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.

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.


Thursday Oct 01, 2009

Interview with JavaFX Developer Dean Iverson


Reviews Interactive recently had a conversation with JavaFX developer Dean Iverson. Dean has been writing software professionally for more than 15 years and is one of the co-authors of the recently released Pro JavaFX Platform book,. He is currently employed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute where he is a senior researcher and rich client application developer. He also has a small software consultancy called Pleasing Software Solutions which he co-founded with his wife.

Dean wrote his first lines of JavaFX code at JavaOne in 2007 and developed his first JavaFX application in the summer of 2008 on the preview SDK. With this preview SDK, Dean built a small Web service client for work that he reports “is still in use today.” Dean noted that at the time he was learning JavaFX, “the best source of information was compiler developers.” He subsequently got involved with the Pro JavaFX Platform book with co-authors Jim Weaver, Stephen Chin, and Weiqi Gao because “I loved the language and the runtime and wanted to help spread the word about this awesome new technology stack to a wider audience.”

When asked what he liked the most about JavaFX Dean had a lengthy list of favorites to include: the ability to bind to arbitrary expressions, the declarative syntax, the runtime's CSS-like syntax for styling applications, along with the ability to easily interface with Java code. Dean summed it up by saying: “Suffice it to say that JavaFX has a lot of advanced features, and for me personally it does all this in a way that makes sense. It fits my mind like a glove, so to speak.”
Dean Iverson
Dean Iverson

Dean actively uses JavaFX at work for small- to medium-sized Web service clients, which he said “is really the sweet spot for the technology at the moment.” Looking to the future Dean noted that “JavaFX's killer feature is being able to unify development for all of the devices we see today.” He said continued applet support for the mobile and TV is critical to ensuring people get the rich user experience they have come to expect these days and that “JavaFX has the potential to greatly simplify development in a world populated by such disparate computing platforms.”

Click here to read more of Dean's interview.

Wednesday Sep 30, 2009

Blogosphere conversations on OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris


OpenOffice
OpenOffice users wrote glowing reviews of the office suite this week starting with Luc Feyes of Earth Times who described OpenOffice as “the undisputed king of open source software.” Blogger Stephen Lunn from Hyper Gadget stated that “as far as word processors go at least, this [OpenOffice] is one of the best.” Jay Garmon from notebookreview.com published an in-depth review of OpenOffice and said it “will prove utterly interchangeable with Microsoft Office 2003,” for the vast majority of users. Stephen Lilley from ehow.com expressed a similar sentiment when he pointed out that “everything you can do in Microsoft Office you can do with OpenOffice.” Finally, openSUSE forum member Patti, excited about what she noted was increased performance of an OpenOffice 3.1.1 Calc spreadsheet asked, “Am I the only one whose [sic] noticed OpenOffice suddenly got a whole lot better?”

VirtualBox
The steady flow of VirtualBox buzz continued this week with a blogger from Am!NeS0ft's blog describing VirtualBox as an emulator that effectively lets you “have your cake and eat it too.” He demonstrated how to install Guest Additions in VirtualBox which he noted “is a simple process that can be done quickly.” Dave Lopan posted two separate articles on ehow.com relating to VirtualBox, which he described as “an excellent free virtual machine manager, capable of running nearly any operating system on the market.” He looked at both how to install and configure a Linux Ubuntu virtual machine in VirtualBox as well as how to create a shared folder between a Linux guest and Windows XP host.

NetBeans
NetBeans users were singing the praises of the IDE this week with a blogger from C++ Web Services saying he prefers NetBeans because it has: “very good navigation features,” it is “easy to get started,” it has a “no-nonsense user interface with its intuitive features,” and it has a “feature-rich editor.” Another blogger at softwarepoets also declared his affection for NetBeans, noting that it has several advantages over Eclipse including: an “excellent GUI builder,” a “very good module system,” a “mechanism for decoupling called lookup,” a “very good API to build explorers, editors, property sheets, etc.,” and a learning curve that “is not very steep.” Finally, a blogger from Manikandan's Weblog pointed out the easy debugging and troubleshooting environment NetBeans provides stating, “with NetBeans debugger, you can step through the code line by line while viewing status of variables, threads and other informations.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users shared a bounty of tips this week, with a blogger from SolarisNevada providing a series of commands to help users diagnose problems that can affect OpenSolaris shutdown and reboot times. A blogger on HowtoForge.com posted a popular tutorial that demonstrated how to create an OpenSolaris paravirtualized Xen guest under Debian Lenny. Blogger Stanley Huang showed how to change the resolution support of OpenSolaris in a EeePC netbook in order to re-size it for VGA output, and finally, a blogger from Triple Boot, Loading.. wrote a tutorial that walks through a triple-boot setup of OpenSolaris, Vista, and Ubuntu.

Tuesday Sep 29, 2009

Recent JavaFX How-To and Review Articles

JavaFX

1. Using JavaFX Classes Directly From Java – Carstens blog, 9/23
The blogger noted that from the “Swing side of the fence, the grass on the JavaFX side certainly sometimes seems a lot greener,” but said he didn't want to be “bothered with the JavaFX language.” Therefore, he demonstrated how to access JavaFX jars from Swing to get an applet up and running in JavaFX 1.2.
JavaFX
2. Multi-threading options in Rich Internet Applications – Silverlighter, 9/24
Blogger Danijel Stulic stated that the use of multi-threading is a must in any complex RIA in order to avoid poor user experience. He looked at the competing technologies and reported he was surprised that JavaFX script is single-threaded. However, he noted that while all threading options are handled in Java code in the JRE, some multi-threading improvements are expected in the next JavaFX release.

3. DSL Calculator – Arno Raps, 9/23
The blogger presented a DSL calculator created with JavaFX 1.2, which he said “has native support for databinding and charts, saving a lot of time.” He also pointed out that creating the chart in the calculator was very simple because “JavaFX supports a number of charts.”

4. So What Kind of Interesting Things – Sunshine2k's blog, 9/18
The blogger, who has been playing with JavaFX as a hobby said the programming language “has some really cool features like binding, animations, and effects.” He said JavaFX is a “better way to design cooler Java applets” rather than trying to write them in “plain Java.”

5. Wish list for converting Adobe Illustrator Files to JavaFX – Lucas Jordan's Blog, 9/18
Blogger Lucas Johnson said he loves how easily Adobe Illustrator graphics can be exported to “a format friendly JavaFX,” but reported that he struggles with how the nodes are named. He suggested a modification to the naming format that he said “would turn Illustrator and Photoshop into very powerful tools for creating complex content in a JavaFX application.”

6. The Bluffer's Guide to JavaFX , part 1 – Inside RIA, 9/18
Simon Morris took a neutral stance in this article to discuss the pro's and con's of JavaFX. Among the high points he notes that JavaFX is a single declarative language that unites the development of the user interface with writing the code, as well as JavaFX script allowing bound expressions to be as complex as necessary “including numerous variable references to different objects.”

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