Monday Aug 10, 2009

Stocking the shelves of the Java Store

In a physical store, the attractiveness of the shelf display masks what is usually a highly complex set of processes by which the products arrive on the shelves. How optimized these processes are can make or break a store.

Peeking into the backend Warehouse of the Java Store, Bernard Traversant walks you through the process by which Java and JavaFX developers can submit their apps. From attaching all sorts of descriptive information about the application that the store will need (like export licenses, platform version) or that the shelf display will need (description of the application, icons, and, ultimately, the price you set) to the requirement of packaging the application as a single JAR (which NetBeans 6.7.1 handily meets) its all covered here.

Wednesday Aug 05, 2009

JavaFX and the summer brain drain

Summer holidays ain't what they used to be, especially when parents start fretting about this kind of thing.

Earlier this summer, the Janitor and some of the JavaFX team got together with some of those smart folks over at FreshBrain to sit down and figure out how JavaFX could add to their online summer technology camp for teenagers.

So its great to see FreshBrain's new course on JavaFX: expect to see a wave of New Moon-themed media players in time for the fall term.

Tuesday Aug 04, 2009

News roundup

As the Janitor works through all the mail that piled up on the doorstep of the Planetarium while he was on vacation, its clear that there's some news to catch up on.

First, JDK 7 reached milestone 4, the major inclusions being the new type annotations in the language, and the backporting into the jdk 7-branch of all the features in the Java SE 6u10+ updates that make it so nifty and browser friendly.

In mobile news, JavaFX dropped an early access release of the version 1.2 SDK for Windows Mobile. You can see Terrence talking all about it here.

Speaking of JavaFX 1.2, NetBeans 6.7 did a mini-update-dotdot release to add in JavaFX 1.2 support, (yay), while slipping in a few bug fixes while they were at it.

And there was news from the multiple languages front: Charlie et al switched over the names on their paychecks while they continue to work on JRuby, and the wildly successful JVM languages summit is happening again this year.

Monday Jul 20, 2009

Java ME: Bluetooth or NFC ?

Most new feature phones now have Bluetooth, and so most support the Java APIs to allow Java (and JavaFX) applications to drive it. And as you can see in this survey of Java ME tools, all the major development tools for Java ME phones support the APIs too. You may also have noticed some rather naughty uses of it too.

When the phone manufacturers finish up the next version of Java ME for feature phones, more of them will support Near Field Communication (NFC).

Leaving applications that need to transfer things like love notes, wedding invitations, baby photos (possibly in that order) a choice of whether to use Bluetooth or NFC to do it.

Check out this article to see the merits of each approach.

Friday Jul 17, 2009

When JavaFX and physics collide

Just some Friday fun.

Phys2D is a Java library that models the mathematics of physical objects. Run this webstart demo to see. Fun, huh ?

Now apply it to shopping, use it from JavaFX, and here's what you get.

Monday Jul 13, 2009

JavaFX Coding Challenge Winners

You don't need to wait for the Java App Store to open its doors layer this summer to see what kind of commercial applications you can use JavaFX to create. Just take a look at the winners of the JavaFX coding challenge.

In first place, Sten Anderson's Music Explorer FX uses the Echo Nest service to power a beautiful, engaging fullscreen application that pulls images, videos, plays music, shows news and reviews, similar artists, and keeps a history or your musical exploration.
Next is Naoaki Suganuma's LifeScope: hooking up to a server hosted on Google's App Engine, this application pulls data from your blog, examines EXIF data from your photo library and the friends Gmail address book to chain together an interactive view of the events and friends so catalogued.
And in third place, Evgeni Sergeev's ShiningEtherFX is an image creation tool specially for making background images for web pages or RIA applications by compositing layers of images created from a color scheme, path curve and profile.

And there were student winners too. Check them out.

Wednesday Jul 08, 2009

Jazoon 2009

While JavaOne is pretty much the focal point for announcing stuff, and is really a consistently well attended conference, for those of you in Europe, two conferences: Devoxx (nee Javapolis) and the 3 year old Jazoon are  becoming must attend events.

James Gosling opened the recent Jazoon conference, and proceeded to meet many of the 1100 attendees. Your humble Janitor also gave a keynote the next morning (slides), attempting to continue a long tradition of reducing the world into pithy top 10 lists: this time covering JDK 7 and JavaFX 1.2.

