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.

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