JIDE, JFreeChart, JavaFX, and Enterprise Applications

The two Java libraries I encounter most when visiting an organization that builds their software on the NetBeans Platform are... JFreeChart and JIDE.

Now, that's not a coincidence. Typically large enterprise applications are created on the NetBeans Platform, so at some point you'll need charts and at some other point you're going to be very happy if you can reuse predefined business components. Both save a lot of time, both have many years of experience contained within them, both are well supported with large communities.

It seems to me that JFreeChart is in an interesting position since JavaFX includes a set of charts. I.e., dynamic charts, that go up and down, and are animated, as the values in the chart change. Now that's cool. I can see the business case of JavaFX simply from its charting support.

However, JIDE has the 'problem' that it's components are not free and open sourced. Or so I thought, until recently when Joris Snellenburg from the VU University Amsterdam demonstrated the JIDE range slider, which is really cool:

(Interstingly, JIDE's first JavaFX component is a JavaFX version of the above component, as explained here.)

Even when I saw the above component being demonstrated, I somehow assumed that all of JIDE's components require some kind of licensing scenario, but that's not the case at all: "The JIDE Common Layer is dual-licensed. The two licenses are GPL with classpath exception and free commercial license." And the range slider is one of the 30 components that is part of the JIDE Common Layer.

Take a look here, I know I'll be taking a closer look at some of these components and show how to integrate them in NetBeans Platform based applications:



Well, maybe it's just me, but i dislike the way JIDE works in respect to Look n' Feels. I know you already blogged about it (https://blogs.oracle.com/geertjan/entry/all_my_jmenuitems_have_jcheckboxes) but, as far as my knowledge goes, there's no way to avoid NetBeans LnF changes when using JIDE library (i mean, it's not just the checkboxes in menu items, but also the looks of the menu items).
In terms of GUI requirements, i always go with SwingX (which was updated this month to 1.6.3!) and, of course, NetBeans own components (OutlineView, BeanTreeView, ListView, etc.). Using this combination, i think JIDE Common Layer hasn't got much to offer. Now, JIDE commercial products may be a completely different story...

Posted by metator on February 20, 2012 at 09:37 AM PST #

Thanks Geertjan. I am glad you consider integrating JIDE into NetBeans. Our clients asked us before. I actually made a flash tutorial a long long time ago. But to fully integrate with the NetBeans, there are lots of more to do than just importing them to the GUI builder. I don't have the exact count but I would say about 80% of our users are using the JIDE Grids product because it is extremely suitable for large enterprise applications with a lot of data. Although it might not be easy to integrate to NetBeans, it will be very valuable if we did. I would love if we can talk over the phone and see what kind of collaboration we can do to make NetBeans/JIDE users happy.

Re: metator. It is not true that using JIDE will have to have a L&F change. There is an option in JIDE's LookAndFeelFactory to set a style such as VSNET_STYLE_WITHOUT_MENU to avoid any changes to the menu. The menu L&F change is mainly for the JIDE Action Framework where there is no way to support the features we want to support without using our own menu item and menu UI. If you are not using JIDE Action, you don't need to change.

Posted by guest on February 21, 2012 at 05:51 PM PST #

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Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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