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JavaFX: Developing Rich Internet Applications 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137012879
ISBN-10: 013701287X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Clarke, principal technologist with Sun Microsystems, has spent twelve years developing with the Java platform. He has worked with JavaFX for more than two years and served on the JavaFX compiler team.

Jim Connors, a long-time member of Sun’s system engineering community, has spent a decade helping customers leverage Java technologies ranging from Java Card and Java ME to Java EE and JavaFX.

Eric Bruno, systems engineer at Sun, is author of Java Messaging (Charles River Media, 2005) and Real-Time Java™ Programming (Prentice Hall, 2009) and is currently contributing editor and blogger for Dr. Dobb’s Journal.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Welcome to Rich Internet Application development with JavaFX.

This book is about creating more engaging user applications using special effects and animation. In this book, we will focus on using JavaFX for creating Rich Internet Applications.

Building upon the widely adopted and popular Java Platform, JavaFX provides a new level of abstraction that greatly simplifies graphical user interface development while at the same time bringing all the flexibility that Java technologies provide. This creates an elegant, yet powerful, platform for building full feature and compelling applications.

What Is JavaFX?

JavaFX is actually a family of products developed at Sun Microsystems. There are initiatives for mobile phones, consumer, television, and desktop devices. The cornerstone to these projects is JavaFX. JavaFX is a platform that includes a high performance declarative scripting language for delivering and building a new generation of Rich Internet Applications.

The primary focus of JavaFX is to make graphical user interface development easy while embracing more compelling features like visual effects, sound, and animation. JavaFX includes a ready-made framework to support graphic components and to easily include multimedia features like pictures, video, audio, and animation. Using the Java platform at its core, JavaFX works seamlessly with the Java platform and can easily leverage existing Java code. This also allows JavaFX to leverage the “write once, run anywhere” capability provided with the Java platform.

Why JavaFX?

Anyone who has ever written a graphical user interface application can appreciate the complexity of creating such an application. Though the resulting user interface can produce a powerful user experience, developing a cool application can be a daunting task. It takes a skilled developer who knows the graphical language and framework inside-out to pull off a well-written UI. JavaFX addresses this complexity.

Furthermore, graphic design and programming are two distinct skills. Graphic designers focus on the human interaction with the application, and are more interested in keeping the human’s interest and making the system intuitive. On the other side, the program developers are typically concerned with implementing business logic and interacting with back-end servers. It is a rare breed that masters both of these skills. JavaFX’s goal is to bridge these two crafts by allowing the graphic designer to dabble in an easily understood programming language, while at the same time allowing the developer the flexibility to implement the business rules behind the user interface.

JavaFX does this by

  • Simplifying the programming language
  • Providing ready-built user interface components and frameworks to support UI creations
  • Making it easy to update existing UI applications
  • Providing a cross-platform environment that delivers on “Write Once, Run Anywhere”

Rich Internet Applications

For many years, the programming paradigm has been centered on a client-server architecture employing a “thin” client. In this architecture, most of the processing was in the server with the client merely displaying the content. In a thin client system, data must be transmitted to the server for processing and a response sent back. This is very true of the HTML screens introduced with the original Internet browsers. However, by leveraging compute power on the client side, it is now possible to perform actions on the client, thereby reducing the round-trip latency to the server.

A Rich Internet Application is an application that allows a good portion of the application to execute on the user’s local system. Primarily, the client application is designed to perform those functions that enhance the user’s experience. Furthermore, communications with the server do not have to be initiated from a user action, like clicking on a button. Instead, a server itself can update the client with fresh content asynchronously as needed and without waiting for the end user to perform some action or by employing other tricks in the client like periodically polling the server.

So what is old is new again. In a sense this is true, but this really represents an evolution of the client server paradigm rather than a retrenchment back to the old days of the monolithic program that did everything. The key to a Rich Internet Application is striking the proper balance between behavior that should stay on the client with the behavior that rightfully belongs on the server. JavaFX is a framework that embraces the Rich Internet Application model.

Why This Book?

JavaFX is a new technology and we set out to help you get started quickly by exploring key features of JavaFX and how it should be used. We purposely did not want to do a language reference document as the language itself is fairly simple. Our main goal is to help you to quickly and productively create cool user interfaces.

This book’s primary audience is comprised of developers (of all levels) and graphic designers who need to build Rich Internet Applications. There are different types of developers and designers that this book targets:

  • Java developers who are currently building Rich Internet Applications with Java Swing
  • Java developers who are interested in learning JavaFX for future projects
  • Non-Java application developers who wish to use JavaFX for Rich Internet Application development
  • Graphic designers, animators, or motion-graphic designers who wish to use JavaFX to add special effects, animation, and sound to their creations

How to Use This Book

This book has thirteen chapters. The first four chapters cover the basics of JavaFX, how to get started, what the graphic designer’s role is, and the basic language. The next five chapters cover the advanced features you expect in a Rich Internet Application. These include basic UI design, special effects, animation, multimedia, and browser display. Chapter 10 covers using JavaFX in a Web Services architecture. Chapter 11 describes JavaFX’s interaction with the Java platform and assumes you are knowledgeable about Java. The last two chapters cover JavaFX code recipes and a complete Sudoku application.

Beyond the Written Page - With the expressive platform that JavaFX provides, it is hard to fully demonstrate all its capabilities on the written page. To fully appreciate all the features and capabilities that JavaFX brings, we suggest visiting the book’s Web site http://jfxbook.com. There, you can see the full color versions of the figures used throughout the book. Also at the Web site, you can run the demos in full color and experience firsthand the richness of the animations and multimedia.

