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Posted by editor on February 23, 2006 at 6:35 AM PST

Improving the appearance of Java animations

If you're old enough that you remember when the focus of Java was on end-user GUI apps instead of web apps, you might have learned some basic animation techniques like timer-driven repainting and double-buffering from early books like Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days or Graphic Java. Back in the applet days, there were lots of people working to improve the performance of their animations.

The thing is, it's not just about raw frames-per-second performance. Subjective factors come into play, and it's possible for a low-framerate animation to look far better than a high-framerate animation that flickers, tears, or has other obvious visual defects.

Chet Haase introduced some of these concepts in a recent blog, Make Your Animations Less Ch-Ch-Choppy. Today, he delivers the solutions in the Feature Article, Smooth Moves:

Are you interested in doing some animations in your Java applications, but find yourself plagued by results that seem stuttery and choppy? Want to figure out the problems and smooth out those animations to make them better and more seamless in your application? This article examines some of the factors that affect animation smoothness and things that you can do in your code to make your animations look better.

rbair offers a Swing Labs status update in today's Forums. In
Mustang coming soon (and what happened to SwingLabs HQ?), he writes:
"You've noticed, I'm sure, a recent decline in mail traffic from SwingLabs HQ. Lest the 'ole rumor mill get started, I wanted to leave a quick post and let you know where we are at. [...] Mustang freeze is coming up really soon. There's a lot of work to be done and I'll be spending a fair amount of time digging through Windows LAF issues with Josh and Karsten for the next few weeks. This release is a really big deal for us. Mustang may be a bigger deal for Swing than any since 1.2 or 1.4."

desilvam complains about deployment difficulties in
Re: J2RE too big - who is in charge?!:
"I am a shareware developer. I am planning on releasing a new version this year and am bundling it with JRE 1.4.2 instead of 1.3.1. 1.3 just does not cut it anymore (no network browsing in JChooser etc...) With jre 1.4, my installer size on windows has gone up from 10MB to 24 MB!! This is going to kill my business. I have already bought VS2005 and started translating my java programs to C#. Ofcourse, now I have to worry about the size of .NET runtime.."

David Herron pokes a few holes in a typical dynamic language rah-rah piece in today's Weblogs.
In Bendy classes and dynamic programming, he writes:
"Okaaaay... This is another of the articles in the meme that dynamic languages are great, and rigid languages are uncomfortable. I don't know if I got the analogy right this time, let me know please?"

Kirill Grouchnikov blogs about the Substance look-and-feel's Multi-colored buttons
"You take the default Ocean pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the Java2D enhanced pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes."

In Getting to know GroupLayout, part 1, Tomas Pavek writes:
GroupLayout is a new layout manager that was developed as a Swing Labs project in conjunction with Matisse, the new GUI builder in NetBeans 5.0. Though the layout manager was originally designed to suit the GUI builder needs, it is also quite handy for manual coding.

In Also in
Java Today
the SDN article Introduction to the Java EE 5 Platform introduces the most significant changes in Java EE 5, including the elimination of much boilerplate code, the simplified EJB programming model, the Java Persistence API, JavaServer Faces technology, simple and broad web services support, and more.

Not sure what the big deal is about POJO's? In What is POJO Programming?, Christopher Richardson writes "Using POJOs future proofs your application's business logic by decoupling it from volatile, constantly evolving infrastructure frameworks. Upgrading to a new version or switching to a different framework becomes easier and less risky. POJOs also make testing easier, which simplifies and accelerates development. Your business logic will be clearer and simpler because it won't be tangled with the infrastructure code. And, as an added bonus, you can often deploy a POJO application using a simpler, Web container-only application server."

In Projects and
the latest issue of the JavaTools Community Newsletter welcomes a number of projects to the community, celebrates two graduations (Webstarted installer and Dalma) and offers a tip on how to get started with JavaCard and mobiles by way of the SIMagine programming contest.

Next week's Ask the Experts page will feature members of the Java Deployment Team answering questions about Java Plug-In Technology. If you're working on getting your code to run in a browser, Sun staffers Dennis Gu, Danielle Pham, and Mike Lei will be taking your questions all week.

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Improving the appearance of Java animations