Next JVx and VisionX release?

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Both products are code complete and JVx passed all tests. We're in the test phase with VisionX and do some smaller fixes, but it looks very stable.

We set the official release of VisionX 2.2 to August, 17th. We will release JVx 2.3 during the coming week (~ August, 7th).

VisionX 2.2 will come with some great new features like Java 8 + Multi-IDE support and our new MorphPanel.

MorphPanel?

It's a new UI component. You can use it to visualize a table of records (grid) and show record details as form in a tab area, as split panel, a popup or as replacement of your grid (= web mode).

It's soo useful. Usually you would create two or more screens for the same use-case but one screen with one MorphPanel is enough with VisionX 2.2.

A simple use-case: You have one master-data screen and want to show an edit screen for the records on double click or button click. You need one screen for showing master-data and another screen for the edit form. The master screen opens the edit screen with an additional parameter, to show the correct record in the edit screen... (boring).

Simply add a MorphPanel to your master-data screen, set Popup mode, design the popup and you're done. This is great for desktop applications and awesome for web applications!

Details and screenshots will follow!

Interested?

Get ready for VisionX 2.2.

SourceForge outage and JVx

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You know that we use SourceForge (SVN services) for our open source projects like JVx, Vaadin UI, JavaFX UI, Online Help and some others.

The whole platform had big problems and so we couldn't use our repositories as usual. It wasn't a real problem for us because we had backups and our local repositories were up-to-date, but it wasn't possible to build snapshots or create nightly builds.
Our build infrastructure is directly connected to our SVN repositories and so we had no chance to build our projects.

Since yesterday, all our repositories are online. We made some tests and everything was fine. We lost one full day (July, 17th) because SourceForge stopped working at July, 17th and backups were from July, 16th. But also not a problem because we had local copies.

We did some migration checkins and now, everything is online. Our SF repositories are up-to-date.
Our "nightly build" was started some minutes ago and everything was finished without problems.

So, we're back in the game.
(A big "Thank you" to all SF operators for their support, daily reports and countless hours of restoration)

Future?

We got some questions during last days and most of you asked us if it wouldn't be better to leave SF and use GitHub instead. We don't think this makes sense because such problems can happen with all providers - sure, they should never happen.

The migration effort from SF to GitHub is high and we don't have visible benefits. We know that git has some advantages compared to SVN but we don't need more than Source Code versioning and the checkin history. It's that simple. SF services aren't as fancy as GitHub services and the repository access via browser is better with GitHub, but this wasn't important for our decision.

It was important for us to use a big OpenSource provider and SF is a dinosaur in this area. We don't plan to leave SF but it's not impossible, e.g. if the environment changes.

EPlug 1.2.0

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Great news for everyone who uses, or plans to use our Eclipse plugin called EPlug, a new version  is available! Version 1.2.0 brings a whole truckload of new features and bug fixes.

Changes (Pro and VisionX)

  • Completion for resources is now more reliable
  • Sped up the time it takes for VisionX to reload a file if a change was made in Eclipse
  • MetaData changes are now properly handled
  • When selecting from VisionX to Eclipse it will be made sure that the server and client class both show up
  • Added the "Checkl File (EPlug)" command, which allows to easily re-run all checks on the current file
  • The hyperlinks for server calls/actions are now "fuzzy", which means that if there is no function with that signature, the next best function will be the target
  • Improved the error messages if there was a problem when checking databooks
  • Added completion for generic resources, which means you now can get completion for any resource in your project
  • The call to UIImage.getImage(String) is now checked at compile time if the resource exists
  • By default, databooks are now checked while you're typing for instant feedback. This can be disabled in the project properties
  • Added a view that displays all databooks in the current file, including column name and type
  • Added support for the constructor of UIEditor
  • Dramatically increased the speed of compile time checks

Eclipse Mars

Also we have tested and developed EPlug with Eclipse Mars, which means that you can use it in the latest and greatest Eclipse release version. Of course we haven't dropped support for older versions, EPlug should continue to work even on Eclipse Juno.

Download

You can install EPlug directly from the Eclipse Marketplace.