As usual, there was an immense variety of talks. Most all of which you can get the slides for here.

Monday Jul 06, 2009

JavaFX on Swing, Swing in JavaFX

To a large degree JavaFX is designed with a new generation of developers in mind, those with a little more art than science in their backgrounds. More into shifting shapes on screen than polymorphism in code. And they may well be wearing skinny jeans for the first time, unlike the Janitor who was pioneering them in the 1980s.

But for Swing developers who have art and science in equal measure, JavaFX is a great companion to add to the portfolio.

Original team member Amy Fowler blogged recently about how to use JavaFX to make over an existing Swing application.

And with the latest release of the JFXtras, a handy suite of goodies for JavaFX development, comes the new JavaFX wrapper for Swing components, as you can read all about here.

Thursday Jul 02, 2009

Sampling JavaFX 1.2

One of the best ways to chart the progress of JavaFX these days is simply to go and look at the samples.

The new set of UI controls and layout managers in JavaFX 1.2 are pretty nifty. So its easy now with these new additions to the scenegraph to go from gamesy style (like Brick Breaker, or Pac-Man) to plain fun, like the flickr photo viewer, through drawing centric apps all the way to the more traditional interface, like this project manager, or any hybrid inbetween. With its own skin in CSS.

Getting data into a JavaFX application is easier too: you can easily fetch the data in a background task, as seen in this simple Twitter client, or get it from an RSS or ATOM feed, and no matter where you are (Desktop (Windows, Mac, OpenSolaris or Linux), mobile or TV) you have application data stick around locally between sessions.

And with the new RTSP support for media, smaller application binaries and runtime optimisations, you should notice a jump in speed also.

Tuesday Jun 30, 2009

JavaFX: gr8 2 c on fonz

What with the release of JavaFX 1.2 and JavaFX phones on sale to developers, and on view, for example here and here, the fact that the JavaFX language and common APIs are the same whether you are on the desktop or on a mobile device (or a TV set top box) is worth chatting about.

Of course, there are design considerations when creating applications for the smaller screen. And you need to take some care over input methods (keys, mouse, touchscreen). And of course there are times when you want to write an application that uses a feature that is totally specific to the underlying client device.

Like SMS on a mobile phone. So reading this article should give you a really clear picture of how to take advantage of the underlying messaging capabilities on a Java ME phone, and combine it with the fit and finish of a JavaFX UI layer to make a professional SMS client, with all the visual cues and polish that are both desirable and required now in a phone application. And along the way, put together an on screen keyboard with the minimum of fuss.

Tuesday Jun 16, 2009

JavaFX: Busy Bees

You may have noticed that before JavaOne there wasn't the normal amount of blogging in the Java/JavaFX world. But during and since, its definitely made up for lost ground. Wow.

Like about JavaFX (eyes on the prizes ?). Obviously, there's been a bunch of blogging about the new features in JavaFX 1.2, that was released at the show. Top 5 feature lists, top 10 feature lists, the new layout support, experiences deploying from NetBeans to the new JavaFX 1.2 phones, taking the new charting component out for a spin, and evaluating the new performance improvements. And the series on Pacman in JavaFX is now complete.

Of course the samples gallery got an upgrade too: simply the quickest way to see what JavaFX can do nowadays.

Founding Swing team member Amy Fowler did another awesome blog on how to use JavaFX to give your Swing app a zappier look, and Swing/FX team stars Richard Bair and Jasper Potts have started a new multi-player blog where they've already taking a fascinating deep dive on how to skin JavaFX app. And as Tor so ably demonstrated, the upcoming (end of the year) designer tool is stirring up some interest.

Interest in JavaFX is definitely up since JavaOne !

Wednesday Jun 03, 2009

JavaOne, Day two: Mobility and more !

Is it hump day already ? Day two: all about smaller devices !

More App Stores

The day started out with a keynote by Sony-Ericsson, who, guess what, are opening an app store for Java ME apps ! Together with the previous day's announcement from Verizon opening up their application developer model to Java ME, and of course Sun's new Java Store, the Planetarium's prediction that this is the year of the app store, really is coming true !

