Tuesday, December 15, was the third Tuesday in December. That means it was time for the monthly gathering of Chicago Java Users Group (JUG) members. Last Tuesday, the spotlight was on Sten Anderson.
Sten is a proud winner of the JavaFX Coding Challenge sponsored by Sun Microsystems, for his Music Explorer FX rich Internet application (RIA). He is a big “Joel on Software” fan. Also, he blogs a lot about JavaFX and Groovy.
What Was Covered
At the CJUG meeting, Sten presented a roundup of the state of JavaFX. After an overview of the underlying paradigm of the new technology, which outpaces Swing in most usage parameters, he then introduced new features like data binding and Scala-like collection traversing and sequences. (BTW, Scala is becoming more and more popular.)
Here is the gist of a statement made by Sten that outlines JavaFX as a pure UI technology: “JavaFX is for moving stuff on screen. If you want to connect to the database, JavaFX is not the thing for that.”
Sten described how JavaFX has a big bunch of controls. All of them are customizable with CSS. (So, old HTML coders can still use their knowledge.) Timelines allow doing animation simultaneously or one-by-one. (Layers are the old Flash approach to the organization of a scene.) He also covered effects like distraction, gradients, and other enhanced vector graphics that make the look-and-feel “glossy” and satisfy the 0.1-second ergonomics rule.
In enterprise applications, the data and business rules usually reside on server. A lot of stuff is already written in Seam and Spring. So, it’s logical to raise the question: How do you perform the conversation with server entry points? After a thorough yet simple explanation of remoting in JavaFX, Sten turned his attention to Exadel Flamingo. He said he preferred this library to connect to the server and invoke Seam and Spring MVC actions.
- A Sidenote: Speaking about tools, every professional should have the best weapon to “shoot the problem down” in order to create something amazing. Along these lines, I’d like to mention JavaFX Studio, the enhanced code assistant for JavaFX script coding in the Eclipse IDE. The syntax highlighting, autocomplete feature, click and navigate (OpenOn), error highlighting, and state-of-the-art drag-and-drop GUI editor make JavaFX Studio very helpful in development and debugging.
The presentation finished with an overview of JavaFX “must have” books (Beginning JavaFX™ Platform and JavaFX in Action) followed by a Q&A. During the Q&A, one of the questions was regarding remote calls, and here Flamingo was brought up once again.
JavaFX is becoming more and more popular in the RIA world. From the technology leadership point of view, it’s evident that Exadel keeps a strong position in JavaFX technology by providing usable tools and solutions.