EPlug - The Big Guided Tour

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Since last year we are offering an Eclipse Plugin that integrates  the JVx workflow into Eclipse. Now that EPlug 1.2 has been released, we believe it's long overdue to give you a guided tour of the experience that EPlug is offering.

Trial

We offer a free trial period so that you can test EPlug without any problems. The first time you start Eclipse with EPlug you will be asked if you'd like to only test EPlug, or if you'd like to select an already purchased Pro license.

Showing the EPlug license welcome screen.

When clicking the Trial button, a new trial license will be issued and you'll be able to evaluate EPlug with all features for 30 days.

Showing the trial window.

'First Run' Wizard

One of the biggest usability improvements compared to previous versions is discoverability of how to use and activate EPlug. With the new version we have added a "First Run Wizard" which allows to directly activate EPlug on selected projects.

First Run Wizard

Usage

EPlug integrates seamlessly into Eclipse, but to use most of its features it has to be activated on each project you want to use it with. This can be done in the previously shown First Run Wizard, or by right-clicking a project and selecting "Activate EPlug" under "Configure".

Showing how to activate EPlug.

From there on you will be able to use code completion, compile time checks and all the other features on this project.

Better and extended commands

A handful of commands are added by EPlug, which make it faster to navigate in JVx projects.

Go to complement class

It's often the case that you want to go from the server to the client class, or from the client to the server class. Most of the time in Eclipse this involves expanding trees and looking for the correct class in the Package Explorer. That is why we've implement the command "Go to complement class", which enables you to quickly jump from the server to client, or the other way round.

The context menu of Eclipse showing the "Go to complement class".

As you can see the command is available from the context menu, but you can also bind it to a key in the "Keys" preferences.

Showing the motion of the command.

Open Declaration

The "Open Declaration" command, sometimes known by its key binding "F3", allows you to jump to the declaration of whatever is currently under the cursor. We've extended this command with the possibility to jump to the declaration of event handlers (actions), server methods and storage's. If the item underneath the cursor is not handled by our extension, the default "Open Declaration" command will be invoked.

The context menu of Eclipse showing the "Open Declaration (EPlug)" command.

The declaration:

Showing the target of the command.

Because we've extended the "Open Declaration" command, you can bind the "Open Declaration (EPlug)" command also to "F3" and enjoy faster navigating in your JVx files without any downsides.

DataBooks

The biggest and most important feature of EPlug is its support for data books. EPlug offers code completion, compile time checks and more for column names on remote and local data books.

Code completion

Everytime you want to get or set a value, or wire up an editor you will receive code completion suggestions with all column names that are in the databook, it doesn't matter if those are remote or added locally.

Showing the code completion of columns.

Compile time checks

Of course we also added compile time checks, which means that you can never mistype a column name ever again.

Showing the compile time checks of column names.

With the newest version, these compile time checks are even active while you type!

Text hovers

When hovering above a column name, a simple text hover will inform you about the type of the column.

Showing the text hovers of columns.

Storage support

RemoteDataBooks require to have the correct name set so that the server side storage is found, of course we do also offer code completion, compile time checks, text hovers and hyperlinks for this.

Showing the code completion for storages.

Showing the compile time checks of storages.

The DataBook View

And last but for sure not least, with the newest version a feature has been added which I've been looking forward to for quite some time: The DataBook View. A view similar to the Outline view, which displays all databooks in the current file and all of its columns.

Showing the DataBookView.

Actions/Events and server calls

Support for actions, events and server calls is the second big EPlug feature. For events and actions we support a very Lambda-like system that uses reflection and strings. Obviously the compiler was never able to understand this system and provide feedback or support for it, but with EPlug this has changed.

Code Completion

Whenever you want to wire up an event, you'll now receive code completion for all fitting methods in the used class.

Action methods:

Showing the code completion for events.

Remote calls:

Showing the code completion for server calls.

As you can see in upper image, we also provide a fast and convenient way to create methods if necessary.

Compile time checks

During compilation the actions, events and server calls are checked for their correctness, and if there is a problem it'll be reported to you.

