At the Java DEMOgrounds - JavaFX

JavaFX has made rapid progress in the last year, as is evidenced by the wealth of demos on display. A few questions appear to be prominent in the minds of JavaFX enthusiasts. Here are some questions with answers provided by Oracle’s JavaFX team.

When will the rest of the JavaFX code be available in open source?
Oracle has started to open source JavaFX. The existing platform code will finish being committed to OpenJFX by the end of the year.

Why should I use JavaFX instead of HTML5?
We see JavaFX as complementary to HTML5, and most companies we talk to react positively once they understand how they can benefit from a hybrid solution. As most HTML5 developers will tell you, the biggest obstacle to deploying HTML5 applications is fragmentation. JavaFX offers a convenient way to render HTML and JavaScript within its WebView component, which provides the same level of quality and features across Windows, Mac, and Linux. Additionally, JavaScript in WebView can make calls into the Java code, and vice versa, allowing developers to tap into the best of both worlds.

What is the market penetration of JavaFX?
It is currently limited, as we've just made available JavaFX on Mac and Linux in August, but we expect JavaFX to be present on millions of desktop-type systems now that JavaFX is included as part of the JRE. We have also significantly lowered the level of effort required to deploy an application bundling the JRE and JavaFX runtime libraries. Finally, we are seeing a lot of interest by companies operating in the embedded market, who have found it hard to develop compelling UIs with existing technologies.

Below are summaries of JavaFX Demos on display at JavaOne 2012:

JavaFX Ensemble

Ensemble is a collection of over 100 JavaFX samples packaged as a JavaFX application. This demo is especially useful to those new to JavaFX, or those not familiar with its latest features (e.g. canvas, color picker). Ensemble is the reference for getting familiar with JavaFX functionality. Each sample can be run from within Ensemble, and the API for each sample, as well as the source code are available alongside the sample.

The samples source code can be saved as a NetBeans project for convenience purposes, or can be copied as is in any other Java IDE. The version of Ensemble shown is packaged as a native Windows application, including the JRE and JavaFX libraries. It was created with the JavaFX packager, which provides multiple packaging options, and frees developers from the cumbersome and error-prone process of packaging a Java application.

FX Experience Tools

FX Experience Tools is a JavaFX application that provides different utilities to create new skins for your JavaFX applications. One of the most powerful features of JavaFX is the ability to skin applications via CSS. Since not all Java developers are familiar with CSS, these utilities are a great starting point to create custom skins. JavaFX allows developers to easily customize the look and feel of their applications through CSS.

FX Experience Tools makes it easy to create new themes for JavaFX applications, even if you are not familiar with CSS. FX Experience Tools is a JavaFX application packaged as a native application including the JRE and JavaFX runtime libraries. FX Experience tools shows how this type of deployment simplifies the packaging of Java applications without requiring developers to master the intricacies of Java application packaging.

The download site for FX Experience Tools is http://fxexperience.com/2012/03/announcing-fx-experience-tools/

JavaFX Scene Builder

JavaFX Scene Builder is a visual layout tool that lets users quickly design the UI of your JavaFX application, without coding. Users can drag and drop UI components, modify their properties, apply style sheets, and the FXML code they create for the layout is automatically generated in the background. The result is an FXML file that can then be combined with a Java project by binding the UI to the application’s logic. Developers can easily create user interfaces for their application, as well as separate the application’s UI from the application logic for easier maintenance. Attendees can get this app by going to javafx.com and checking the link at top of the “Overview” page.

Scene Builder allows developers to easily layout JavaFX UI controls, charts, shapes, and containers, so that you can quickly prototype user interfaces. It generates FXML, an XML-based markup language that enables users to define an application’s user interface, separately from the application logic. Scene Builder can be used in combination with any Java IDE, but is more tightly integrated with NetBeans IDE. It is written as a JavaFX application, with native desktop integration on Windows and Mac OS X. It’s a perfect example of a JavaFX application packages as a native application.

Scene Builder is available for your preferred development platform. Besides the GA release on Windows and Mac, a Developer Preview of Scene Builder for Linux has just been made available.

Scenic View

Scenic View is a tool that can be used to understand the current state of your application UI, and to also easily manipulate properties of the scenegraph without having to keep editing your code. Creating UIs is a complex process, and it can be hard and tedious detecting these issues, editing the code, and then compiling it to test the app again. Scenic View is a great diagnostics tool that helps developers identify these issues and correct them at runtime.

Attendees can get Scenic View by going to javafx.com, selecting the “Community” tab, and clicking the link under the “Third Party Tools and Utilities” section.

Scenic View allows developers to easily examine the state of a JavaFX application scenegraph while the application is running. Some of the latest features added to Scenic View include event monitoring, javadoc browsing, and contextual menus.

The download site for Scenic View is available here: http://fxexperience.com/scenic-view/

Conference Tour

Conference Tour is an application that lets users discover some of the major Java conferences throughout the world. The Conference Tour application shows how simple it is to mix JavaFX and HTML5 into a single, interactive application. Attendees get Conference Tour here.

JavaFX includes a Web engine based on Webkit that provides a consistent web interface to render HTML5 across operating systems, within a JavaFX application. JavaFX features a bi-directional bridge that allows Java APIs to call JavaScript within WebView, or allows JavaScript to make calls to Java APIs. This allows developers to leverage the best of both worlds.

Java EE developers can take advantage of WebView and the JavaScript-Java bridge to allow their HTML clients to seamlessly bypass Web browser’s sandbox to access native system resources, providing a richer user experience.

FXMediaPlayer

FXMediaPlayer is an application that lets developers check different media functionality in JavaFX, such as synthesizer or support for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). This demo shows how developers can embed video content in their Java applications. JavaFX leverages the underlying video (e.g., H.264) and audio (e.g., AAC) codecs on the user’s computer. JavaFX APIs allow developers to interact with the video content (e.g. play/pause, or programmable markers).

Some of the latest media features introduced in JavaFX 2.2 include HTTP Live Streaming (HLS).

Obviously there is a lot for JavaFX enthusiasts to chew on!

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San Francisco, USA: Sept 28 - Oct 2, 2014

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