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WidgetFX: Glossitope reinvented

Posted by joshy on July 29, 2008 at 4:38 PM PDT

I always hate it when I get so busy that I can't finish an open source project I started. On the other hand, I absolutely love it when someone likes an idea I came up with but feels they can do it better, and then does. Case in point: AB5k aka Glossitope aka a new widget system for Java. I started this about two years ago, showing it off at JavaOne 2007. Alas, it ran into technical difficulties right at the time I started working on JavaFX, sucking away all of my time. Thus, the project is dead and the domain turned to dust. Or has it .... ?

Earlier this year Stephen Chin emailed me about the AB5k code base, asking if the project was still going. I said no, but that the code was still available for anyone to pick up if they so chose. I also recommend using JavaFX instead of straight Java, since JavaFX has already solved a lot of the problems I was struggling with (like transparent windows and virtualizing components). Thus, Stephen started a new project: WidgetFX: The JavaFX Desktop Widget Platform.

The project is still in its infancy, but being built on JavaFX it looks pretty good right out of the gate. It has transparency, a dock, and draggable widgets from day one, something which originally took me a month to do. Stephen and the crew are working very hard, with many new features yet to come. They could definitely use your feedback so please go try the latest JNLP build here, and the join the project and mailing lists. There's even a new Hacker Getting Started guide.

It's fun to see people doing such interesting things with JavaFX.


screenshot of latest WidgetFX build

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It is great to hear all the positive feedback on the project! I've pushed a new version out to the website (same link) that includes some late breaking support for persistent configuration. Right click on any widget (except the clock) to get a settings dialog. Once you click save it will remember your preferences between launches. For anyone curious about the API, I posted some details on the dev mailing list (think IoC in JavaFX). Stephen Chin

Wow, that is great! I cannot wait to get some time to spend with JavaFX...looks great! Good work!

coffeejolts: I wish I could take the credit, but this is all thanks to Stephen Chin, I'm just an advisor. JavaFX core is taking all my time these days. Speaking of which, stay tuned.

Josh- that is really, really slick! As the previous person mentioned, it would be extremely cool to be able to drag widgets (running as applets) from a widget gallery page right onto the widget dock and have them automatically installed and ready to use. VERY nice work, man! I don't know how you find the time!

it is fast, it looks good and has also a good name (I feared something like "incredible rectangle FX 2.0" ;-)) keep up the good work! A killer feature would be to drop draggable applets from your browser into WidgetFX but Webstart is not open source..., right?

Now *that's* cool! Congrats Josh and Stephen! Jim Weaver

it will be very nice if someone port article how to create a javaFX widget that can be dragged and dropped or plugged in WidgetFX . Because on wiki of widgetsFX there is only HOWTO install java 6 update 10 and JavaFX script plugin for netbeans ide.

nice to see ab5k/glossitope revive, I might consider porting my desklets (good way to learn javaFX)