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My Oracle wishes (1): SwingX

Posted by fabriziogiudici on February 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM PST

With this post, I'm starting a short series of thoughts about what I hope Oracle will do for a set of popular Java APIs, that haven't been dealt in detail in their strategic keynote. Today I start with SwingX.

I think it's really good to see Oracle's commitment with Java on the desktop, a thing that in the past Sun started to do, but near to the beginning of their decline. Now the initiative could have a better success with fresh resources, but there are many things to do. From one side, there's JavaFX that must be pushed and completed with the required missing set of business components, such as advanced tables and trees, as well as the (in)famous JWebKit that has been promised since almost two years, and that nobody has seen so far (BTW it would be really useful in plain Swing too).

Now, I know that JavaFX brings a recurring debate in the Swing community. I don't think there's a lot of competition today between JavaFX and Swing, because even if we assume that JavaFX is a sort of "Swing 2.0" it's clear that we need Swing at least for five years from now, since it's so popular in the industry. I'm not even saying that Swing will disappear after five years - it's just that such a long time period is not worth making any scenario, IMHO - but I could understand that in the not-short-term perspective JavaFX might appear more appealing.

Today, the most interesting things happening in the Swing world are in the SwingX field. Even when Sun stopped financing them, development kept on because it's an enthusiastic community. I think that a good move by Oracle could be sponsoring (= financing) SwingX actively. It would be a nice way to cooperate with the community, and even if Oracle thought JavaFX is more strategic, it would be a smart way to optimize the investment of manpower.

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another topic to invest(?): implement GWT interfaces using Swing

Well, to bring GWT develop community to Swing, it could be interesting too, maybe as a Oracle investment, to implement GWT using Swing ;-)

JWPane is strategic~a root for a Java-based AdobeAIR alternative

I hope Oracle is going to open its eyes, because JWebPane is so strategic...

JWebPane could be the root for a Java-based AdobeAIR alternative, with Java for developping applications/plugins on top of this solution, or (even better ?) with JavaFX as a development solution.

Thanks for all the kind words

Thanks for all the kind words about SwingX :-)

Would love to get some funding again .. not sure, though, how realistic it is to hope for Oracle to step in.





Totaly agree

Java needs Swing. Why? Because Java FX was never ment to replace Swing. Java FX is designed as competitor to Flash and Silverlight, Currently you can not embed Java FX on top of Swing lets say as a panel. Therefore you can not migrate existing code step by step and you are forced to rewrite your whole program if you want to use Java FX for the Presentation layer. This is the biggest fault Sun did. If you could embed it then JFX would have a wide usage immediately. There are other projects that started promising but then were abandond. Java CSS, Beansbinding, Scenegraph, the Timing Framework, JWebpane. All is there nearly finished and then it was discontinued in favor of JFX. Kudos to people like Fabrizio and Kiril and the SwingX developers to jump in and provide forks or replacements for these missing pieces that coordinate the efforts to provide high quality components. I do not count on Oracle to mutch, but it would love it if they commit themselves to Swing. Have fun, - Bernd

SwingX and JavaFX

I think one of the smartest things to do would be to ensure that Swing / SwingX and JavaFX work together...seamlessly. I would love to have a Swing app that can take advantage of the animation and multimedia capabilities of JavaFX. This would further solidify the need for JavaFX as well as provide a breath of fresh air for Swing - hopefully extending the lives of everyone :) In the meantime, thank you, jfxtras.

I agree on the seamless

I agree on the seamless thing, as well as the JMC stuff available in Swing, etc... It's just that I'm restricting myself to a single, well-defined wish per blog post 

Definitely SwingX, JWebPane and improved FileDialog

SwingX is Swing's best project. Swing is here to stay. It so flexible and powerful.

Also I would love to see an improved FileDialog with multiple selection. I currently use SWT File Dialog using the AWT_SWT bridge but that only works properly on Windows and it's a hack.
Where's JWebPane we've been waiting forever.

And yeah

The C++ namespace implementation was designed by Satan himself. Even modern C++ has macros and autogenerated code everywhere.

My point of view

I think Northrop Grumman X-47 uses Swing for the UI layer. Another small shop is CERN. And here is my work - Without JMC in the JRE Swing can't compete with WPF, Qt and AIR. JavaFX will never survive as a Web Start only technology.Most Swing developers can't use JavaFX to replace anything. The alternative is to change platform and programming language.

Also looking at the showcase

Also looking at the showcase for the NetBeans Platform a good bunch of industrial applications running on Swing can be seen.

I agree that SwingX should get some attention from oracle

The thing that I have long thought should be in javax.swing is the SwingX Painters and JXLayer ( I think I read that JXLayer is slated for inclusion for Java 7). These apis are some of the most useful sswing apis I have ever used and can only hope that oracle finds some renewed interest in them. I think that because of sun's stance on SwingX many have forgoten about it or thought it dead, though not me, I use it on a daily basis.