JavaFX Mobile 1.2

JavaFX Mobile developers are getting that performance boost as part of the JavaFX 1.2 release (20% in runtime perf, about 1/3 reduction in compiler output). And of course all the other goodies like the cross device UI controls.

Eric showed great new JavaFX apps at the Sun Mobility keynote: ReallyMe for social proximity, and PayPal (pictured) for mobile payments.

JavaFX Mobile Phones

Sony-Ericsson wrote a Twitter client (perhaps not as good as this one) live in their keynote and deployed it to three of their JavaFX phones, including those running WindowsMobile and SymbianOS). Best of all, JavaFX Mobile 1.2 phones are on sale at JavaOne, some even got hurled at the Mobility Keynote.

Java ME

The testing framework Java Verified goes into open source, and plays a central role in the new anti-fragmentation initiative JATAF (behind which Orange and Vodafone threw their support today), Java ME 3.0 SDK running on a MAC is on show at Java Utopia, and the recent PhoneMe milestone 4 release.

And in preview for the end of the year....

JavaFX (running on embedded Java SE on Linux) seen running on a new Qualcomm smartbook, the JavaFX TV platform running on the LG TV.

Tuesday Jun 02, 2009

JavaOne, Day One, News

Halfway through the first day of JavaOne 2009, so much has already happened !

There'll be more about JavaFX and Java ME tomorrow, but here's the announcements about Java SE and JavaFX so far.

The Java Store
What's the thing that will allow Java and JavaFX developers to get their apps out to a massive audience ? You knew it was coming ! The Java Store doing a restricted preview of its late summer grand opening, which means you need to sign up to try it out. The front end is a JavaFX application, the backend, which also includes the Java Warehouse, where developers will submit applications that show up in the store, is a Java EE application running on Glassfish. The first iteration is for desktop applications, with mobile apps coming later.

JavaFX 1.2
Surprise ! There's a new mobile emulator, there's a long list of new cross device GUI components, layouts, support for RSS and ATOM feeds, the startup on the desktop is about 40% quicker. Try out the new samples. And there's preview versions of JavaFX on Solaris, Linux.
JavaFX on TV, as seen on an LG TV set-top box ! A new JavaFX Authoring tool ! Totally new super fast graphics stack for JavaFX. All three by the end of this year.

Java SE
Java SE 6u14 is out with the new 64bit browser plugin, and an evaluation version of the new G1 collector. The preview of JDK 7 is released (based on Milestone 3), and a first sighting of Project Jigsaw, showing the JDK partitioned into a set of small modules: jdk-base, jdk-awt, jdk-swing, jdk-tool etc that can be loaded (quickly!) with minimal dependencies.

Deja vu moment
Rewriting StarOffice in JavaFX ?

Tuesday May 26, 2009

Trending towards JavaOne

The Janitor isn't one to fall prey to the latest trends, but there's one trend that this week will follow: there won't be much news this week about Java SE, Java ME, JavaFX or JavaCard before the start of JavaOne next week.

But if you go by what people are searching for, its easy to see the cyclical nature of the interest in the JavaOne show, where many of the companies involved in Java save up their technology announcements. And you can clearly see the growing interest in JavaFX since May 2007 when it was announced, in JDK 7 since the release of Java SE 6 in December 2006, continued interest in Java TV (stay tuned), and in Java updates. Even Project Vector is showing an interesting recent spike.

And in a trend few would have predicted for JavaOne in 2001, Microsoft will be giving a keynote (about interoperability with .NET).

Thursday May 21, 2009

JavaFX Styling

What with all noise about Project Vector starting to swirl around, its easy to miss some of the JavaFX news that's been going on. Don't expect to hear much from the JavaFX engineers, they're all heads down on JavaFX 1.2 and JavaOne talks.

And there's more in store ;)

But continues to fill up the racks with fresh items on developing in JavaFX. There's new help if your app needs bust-a-moves backward, and help if your app needs a styling refresh. Try some of these off the peg accessories.

And for a more retro look, relive 80s chic in this two part series on writing PacMan in JavaFX, part 1 and part 2.

Some are even using JavaFX to give others some style tips ! Who'd have thought it ?

A blog all about Java in all its flavors on all client platforms from smartcards to desktops and everything inbetween.


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