The Authoring Tool

We lifted the veil on the new designer tool for JavaFX last week at the JavaOne 2009 conference. Here's a screenshot:

The tool made a number of appearances:

  • First in the Tuesday keynote where my boss Nandini showed the basics of the tool.
    starts at 23:08.

  • Then in the mobile keynote where Eric Klein showed the multiscreen support and mobile deployment.
    starts at the beginning.

  • And finally in the Friday keynote where I got to do a longer 10 minute segment on the tool.
    starts at 10:25.

The above video links just point to small chapters of each keynote; for full video replay go to
the keynote replay page.

I've scanned the blogosphere and twitter for comments on the tool and demos and the feedback is very positive.
a particularly detailed blog post with pictures and video snippets detailing the Friday demo.
Now we just need to finish the feature set, fix the bugs and polish everything! It's been a sprint for the whole team to get to this point. But we're not building a demo! We're building a product! So we're not getting much of a rest, it's right back to work to finish this thing!

(Photo by Balz Schreier)

P.S. In case you missed it, Larry Ellison from Oracle went on stage and made several comments regarding JavaFX in case the acquisition should happen - here's one article, there are many others.

P.S.2. We had our fourth annual Java Posse BOF live recording session last week. It was a blast. Dick stayed up editing and releasing
the podcast
the same night. If you're wondering what happened in the middle of the episode, where there's not much audio and a lot of laughing, that's me nearly drowning. I took a big swig of beer just as Joe made a joke; the beer went down the wrong tube, and then I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. My eyes were runny and I had beer all over my face and chest. Pretty embarrassing but reportedly also entertaining for others! Here's a photo from our get-together at a bar afterwards:

(Photo by
Toni Epple)


Congratulation!, hope you'll release it soon

Posted by Vaibhav on June 08, 2009 at 05:30 AM PDT #

Hi Tor, great work on the authoring tool, it's looking great.

This seems like a standalone tool, to be used by designers of JFX applications. I asked this at the Pavillion demo you did last Thursday and mentioned it to a couple of people in the JFX team ... what about a JFX Matisse like builder?

I'm talking about a visual UI designers well integrated with say Netbeans, so that a beginner Java or JFX programmer can quickly layout a simple JFX application just like they can with Mattise today. The tool would be more focused on forms/applications and maybe have a subset of the features you are showing here.

Of course other features like supporting visual composition using layouts would be needed.

As it stands today, you want to do a quick hello world with a couple of buttons in JFX and you can't really do that visually from Netbeans. That seems like a step back. I hope somebody is giving this some thought, maybe a subset of the work you guys are doing here can be ported back to a Netbeans plugin.

Posted by Augusto on June 08, 2009 at 11:35 AM PDT #

Really good meeting you in person finally - hope we can do this again at Devoxx - if our schedules permit..

Posted by Sven Reimers on June 08, 2009 at 12:59 PM PDT #

Hi Tor, you guys are great! authoring tool is totally awesome, i hope we have final release before fall season

by the way, as Augusto said, we really need a matisse-like builder for NB JFX plugin, hope 6.7 release comes with an updated JFX plugin.
otherwise, handling large javafx projects will be a pain

Posted by pdeborg on June 08, 2009 at 05:45 PM PDT #

So, when can the rest of the world try it? I really liked the Java One demos :) I always though Nandini was a pretty bad presenter but she actually made me laugh very much by doing her pre-announcement of the Java App Store. So she did a good job entertaining the audience for sure :)

Posted by Roman Strobl on June 09, 2009 at 06:29 AM PDT #

The completely obvious questions that don't seem to be answered are these:

1. where is this tool?
2. Will it be a part or plugin of NetBeans?
3. Is it a standalone application?

Posted by John O'Conner on June 10, 2009 at 03:09 AM PDT #

Thanks for all your comments!

Augusto and pdeborg, I agree - we totally need Matisse for FX.

Roman - the current plan is to release it at the end of this year.

John - the tool is not yet available to the public. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the screen projection for the first minute or so of Nandini's demo where she shows one key aspect of this tool which answers your questions 2 and 3 (though you can see this briefly in Eric's demo): Cloud integration. This tool lives in the cloud; you access it from the web. It's sort of like "Google Docs" but for Graphics, although unlike Google Docs this isn't confined to the browser - it's launched as a webstart app so it will run locally but push data etc. back to the cloud, and will also run locally/offline.

Posted by Tor Norbye on June 10, 2009 at 09:06 AM PDT #

What a relief when I saw the demo ! Please don't include any tool to draw circles or squares. Keep the Flash Catalyst orientation...but in the cloud.
This stuff is the best thing that came out of this JavaFX adventure (with so many bad news for Java itself).

Posted by Olivier Allouch on June 11, 2009 at 06:50 PM PDT #

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Tor Norbye


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