Showing the compile time checks of actions.

You can also see the quick fixes for this problem, which do not only offer to create the missing method, but also suggesting methods with similar names in case a typo happened.

Text hovers, hyperlinks and refactoring support

Additionally EPlug provides text hover and hyperlink support, that means that you can now jump to the methods by using your mouse (Ctrl+Left Click) or the "Open Declaration (EPlug)" command. Refactoring support has also been added, which means that you can now rename action/event handlers without having to manually search for all uses and change those.

Resources

Dealing with resources can often be a pain in the neck, especially if you constantly have to look up the path and check if you're now using the correct image. Because we also felt these pains, we've added functionality to EPlug to make sure that working with resources becomes easy and painless.

Support for UIImage

Whenever you use UIImage methods, you can now enjoy code completion, previews of the images and compile time checks.

Showing the code completion for UIImage.

Preview:

Showing the preview of images in UIImage.

Compile checks:

Compile time checks of resources.

Generic resource completion

For all other resources, we do only offer a "generic" code completion system and no preview. Still, this is a huge help.

Showing the code completion for other resources.

Comments

One of the more simple and not so obvious features of EPlug is that it allows to have code completion of the current class in comments, and also provides the JVx category separators.

Showing the code completion for comments.

Separator:

Showing the code completion for comments.

Action/call completion in comments:

Showing the code completion for comments.

VisionX support

Now we've arrive at the big final, support for VisionX. For all of you who do not know VisionX, it is our product for rapidly building applications from scratch or migrating already existing systems. It allows to build GUIs and the respective database backend within a matter of minutes. Even though VisionX allows you to build whole applications, from time to time you'll want to do something by hand and this is the great thing about VisionX, all projects and applications are automatically and by design already Eclipse projects. So all you need to do is import the project into Eclipse and start working on it. To improve this workflow further EPlug does offer various features.

Selection synchronization

The selection in Eclipse and VisionX can be automatically synchronized, so that whatever you're working on in the one application is also visible and selected in the other

Showing the selection between VisionX and Eclipse.

Automatic applying of changes

VisionX will also automatically refresh its current view if you change a sourcefile in Eclipse, allowing to rapidly and verify changes in a workscreen without the need to manually reload the workscreen.

How and where to get it?

EPlug comes in two flavors, EPlug for JVx and EPlug for VisionX, both are available from the Eclipse Marketplace and can be installed and used freely for 30 days. Afterwards a license is necessary to keep using all features.

JavaFXPorts with iOS

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I wrote a blog post about JavaFXPorts and Android some weeks ago.

At last Eclipse DemoCamp in Vienna, Tom Schindl asked me about the startup performance on iOS, because his experience with startup performance was horrible with early RoboVM versions. I had no answer because we didn't test our app with iOS and... the question didn't get ouf of my head. Sure, I knew that RoboVM was tuned in last two versions but didn't test it myself.

So, yesterday I had the time to test it out and... Startup and overall performance was same as on Android device!
The iOS device was an iPad Air2 and Android device was Nexus9. The performance may be worse on older devices.
Performance? Application start was finished after touch event (< 1 sec).

My test wasn't as simple as expected because RoboVM has some specifics and iOS needs code signing in order to run an app on real hardware. Also my JVx library (jvx.jar) wasn't usable because it contained SwingUI and one class of it was accessing a member of a parent class:

public class JVxCalendarPane extends JPanel
{
   
    ...
   
    public void addActionListener(ActionListener pActionListener)
    {
        listenerList.add(ActionListener.class, pActionListener);
    }
}

The listenerList is a member of JComponent:

protected EventListenerList listenerList = new EventListenerList();

But the member is not available in RoboVM' phantom class. The solution was easy: Removing SwingUI from jar.
A nice feature for RoboVM would be an ignore list of classes/packages.

Here's a picture of our DemoERP application on iOS:

DemoERP on iOS tablet

DemoERP on iOS tablet

It's working :) but still, a Desktop application 1:1 on a tablet isn't the best idea, e.g. the device type (iPad) or WLAN icon is over the application menu. The iOS port has some problems with TextFields, but we'll report an issue.

