Feeds

Time up for Oracle's HTML5 killer?

Message to Ellison: no more JavaFX reboots

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Time to build

The reboot of JavaFX has produced what might politely be termed a "version 1.0 API". Simple errors are rewarded with quite scary and obtuse exceptions. Seemingly simple tasks (such as finding a component without having to linearly traverse the whole scene) are difficult and require some heavy lifting from the community to plug the gaps left by Oracle.

I'm sure the API will mature and grow over time, but at the moment certain tasks that should be simple turn into a gruelling hunt for examples. It is as if the JavaFX designers have launched into the stratosphere, wanking over how cool all the advanced stuff is, while forgetting to make the simple stuff simple.

TableView's data model is an ObservableList, a new Collections class unique to JavaFX. An ObservableList fires off events any time its elements are added or removed. This allows the TableView to automatically refresh any time the data changes. But does this approach scale?

I set out to write a tester app that would pummel TableView with "live" updates, to see if the UI remains responsive. The use case was to have a table with 10,000 rows and 1000s of real-time updates per second. My first try was deliberately naïve: after populating the table, it then flung a randomly updated row at the table's ObservableList, 1000 times a second. Obviously a real app wouldn't do this. It would pool the updates, throw away the stale deltas, and unleash batched updates at a less frenzied rate.

Nevertheless, the table coped surprisingly well: the UI remained responsive throughout. The same approach with a Swing JTable would have locked up the whole app. It pretty much made my second test obsolete, which was to send batch updates every half-second at the table. TableView's innate ability to cope with high-frequency updates could turn out to be the platform's saving grace, and a reason for companies with low-latency requirements to adopt it.

The word "integration" can be applied only charitably in this case of Swing and JavaFX. Co-existence would be a better description. While a JavaFX Scene Graph can be added into a Swing container, making them play nicely together can get hacky. Both toolkits follow a single-threaded UI model. However, they use different threads for the same purpose: Swing uses Event Despatch Thread (EDT), while JavaFX introduces the User thread. Programmers will end up hopping back and forth between these two threads in a sword-hopping Highland Fling: inevitably there will be some cut feet in any non-trivial applications.

New platforms

The reverse situation, adding Swing components into a Scene Graph, was dropped from this release, although the community is trying hard to produce an interim solution.

It may not sound like it, but I'm rooting for JavaFX: I want it to do well. And I'm sure that over time it'll mature into something wonderful so long as Oracle doesn't drop it as Microsoft and Adobe have dropped Silverlight and Flex/Flash.

But progress is woefully slow. The lack of a GUI editor indicates NetBeans has slipped back to its contented, cud-chewing ways, while Adobe pushes ahead with HTML5-based interaction tools; and Flex, as long as it's with us, has a sublime visual editor - which it's had since 2006. Meanwhile, Flex is already multi-platform and can be deployed on iPhone and Android.

JavaFX needs a strong signal from Oracle that they're going to continue to back it, or make it somehow more relevant to the HTML5 age. Just, please, no more reboots. ®

Matt Stephens is a Java consultant in Central London. He recently launched a travel writing site, founded independent book publisher Fingerpress, and co-authored Design Driven Testing: Test Smarter, Not Harder.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.