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How to Say "Happy Holidays" in 3000 Bytes or Less

Posted by editor on December 30, 2009 at 10:35 AM PST

Today's lead Java Today item is Jeff Friesen's "Happy Holidays" post, in which he describes the code behind his JFXStudio Holiday Challenge winning JavaFX application. The application was created with JavaFX 1.2 (via NetBeans IDE 6.5.1) on top of Java SE 6u16.

Here's Jeff's description of his app:

Happy Holidays presents a scene where snowflakes fall into a snowbank while "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" (the classic 1945 Christmas song by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne) plays. When the music ends, Figure 1's logo fades into view.

And here's the application itself:

HappyHolidaysScreenSnapz001.png
Happy Holidays [click to run]

Note that if you are on a Linux system, the app may not run. It loads, but then hangs on my Gentoo and Ubuntu Linux systems after I "Click to start." On my Mac and Windows machines it works fine.

JFXStudio Challenge contests impose a limit of 30 lines of JavaFX code and 3000 total characters. Jeff met this challenge by submitting a Main.fx consisting of a single 2996-character line, with variable names shortened to the point where their meaning would be unclear to all but the original developer. In his post, however, Jeff presents the original code, with standardized formatting and meaningful variable names. The original code is also divided into two files, Main.fx and Snowflake.fx.

The code includes some structures that reflect Jeff's original more ambitious plans for the application -- plans which subsequently had to be abandoned to meet the 3000-character Challenge limit. For example:

Perhaps you're curious about the color: Color.WHITE
assignment -- aren't snowflakes always white? Although they're
always white in this version of the program, I initially planned
to color snowflakes white and various shades of gray to make the
snowfall more realistic. Specifically, I planned to render larger (closer) snowflakes in
front of smaller (more distant) snowflakes, and color smaller
snowflakes in darker shades of gray (based on radius).

While the moving snowflakes are what stands out as you watch the app run, making that happen doesn't really occupy that much code. Really, much of the code in Main.fx involves creating the scene and managing the progression of the app from start to finish. For example, there is code for start-up (the animation doesn't begin until the user clicks the background image), and post-animation code (after the music stops, a "Happy Holidays" logo fades into view). Snowflake.fx manages the creation of the snowflakes, each of which consists of six branches, each with sub-branches.

Jeff closes by providing the downloadable code and challenging us to take the app further:

Now that you've explored Happy Holidays, you might want to improve this application by adding a more realistic snowfall (as discussed earlier), displaying a glowing moon in front of the background, scrolling the song's lyrics across the screen while it plays, and so on. Have fun!


In Java Today, Jeff Friesen documents the inner workings of his JFXStudio Holiday Challenge winning JavaFX application in his latest post, Happy Holidays:

Earlier this month I entered the JFXStudio Holiday Challenge with "Happy Holidays" as my submission. Figure 1 reveals this JavaFX application's scene. Happy Holidays presents a scene where snowflakes fall into a snowbank while "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" (the classic 1945 Christmas song by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne) plays. When the music ends, Figure 1's logo fades into view...

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Our current Spotlight is the Annual Developer Quiz put together by Janice Heiss: "For this quiz, SDN staff author Janice J. Heiss surveyed past interviews with leading Java developers in search of questions that might challenge, inform, entertain, amuse, and provoke you. The questions aspire to reflect both the intellectual curiosity and spirit of fun to be found in the Java community. We hope you enjoy taking this quiz... Test your knowledge of Java technology and computing..."


Our current java.net Poll asks "What was the most significant Java/JVM news/event in 2009?" Voting will run through Thursday or Friday (depending on where you live).


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The latest Java Mobility Podcast is Java Mobile Podcast 92: MIDP 3.0 in Depth: Tutorials and Demonstrations: Excerpts from the JavaOne 2009 MIDP 3.0 In Depth: Tutorials and Demonstrations session with Roger Riggs, Lakshmi Dontamsetti and Stan Kao.


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