15 September 2010

JavaFX Improvements

Plenty of improvements have occurred since JavaFX 1.3 was released. It is interesting to see where the majority of improvements have occurred as well as where we might see other ones in the future. I can only speculate at this point as to what improvements might appear in JavaFX 1.4 (Presidio). Here are some of the improvements that have occurred since JavaFX 1.3:

  • Faster cold and warm startup of JavaFX applications
  • Default splash screen for JavaFX applications which includes a built-in progress bar
  • Custom splash screen support for JavaFX applications
  • Basic custom node/control support in JavaFX Composer
  • Easier debugging of JavaFX applications
  • A new set of data orientated JavaFX controls in JavaFX Composer
  • Fragment design support in JavaFX Composer
  • New Grid template in JavaFX Composer
  • New CSS reference
  • Updated JavaFX API documentation

As for what the main theme might be for the next JavaFX release I am guessing that it will be on “going back to basics”. With the basics this would include expanding JavaFX Script to include additional basic types, basic low level graphics access at the pixel level, date/time APIs, additional controls, basic front/back end multi-threading system, basic 3D support, and an expanded event handling system. The majority of this would heavily rely on Prism being stabilised and becoming the standard JavaFX rendering system for the next release. Below is a list of what is currently being considered for inclusion in JavaFX 1.4:

  • Stroke positioning
  • Text Editor control
  • Split View control
  • Map data type for JavaFX Script?
  • Open URL in web browser
  • Flexible/common method to specify resources
  • Theme support
  • Table View control
  • Basic built-in multi-threading system?
  • Z depth sorting (buffering)
  • Full 3D transforms for 2D objects
  • Multi directional text
  • Customisable dialogs (eg for Alert)
  • Palette control (part of foundation for IDE type applications)
  • Support for dialog boxes (create your own)
  • Spinner control
  • Fill and stroke transition
  • Stage level events
  • HTML support for text (HTML control?)
  • Support for 3D bounds

Not surprisingly new controls are in the list, including some long awaited ones. However there doesn't appear to be any mention on 3D primitives (essential to proper 3D support), or on APIs for accessing graphics on a low level which is increasingly becoming a major issue. Considering how many improvements depend on Prism being stabilised and becoming the standard rendering system, there is a bit of urgency with getting Prism ready in time. According to Oracle's 90 day release policy for JavaFX a new release is due. What will be seen in the next JavaFX release?

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