, long-time OpenOffice user Jack Wallen published a tutorial demonstrating how to install extensions in OpenOffice, with which he said “you can expand the capabilities of this outstanding office suite.”

VirtualBox
VirtualBox users were abuzz this week, posting dozens of reviews and tutorials for the popular program. One blogger posted a short introduction aimed at new VirtualBox users and said, “it's in my opinion the easiest to work with on all platforms and likely the easiest for the beginner,” when compared to other virtualization technologies. Another blogger reported that VirtualBox saved the day by giving her the ability to read .vhd files natively, “without any conversion hoops to jump through,” after setting up Windows with a Cisco VPN running on Linux in VirtualBox. Finally, a blogger excited to have access to Magicjack exclaimed: “Hooray for VirtualBox! I can have my Linux and Windows too!”

NetBeans
NetBeans bloggers had commendations for different features of the IDE this week, with a blogger from Edmonds Commerce Blog working on a project with heavy Javascript requirements reporting that “the excellent jQuery support in NetBeans (my IDE of choice) is making this a real pleasure to work with.” Adam Bien wrote about kenai.com this week and said: “The integrations with the NetBeans IDE is unique – it is very easy and convenient to find and check-out an existing project and nicely integrated chat.” Other NetBeans users focused on helping others, with a blogger from totalprogUS describing how to create your own shortcuts with the NetBeans macro and a blogger from XLAB tech discussing how to access classes and resources from multiple modules in the NetBeans classloader system.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared praise and tips for the operating system this week with a blogger from IT knowledge Indy applauding the OS saying it “is perpetually ahead of the curve in the computer world,” and that it demonstrates Sun's “ability to be innovative and flexible.” Regular OpenSolaris aficionado Stanley Huang described how to decompress rar files in OpenSolaris on his blog this week. And finally, a blogger reported on his successful installation of the 2009.06 release on a “still powerful” Sun V40Z, and gave tips for anyone else looking to install the latest release on an older system.


Wednesday Oct 07, 2009

Last Week's JavaFX Reviews and How-To Articles



1. FXStudio small is the new big, challenge submission – Java Development and other BS, 10/1
The blogger said, “it is amazing what you can do in 30 lines of JavaFX script,” when reflecting on his entry into the JavaFXStudio challenge, and also said JavaFX Script is (more) efficient than Java, particularly given the limitations for the challenge.
JavaFX
2. WidgetFX Experiences – JFXperience.com, 9/27
Blogger Yannick reported on the development of his RadioFX Widget entry in the WidgetFX contest saying that he only began working on the widget one week before the deadline which he said, “shows that JavaFX allows for pretty fast application development; with little time you can still make cool things!”

3. Born out of Boredom – Sumit Bisht, 9/26
Blogger Sumit Bisht reported that he is studying JavaFX and admitted that while he was initially skeptical about the technology, a little experience has allayed his fears. He said that his initial impressions with “playing around with this yet-another-scripting-language for the JVM” have him thinking the programming language “is nicely done (especially the integration with NetBeans).”

4. When to use timelines – The JavaFX Journey, 9/26
The blogger stated that “timelines are a critical part of JavaFX,” noting that “the structure of JavaFX's is very concise and robust,” yet too many timelines in a complex system can be tricky and present problems. He gave an example describing his new Clash game and how he successfully moved the timelines to the infinite game loop for better logic and UI performance.

5. Social Networking in Telematics – lodgON, 9/25
Johan Vos described his company's new JavaFX mobile client, which uses GPS data through JSR 179. He said “I was extremely happy and positively surprised when I discovered that JavaFX supports JSR 179,” before continuing to say “this is one of the reasons I believe in JavaFX: easy support for real devices.”

6. Webcam with JavaFX – JavaFX by Kuldip, 9/25
The blogger said that despite its progress, JavaFX “still misses key features like recording of audio or video, accessing of native devices right from within JavaFX.” He acknowledged that it could be done using JMF but noted, “if I have to use Java then why do I need JavaFX...JFX is supposed to be making developers lives way more easier and that is the reason I love it.”

7. Yet Another Simple JavaFX Time-Based animation – JFXStudio: sketch, hack, share, 9/30
Muhammad Hakim posted his JFXStudio challenge time-based application noting how easy it was to create with JavaFX by saying “a half hour I think is enough to create something like this.” He also shared the source code for his application and posted a demonstration video.

8. 30 Lines of JavaFX – Steve on Java, 9/29
Steve Chin discussed his entry into the JFXStudio contest and showed the full code for the application as well as the shorter version he edited to meet the 3,000 character limit (something he noted is not a recommended coding practice). He also noted that all elements were rendered using JavaFX Shape and Text primitives with Perspective Transform effects.

9. JavaFX location example with GPS – lodgON, 9/26
Johan Vos stated that “one of the cool things about the JavaFX Mobile platform running on my HTC Diamond phone is the easy integration with GPS.” He posted a simple JavaFX example with the GPS that demonstrates how to obtain your position in JavaFX.

10. Pickin' and grinnin' with the JFXtras Picker control – James Weaver's JavaFX Blog, 9/25
Jim Weaver demonstrated the newest enhancement to his SpeedReaderFX that now takes advantage of the Picker control created by David Armitage in the JFXtras project. Jim described how the Picker control helps users to quickly choose different entries of a specific feed type.


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