19 September 2010

JavaFX 1.2 Application Development Cookbook Review

I have been offered the opportunity by Packt Publishing to review the JavaFX 1.2 Application Development Cookbook. In this review the book will be reviewed by relevance, content, and presentation. Do note that the ebook version is being used as the basis for the review. You can find out more details about the book on the Packt Publishing website. Listed below are the chapters in the book:

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started With JavaFX
  • Chapter 2: Creating JavaFX Applications
  • Chapter 3: Transformations, Animations, And Effects
  • Chapter 4: Components And Skinning
  • Chapter 5: JavaFX Media
  • Chapter 6: Working With Data
  • Chapter 7: Deployment And Integration
  • Chapter 8: The JavaFX Production Suite


Despite the book being released at a time when JavaFX 1.3 is around much of the book's content is still applicable to the current JavaFX release. Keep in mind that you will need to work out any differences between JavaFX 1.2 and 1.3 in relation to the code samples throughout the book. Also some of the code samples may not run at all in JavaFX 1.3.

Considering that the book is a technical cookbook I was expecting all of the recipes to be tailored towards technical tasks instead of getting started type tasks. There are some recipes in the book which turn it into more of a tutorial/getting started type of book. As a result the book loses a bit of focus on being a true cookbook, which means there are less recipes covering technical tasks that could have been included. A true technical cookbook should not include getting started type recipes.


In the ebook version the book cover is aligned incorrectly and is not ideally suited to the book itself. All titles are pleasant to the eye, and every screenshot clearly shows the final result for each recipe. The formatting styles utilised in the book are consistent although the headings are a bit squashed in the ebook version (not enough white space used before and after each heading).

Good fonts are used for the text and headings which make them very easy to read. All the code samples could do with some basic colour syntax highlighting to make them even easier to read. At least the code is indented correctly and can be easily copied from the ebook to an IDE for developers to try out.


A good title and basic description is provided at the beginning of the book. When it comes to content the book comprehensively covers most topics that you would expect it to cover. However it is surprising to see that there are no recipes covering the parsing of XML and JSON files, and back-end multi-threading for instance. Clearly the content of the book is geared towards beginner to advanced JavaFX developers.

Navigating the book was very easy and anyone can jump to a particular recipe provided they have the required knowledge (as outlined under the recipe's Getting Ready section). This is due to the well thought out structuring of the book. Very good explanations are given for the technical aspects that can be learned while reading the book. Especially in the excellent How it works... sections where it walks you through how something is done in a methodical manner.


Overall I would highly recommend this book for beginner to advanced JavaFX developers as a place to find out how to do specific tasks via the recipes in the book. Beginner developers would benefit from going through some of the basic recipes in order to become familiar with JavaFX, in addition to going through a getting started type book. Advanced developers would benefit from understanding how to do the more advanced recipes, which cover some of the advanced uses of JavaFX.

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