We have used a building block approach with basic concepts covered first and more complex features addressed later in the book, so we suggest you read each chapter in sequential order. If you are a graphic designer, you may be more interested in Chapter 2. You can safely start there, then jump back to Chapter 1 to dig deeper into JavaFX. If you are an “über”-coder, you can safely skip Chapter 2, but we still suggest you eventually read it just to know what the “dark” side is doing. Chapter 11 assumes you have a good understanding of the Java platform and APIs. If you do not plan to comingle your Java classes with JavaFX source in your application, you can safely skip this chapter. The last two chapters show some code examples based on the foundations laid down in the earlier chapters.

Here’s the book in a nutshell:

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started. This chapter gets you set up and shows the basics of creating and running a JavaFX program.
  • Chapter 2: JavaFX for the Graphic Designer. This chapter explains how a graphic designer would use JavaFX to create JavaFX Graphical Assets.
  • Chapter 3: JavaFX Primer. This chapter covers the basic JavaFX Script syntax.
  • Chapter 4: Synchronize Data Models—Binding and Triggers. JavaFX Script introduces a data binding feature that greatly simplifies the model-view-controller design pattern. This chapter explains the concepts of data binding in the JavaFX Script language.
  • Chapter 5: Create User Interfaces. The primary focus of JavaFX is to create rich user interfaces. This chapter explores the visual components available to create user interfaces and demonstrates how the features of JavaFX work together to produce a rich user experience.
  • Chapter 6: Apply Special Effects. A key to Rich Internet Applications is applying cool special effects to bring user interfaces alive and make them appealing to use. This chapter explores the special effects that JavaFX provides, including lighting, visual, and reflection effects.
  • Chapter 7: Add Motion with JavaFX Animation. Animation makes the user interface vibrant and interesting. This chapter explains the concepts behind the JavaFX animation framework and provides examples of fade in/out, color animation, and motion. It also demonstrates an animation using Graphical Assets generated by the graphic designer.
  • Chapter 8: Include Multimedia. This chapter ...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013701287X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137012879
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,149,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
JavaFX is a family of products developed at Sun Microsystems. It is a platform that includes a high performance declarative scripting language for building Rich Internet Applications. JavaFX code is much easier to write than straight Java code, yet it integrates easily with Java programs. This book explores the key features of JavaFX and how it should be used. You don't have to be a Java programmer to understand this book, but it helps. The following is an outline of the book's chapters and contents, which does not yet appear to be available via the product description:

Chapter 1. Getting Started - How to write your first JavaFX application using three different methods - via Netbeans, the command line, or Eclipse.
Installing the JavaFX Platform
Setting Up NetBeans IDE for JavaFX 1.2
Command Line

Chapter 2. JavaFX for the Graphic Designer - This talks about the tools that a graphic designer, as opposed to a programmer, will use to produce JavaFX programs. You can skip this if you are a programmer.
Graphic Design and JavaFX
JavaFX Production Suite
Adobe Illustrator CS3
Adobe Photoshop CS3
Scalable Vector Graphics

Chapter 3. JavaFX Primer - Covers key concepts in the JavaFX scripting language. Shows you how to declare a script and instance variables create and modify sequences, and how to control logic flow.
JavaFX Script Basics
JavaFX Script Language
Class Declaration
Mixin Classes
Object Literals
Expressions and Operators

Chapter 4. Synchronize Data Models - Looks at how binding can be used in JavaFX to associate unrelated entities such that changes in one can be seen in the other.
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Format: Paperback
Original review by Pasquale Granato, JUG Lugano [...]

Approaching a book about a brand new technology can be dangerously misleading because you can end up to write about the latter instead to focus on the former. On the other side it's really hard to separate the two things but I swear that I'll do my best.

Let's start talking about the book intended audience. The authors target the book to Java developers and to graphic designers as well. Probably people without a specific programming background will have some serious difficulties to follow many of the topics covered in the book. Speaking as a Java programmer I'd have appreciated more explanations where needed on the differences between Java and JavaFX script.

(Personal annotation. I looked astonished for five minutes at this

var num = if(sizeof args > 0) {
} else {

before be acquainted with it. The JavaFX Script programming language is indeed an expression language, which means that everything, including loops, conditionals and even blocks, are expressions and can return a value.)

The first two chapters of the book are devoted to set up the environments for both the programmers and the graphic designers. In a few pages it really makes clear how to get started using NetBeans or Eclipse (for programmers) and Photoshop or Illustrator (for graphic designers). Just to reassure you: yes, "Hello, world!" is the very first example of the book.

In chapters three and four authors introduce the core of the JavaFX scripting language. Topics like sequences, expressions, binding and triggers are clearly covered with many short examples.

After this boring but necessary stuff the fireworks begin.
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Format: Paperback
Jim Clarke, Jim Connors and Eric Bruno's JAVA FX: DEVELOPING RICH INTERNET APPLICATIONS tells how to build Rich Applications that run on the desktop, the web, or mobile devices alike. Using Java FX, developers and graphic designers will find plenty of enabling methods using the Java programming platform. From building JavaFX programs to adding special effects, motion, and blending in pictures and videos from other applications, this is a fine pick for any Java programmer's collection.
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Just as Java itself went through a large change from 1.0 to 1.1, JavaFX has completely changed how you write the action code for its guis. Because of that, if you are trying to use JavaFX 1.2, this book's code examples are of no use to you. The Stage, Scene, and graph concepts still apply, so it's not completly obsolete. However, like I did, you'll need to pick up another book to get the current code examples.
I ended up purchasing the Pro JavaFX 1.2 book as well.
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This book was written in 2008, and there have been monumental changes in the code style and syntax since then. I would recommend that you find a similar title that is two or less years old, to save a lot of grief in trying to write Rich Internet Applications in JavaFX. I am not criticizing the author or his writing style; it is just out of date.
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