Category Archives: desktop GUI

Electron Brings JavaScript to the Desktop

Let’s continue my “Java on the desktop” series with something that’s not Java, but interesting nonetheless. Electron is a framework wrapping your HTML5 application in a native window of your operation system. Other than most projects in the JavaScript universe, Electron does not follow a “mobile first” approach. Quite the contrary, it’s fairly opinionated in that it supports only three platforms: Windows, OSX, and Linux. This includes access to your computers file system and access to the Windows registry via third-party NPM modules. If I’ve got it right, it even allows you to install your application as a Windows service, which is kind of scary. You know, not too long ago every security expert recommended deactivating JavaScript in the browser because of alleged security risks. Obviously, we’ve come a long way.
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How to Wrap BootsFaces (or JSF in General) as a Native Desktop Application

When I showed the draft of my last post (the “Java on the Desktop” survey article), my friends surprised me by saying that nowadays desktop applications are sort of exotic. Everybody’s doing mobile or at least web applications. But the good old desktop has fallen into oblivion. That’s pretty strange, given that most of us do most of their daily work at desktop PCs or decent-sized laptops.
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Java on the Desktop

For some reason, the vast majority of developers has accepted the browser as the operation system for their applications. While there are some good reasons for this, I never really bought into it. HTML5 has eliminated most of the pain point of web applications, but I still insist that most customers don’t really want to use a web application. We’ve taught them to accept to open the browser to do their daily work, but there are still quite a few disadvantages to this approach. The “old stagers” among you know how many obstacles we had to overcome before the browser became a really useful operation system for writing applications. Just for the fun of it, let’s start this article summarizing some of them:

  • How to deal with the “back” and “forward” buttons in a web application?
  • How to print a document from a web application? Most developers export documents to be printed as PDF files, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to print documents without this detour?
  • How to import an Excel file into your application?
  • More generally speaking, web applications run in a sandbox preventing access to low-level resources such as your computer’s file system.

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Which Is the Hottest GUI Framework in the Java World: JSF or JavaFX?

One of these days beyondjava.net’s visitor statistics1 revealed an interesting question: What is the latest Java GUI Framework. Is it JavaFX, or is it JSF?

Actually, both JavaFX and JSF are cutting-edge frameworks. No matter which one you choose, you won’t regret it. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting question: Which framework should I use, and why? I’ll try to answer the question. Along the way I’ll cover a number of other interesting frameworks as well: GWT, Vaadin, AngularJS, Swing and SWT.


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  1. In rare cases search engines transmit the search key words. The internet isn’t the anonymous place it used to be…

JAX Conference 2013 Roundup

During the last years the annual JAX conference served as a good gauge for the trends and hypes of the Java world. This year’s JAX conference felt almost boring by this measure. As far as I can see, most of the conference was about evolution. If there was any revolution I missed it. Maybe it was hiding in the dark, but the conference generally felt a lot like steady but constant progress. Actually, consolidation’s not a bad thing – apart from that it’s boring to write a blog article about it :).

Nonetheless there were a few exciting topics: the renewed GUI battle, the arrival of the mobile platforms as major players in the Java word and the sobering after getting drunk with agile programming. As for languages, Javascript was by far the language most talked about (second to Java, of course). To my disappointment most of the other languages were hardly mentioned.

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JavaFX and GroovyFX: One Program, Two Flavors

Tiles are popular. Picturesque tiles are a part of portuguese and spanish culture since countless1 centuries. Since a couple of years tiles are ubiquitous in our smart phones. My photography site 11pictures.com needed a fresh new design to cope with the always-increasing number of pictures. So what about displaying pictures as colorful azulejos?

To do so, I cobbled together a small JavaFX application. Later I ported it to GroovyFX. Read on to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of either version.
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  1. all right: five centuries, if you must know. 🙂

JavaFX and GroovyFX: Two Frameworks You May Have Missed

Like most Java programmers I’ve gradually become a web developer during the last years. In a way, that’s strange: most projects don’t deal with the internet. It’s a pity, too. Browsers used to be dedicated tool for the internet, so it’s hard to meet the demands of an full-blown desktop application. It’s a real pain to integrate Excel sheets seamlessly into a web applications. So what about desktop GUI frameworks? There’s an interesting Java framework you most probably know by name without ever having looked at: JavaFX. It makes for nice-looking GUIs, and it matches Java 8 pretty good. Combine it with GroovyFX to get GUI classes that strongly resemble JSF files. Without suffering from JSF’s inherent complexity.
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