Java FX Composer Preview2

Another milestone of the JavaFX Composer was released just a few hours ago. Get it from the NetBeans Update Center. It works with NetBeans 6.8 Patch1 (do not try it with development build or milestone1 of NB 6.9, please). I'll summarize new features briefly because the wiki pages about the new features is very descriptive and updated.

New and noteworthy:
  • Shapes - you can now add the shapes into your design. Most of the JavaFX 1.2.3 are available (what's missing?). Anyway, don't miss the CTRL+move feature.
  • Animation on States - specify default "interpolar" and "duration" for all animations in a state. It's very easy - look at the tutorial ;)
  • Data Support improved - read AND write. XML, JSON, JDBC, GET or POST. You should try it. Look at demos...
  • JavaFX Effects - with all effects available in JavaFX 1.2.3 SDK, no comment.
  • Colors - now in palette. And in customizer.
  • Templates - the "Exclusively Visible" template has new options. Find out which
  • Charts - experimental for now. However they work. It's a bit complicated for first time however you'll get used to it - look at the tutorial. IMO, we have to create a demo for next Milestone.
  • Samples - a few new ones and improved old ones. Check them online Google Image Search, Twitter Client, Magic Label II



Comments:

I had a look at Preview 2 of the JavaFX Composer as I did when Preview 1 was released.

I am impressed that a lot of new features have been added to the palette and it is certainly a big improvement, but I am a bit concerned that maybe attention is being given to the wrong things.

What I and I guess most developers want from a visual designer is the ability to drag visual components from the palette and neatly place and resize them on screen.

The Netbeans GUI builder (Matisse) really excels at this, with its component placement and resizing that has proper guidelines that can easily be snapped to. The Netbeans visual Web Pack (VWP) was usable, but not nearly as good as Matisse in this regard. I think the JavaFx composer needs some serious attention in this regard.

Maybe I am missing something, but currently I just don't get the same warm feeling when using this tool that I get when using Matisse.

I don't mean to be too critical, but I believe that a very user friendly and usable visual gui builder is neccesary if JavaFX is going to compete with products such as Flex.

Posted by gadnex on February 16, 2010 at 02:05 AM CET #

I thought about it a bit more and maybe I should clarify my statement above a bit more.

One very impressive demo of the Matisse gui builder has always been the Contact Editor demo that can be found here:
http://netbeans.org/kb/docs/java/quickstart-gui.html

What I would really like to see is a similar demo using the JavaFX Composer.

Posted by gadnex on February 16, 2010 at 02:13 AM CET #

@gadnex: You are completely right. We rely on the JavaFX platform to provide good layouts and it is still limited in 1.2. We prefer to work with the platform team rather than creating our own components or layouts so you will see improvements when next version of JavaFX is available.

Posted by mryzl on February 16, 2010 at 05:49 AM CET #

Thanks mryzl

I didn't realise this had anything to do with the JavaFX platform (SDK).

I will then look forward to JavaFX 1.3 when it is released.

Posted by gadnex on February 16, 2010 at 08:05 AM CET #

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