Monday Feb 08, 2010

Creating a kiosk app with JavaFX, Sun Ray, Solaris and yeah some middleware...

I set out to see how easy or doable it would be to create a kiosk system that could be used in a Minority Report type of display. Let me state this experiment is in its very very non-Minority Report stage. The first stage of this experiment was simply to create a display mechanism that could be used to broadcast images using Thin Client technology.

So I chose to create a JavaFX application that would talk to Rest based server I set up. Using JSON the JavaFX application would retrieve data to display on the thin client screen. Not to taxing but a good learning experiment.

So what did I learn. JavaFX is a great mechanism for doing this type of display. Sun Ray is a good platform for displaying the information. Note that the as the level of interactivity goes up (aka moving graphics) things can get interesting.

Additionally I learned that a JavaFX application can easily be started from the command line and integrated into a Sun Ray startup script. Hear is my sample script.

#1 /usr/openwin/bin/xset -dpms s off

#2 unclutter -root &

#3 cp /jfx/.javafx_eula_accepted $HOME/.

#4 cp /jfx/.javafx_ping_sent $HOME/.

#4 cd /jfx

#6 javafx -cp JavaFXApplication1.jar javafxapplication1.Main

Not the most complex or proper start script ever written but it got the job done. First thing you will notice is line #1. I used the xset command to disable the power management and screen saver options. This is non starter for a kiosk display. It must never be blank. Also with no mouse or keyboard attached to the Sun Ray you cannot wake it up.

Line 2 is the unclutter command. You can download and compile from http://www.filibeto.org/pipermail/sunray-users/2010-January/014592.html. Unclutter will hide the cursor if it detects no activity in a given period of time. Sucks seeing that big ole cursor sitting on the screen with no mouse to move it.

Lines 3/4 are needed because the kiosk mode of Sun Ray cleans the user directory (rightfully so) when the session is ends. Well JavaFX will ask the user to accept the usage terms every time it starts and does not find the two files in the users home directory. No keyboard or mouse equal headache.

Finally the line (#6) to start the JavaFX application. Use the properties tab in Netbeans to get the correct name for the Main entry point.

That is it not to bad overall for a simple display. Now to crank it up to see how far it will go before it breaks.

Tuesday May 08, 2007

JavaFX/Script and JavaFX/Mobile

Announcement JavaFX Consumer focused family of Java technologies that will impact consumer markets. The first component is JavaFX/Script which will allow the development of rich applications. Dr. James Gosling comes on stage now. Chris Oliver the inventor of JavaFX/Script joins the duel. First demo is a mock up of a Motorola website. Took only 3 days to replicate. Second is a recreation of the Tesla Motors website. Third is code example. It took six lines of code to implement live buttons on Moto Demo. Tool is coming soon. A new breed of content creation tools. Everything needed to support JavaFX/Script is already on peoples devices and desktops. During todays opening session JavaFX was annouced. Some of my notes follow... -- Announcement JavaFX/Mobile This is a complete and fully integrated Java software system for mobile devices. Open standards based Java technologies Supports JavaFX content authoring tools Shows a phone that reminds you of iPhone. No buttons. Phone by Fic. But it is about the software not hardware. Nandini Ramani comes one stage. She is a member of the JavaFX Core team. Shows Nokia N800 that is running JavaFX/Mobile. Stylus based interaction. This platform also supports apps written using JavaFX/Script. -- Announcement from Marco Boerries SVP of Yahoo ! Yahoo Go is attempt to connect more than 500 million mobile users. They are using Java to accomplish this. Demo is Moto based Yahoo interface that is design for a phone footprint. Not trying to fit desktop web pages to a phone. It is a complete phone experience. Second demo is JavaFX/Mobile running Yahoo Go !
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