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.

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.

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.”

Monday Aug 10, 2009

Interview with Evgeni Sergeev, JavaFX Coding Challenge Third Prize Winner


Reviews Interactive recently talked with Evgeni Sergeev, developer of the ShiningEtherFX application that won third place in the JavaFX Coding Challenge. Evgeni is a student at the University of Western Australia, where he is working on an Honors project in computer vision, having recently earned degrees in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Computer and Mathematical Sciences. Evgeni just started learning JavaFX in May and commented on the short amount of time it took him to learn the program by noting “it's a fast learning process.” Evgeni taught himself JavaFX by using a number of different articles he found online, shown in the full interview below, as resources.

Evgeni said he found the combination of instance initializers and bind semantics in JavaFX to be the most useful aspect in creating his ShiningEtherFX application. He stated: “The binding concept is beautiful because you can have a UI element that is actually bound to the underlying model...it is actually bound, because as a programmer, you don't have to worry about refreshing the view or updating the model – there is no way it won't be updated or refreshed, given the JavaFX way of doing things.”

Evgeni explained how JavaFX made it easy to develop ShiningEtherFX with helpful features for the end user. For example, to make the workplace draggable Evgeni said “it only took five lines of code or therabouts,” saying “implementing that was a dream.” In general, Evgeni noted that JavaFX “makes it easy to take care of a lot of this sort of functionality that users nowadays expect to see everywhere,” noting that just because a user expects something, doesn't mean it is easier to write, and credits JavaFX with anticipating many common use cases.
Evgeni Sergeev
Evgeni Sergeev

As a developer, Evgeni said he appreciates that JavaFX “is not trying to be some kind of a minimalist language.” With regard to the rapid release cycle and the recent introduction of JavaFX 1.2 Evgeni noted “The fact that you are not afraid of introducing changes that are not backward-compatible is great because RIAs are here to stay for a long time, and we want a tool that is the best it can be.” Overall, Evgeni said: “JavaFX has many positives, not to mention being free for the developer, and it is just the barrier of learning something new that it must help developers overcome.”

The complete interview with Evgeni can be found here.

Wednesday Jul 29, 2009

Interview with JavaFX Coding Challenge Winner Sten Anderson


Reviews Interactive recently sat down with Sten Anderson, developer of the grand prize winning JavaFX Coding Challenge application, Music Explorer FX. Sten has been working with Java since the late '90s and is currently a Senior Consultant for the software consultancy, Citytech, in Chicago. Sten began working with JavaFX at the time of the preview release, in August 2008. Sten said he learned JavaFX through trial and error, but claimed “I found it fairly easy to get up to speed in the new language, which is more of a testament to the language design than it is my ability to learn new things.”

Through his years of experience as a developer, Sten has grown convinced that applications are “all about end-user experience,” noting that users will not use any application that isn't perceived as usable. Sten said one of the highlights of JavaFX is its ability to excel “at creating rich, interactive, visual user interfaces which I think are ultimately easier to use.” He described JavaFX as “a DSL for creating compelling user interfaces,” pointing out that “JavaFX makes it easier for a developer to create something good.”
Sten Anderson
Sten Anderson
Sten found that the most useful aspect of JavaFX in developing Music Explorer FX was “its near-seamless integration with the Java language and platform.” Sten also pointed out that he “would not have been able to write the application in the same time-frame without being able to lean on my existing Java knowledge.” Sten noted that as a Java developer he “found the syntax of JavaFX a welcome respite from the more verbose Java language.”

As a career Java developer, Sten noted when comparing RIA platforms, that “Java FX is 'better' simply because it's Java.” He said it all boils down to that fact being JavaFX's winning differentiator: “Since JavaFX plays so well with Java, its newness is compensated by the extreme age and maturity of the core Java platform.” He said it also gives Java developers a way to utilize their existing skill set when developing RIAs, by letting them stay “closer to home,” giving them the option to stay within the “Java Ecosystem.”

The complete interview with Sten can be found here.

Monday Jul 20, 2009

eWEEK: NetBeans IDE 6.7 Provides Effective Integration with Project Kenai


eWEEK’s Jeff Cogswell reviewed NetBeans IDE 6.7, concluding that while NetBeans 6.7 is a .7 release in name, it “includes so many new features it could rightfully receive a full version increment.” Jeff spent the majority of his time testing NetBeans’ integration with Project Kenai, a new feature he called “one of the biggest improvements.”
NetBeans
The reviewer, who had in the past experienced frequent difficulties with “getting a new project installed on a new developer’s computer,” wrote, “Now, with the NetBeans IDE, you can easily avoid such problems” by creating a project and uploading it to Kenai.

Jeff also praised the ability for developers to access various Project Kenai features such as full support for source code repositories directly through the NetBeans IDE, “without the need to interact with the site itself.” He also made special mention of NetBeans’ convenient chat software, which he called “pretty handy for communicating with the project members in real time.”

After thoroughly testing Kenai integration and running into very few problems, Jeff offered a final verdict: “All-in-all, I had a good experience with the Kenai integration into NetBeans IDE.

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