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June 5, 2009,
Volume 136, Issue 1

JavaFX - delivering richer application experiences

JavaFX was released this past December. Since that time, many interesting applications have been developed. Ed Ort, Sun Developer Network staff writer, takes a look at some of these applications and shares some of the techniques and valuable experiences a few authors have learned in using the JavaFX platform.


TwitterFX is a JavaFX-based Twitter client and open-source project led by IT Architect Steven Herod. Although TwitterFX is currently under development, its interim builds demonstrate a nice user interface (UI) and set of features, Ort writes.

Some of the features that TwitterFX offers include viewing public and friend's time lines; mark and display favorites; follow and not follow users (even viewing who is following you); mark and filter tweets; spoiler blocking so words deemed unacceptable are not seen; tweet delete; and get user information like name, location, biography, and web site, as well as tweet statistics (number of people who are following a user and access a Google map of the person's location).

"TwitterFX uses Twitter's REST API to produce or consume Twitter messages and access other aspects of the Twitter service. The application makes these calls in the TwitterAPI class. You can find the TwitterAPI class in the twitterfx\twitter directory of the TwitterFX source code," explains Ort, who also provides an example as well as more code exploration.


Mauricio Aguilar is the project owner of memefx whose objective is to provide rich components for the JavaFX platform. The open-source memefx project assists in finding components for various types of gauges and control knobs. It also boasts a stage controller component that can be used to attach some automatic behaviors to a stage (top-level container or window) for a JavaFX application. "You can use the stage controller to make the window stick to the edges of the screen -- the window returns to the edge if moved. Or you can set the window to the maximum screen width or height, or even animate the window," the article states.

The motivation for the project was "to do useful things while learning JavaFX, and at the same time show other developers how easy it is to do useful and cool things with JavaFX. In other words, I wanted to show others that JavaFX not only has potential but is already a powerful tool," Aguilar said.

A component of memefx is ImagesAccordion, which allows the opening of images in an accordion style from a visual menu. The code in an ImageAccordion demonstration application that is part of the project is provided for a behind the scenes look.


WidgetFX is an open-source platform that makes it easy to create JavaFX widgets and run them on the desktop. The platform, which is being developed in the widgetfx project, was initially released in January 2009 and now is at the version 1.1 level. The lead developer on the project is Stephen Chin, a senior manager at Inovis, a provider of solutions for business community management.

The project's aim was to develop an open-source, cross-platform desktop widget framework for enterprise Java developers. Chin noted that although other frameworks are available for consumer desktop widgets, "the majority of them are tied to JavaScript and HTML, which means they lack full desktop integration support and have significant security issues. This, along with very restrictive licensing, prevents them from being adopted within large enterprises, which limits their commercial use."

WidgetFX, on the other hand, runs on all major platforms including Windows XP/Vista, Linux, and Mac OS X, and has a robust security model that leverages the secure sandbox of the Java platform. WidgetFX also provides a very rich library of visual, animation, and media capabilities, Chin commented.

WidgetFX 1.1.1 SDK includes a JAR file that provides the WidgetFX classes, Javadoc documentation for the WidgetFX 1.1 API, and sample code. The SDK also includes a JAR file that provides utility classes created in the JFXtras project, which is another JavaFX-related open-source project led by Chin. The objective of the JFXtras project is to build utilities and other add-ons to the JavaFX platform.

The WidgetFX 1.1.1 SDK sample code is a NetBeans project for a calendar widget and is revealed and discussed in the Ort piece.

More Information





JavaFX App-O-Rama: Applications From the Community by Ed Ort

Other places to find cool JavaFX applications, sample programs, and demonstrations:

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