Thanks to JavaFXports the creation and deployment of our JavaFX app was super easy!

JVx 2.3 code complete

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Our next JVx release is code complete (but not yet released). It was planned as smaller bugfix release but we have some cool new features, because it's sunny and warm outside :)

What's new?

  • Connection Pooling support

    This is an awesome feature for JVx - not rocket science but was missing!

  • File download via REST

    We did update RESTlet to 2.3.2 and recognized IFileHandle as transfer object. Simply call your action and return an IFileHandle and your REST client will receive the content.

  • CORS support for REST

    Just sayin'

  • WildFly deployment support

    ...Virtual Filesystem if "exploded" wasn't enabled

  • tnsnames file support for Oracle
  • Server-side call events

    It's a great feature but not for everyone of interest

We'll do some tests during the next week but it looks very stable right now.

The complete list of changes.

OpenShift Deployment

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OpenShift is a PaaS product from Red Hat.
Read further details at Wikipedia or the product site.

It's of interest to us because it's easy to use, supports deployment of pre-created war files and it offers an application server (e.g. Tomcat, JBoss) and a database (MySQL, PostgreSQL) for your applications. OpenShift also has Vert.x as runtime platform if you won't use an application server. The configuration is super easy and your server is ready in around 5 minutes.

The access to your server is protected and you should use a specific client tool from RedHat for advanced configuration or an SSH client like putty.

The PaaS service is so nice because it's the perfect deployment platform for JVx applications. There's a free service for simple tests and maybe smaller applications because there are some limits for memory usage, CPU, and number of applications.

We made some tests with OpenShift and the result was as expected: Our applications did work without problems. Sure, the whole deployment procedure could be more end-user friendly but it wasn't designed for end-users without technical know-how, I guess. It's good enough for software developers or admins.

Our test

We created a new JVx application with VisionX (because it creates the database, has a GUI builder and creates the war file for us) and the application should run with VaadinUI on OpenShift. We didn't have any experience with OpenShift, but with other PaaS products, e.g. Heroku, Cloudbees, Jelastic, AWS.

First steps:

  1. Registering an account (what else :) )
  2. Creating a first application
  3. Cartridge: Tomcat 7 (JBoss EWS 2.0)
  4. Setting application name and domain
  5. Adding MySQL 5.5 cartridge

Above steps were enough to run our OpenShift service(s).

Next was accessing the server via SSH client because we didn't install the RedHat client tool (We won't use client tools for cloud services - why the hell). Sure, we had to use another client tool for accessing the server via SSH, but it was working without installation: PuTTY (still strange). A nice web UI would be great... just my thoughts. We found a Java client but didn't test it.

So, what we did:

  1. Creating private/public RSA keys with PuTTYgen
  2. Configuring OpenShift (used the key from PuTTYgen TextArea because OpenShift didn't like other formats)
  3. Testing connection

    Username was displayed in Application settings under SSH Code, e.g. ssh://<username>@app-domain.rhcloud.com/....
    Used the private key file for putty as key (Key authentication, without password)

Next task was, configuring the access to the database because SSH access was already working. It wasn't possible to access the database without tunnel - means, no direct (Internet) access from your client. This wasn't a real problem and PuTTY had support for port tunneling. Simply detected the IP address of the MySQL server. The hostname was set as environment variable and the command export displayed all variables. The variable OPENSHIFT_MYSQL_DB_HOST had all information and our tunnel was working. There's also a property for the MySQL Port but 3306 is default.

What was next?

Deployment.

This wasn't trivial because the platform expected source code and a maven project for automatic deployment. Wrong for us. But there's an official documentation for manual war deployment.

Short summary of steps

  1. GIT clone
  2. Delete src folder and pom.xml
  3. GIT commit & push
  4. Copy WAR file into webapps folder
  5. GIT commit & push

You don't need git on your client, it's available in your terminal. But... as a developer, git is one of those standard tools...
It's also possible to upload the WAR file via SCP or SFTP...

Done...

Not really because our application was deployed without problems but it didn't work because the JDBC URL was wrong. We set the MySQL servername to localhost because of the tunnel!

Here's the original config.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<application>
  <securitymanager>
    <class>com.sibvisions.rad.server.security.DBSecurityManager</class>
    <accesscontroller>com.sibvisions.apps.server.object.DBWorkScreenAccess</accesscontroller>
    <passwordalgorithm>SHA</passwordalgorithm>
  </securitymanager>
  <connection>
    <!-- GLOBAL | DATASOURCE | OFF -->
    <property name="client.metadata_cacherole">OFF</property>
  </connection>
  <lifecycle>
    <application>com.sibvisions.apps.openshifterp.Application</application>
    <mastersession>com.sibvisions.apps.openshifterp.Session</mastersession>
  </lifecycle>
  <datasource>
    <db name="default">
      <url>jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/erp</url>
      <username>username</username>
      <password>password</password>
    </db>
  </datasource>
</application>

JVx has a nice feature which allows environment dependent settings and VisionX sets the environment automatically to prod. So, we simply changed the datasource to:

<datasource>
    <db name="default">
      <url>jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/erp</url>
      <url_prod>jdbc:mysql://hostname_from_env_variable:3306/erp</url_prod>
      <username>username</username>
      <password>password</password>
    </db>
  </datasource>

VisionX sets the environment to prod, if it creates a WAR file:

<securitymanager>
    <class>com.sibvisions.rad.server.security.DBSecurityManager</class>
    <accesscontroller>com.sibvisions.apps.server.object.DBWorkScreenAccess</accesscontroller>
    <passwordalgorithm>SHA</passwordalgorithm>
    <environment>prod</environment>
  </securitymanager>

Sure, the solution isn't perfect because the MySQL hostname should be read from the environment variable.
Would be better:

<url_prod>jdbc:mysql://${env:OPENSHIFT_MYSQL_DB_HOST}:${env:OPENSHIFT_MYSQL_DB_PORT}/erp</url_prod>

But JVx doesn't support this syntax (right now) -> Feature Request.

Done. Really done.

The application works fine (Login as admin with password admin).

Here's a screenshot, for the case that our OpenShift service isn't running:

OpenShift ERP with JVx and VaadinUI

OpenShift ERP with JVx and VaadinUI

JavaFX UI and VisionX

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We've good news for you. Since our JavaFX UI has reached version 1.0, we thought it might be a good idea to integrate the UI into VisionX. It wasn't that easy because JavaFX needs Java8 and VisionX runs with Java7. It wasn't enough to switch the JVM because VisionX had Eclipse JDT under the hood and the used version wasn't Java8 ready and also some other libraries had problems with Java8.

It was a lot of work to support JavaFX but now it's done. We have Java8 support in VisionX and all referenced projects were updated. We don't have a public version for you right now because the new features need some additional tests. But we're very happy with the current status. Our development version is very stable and all features are still working.

We have a short screencast for you:

JavaFX with VisionX


JVx.vert.x update to vert.x 3.0

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Our JVx connection implementation for vert.x is up-to-date. It's now based on vert.x 3.0. We support http and socket connections - no API changes.

Updating to vert.x 3.0 from 2.2 was not funny because package structure was changed and some APIs as well. Whatever, it's working.

If you're interested in our vert.x implementation, check the github repository because we don't offer binaries.

Multi-IDE Feature for next VisionX release

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Our current VisionX releases have built-insupport for Eclipse, because every new application is also a complete Eclipse project. Simply import an application in your Eclipse IDE and use all features of your IDE to develop/modify the application.

We didn't support other IDEs like NetBeans or IntelliJ IDEA because Eclipse was our preferred IDE and it's still the most used IDE. But nowadays it makes sense to support the big 3. So, why not :)

Our next VisionX release will come with support for NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA. Simply open the application and run it. No more manual project creation!

We made a short video which demonstrates our upcoming IDE support. First, an application was created in 1 minute and this application was used with NetBeans, IntelliJ and Eclipse - Open.Run.Done.

Here's the preview video:

Multi-IDE support for VisionX


Above video was made with current development version of VisionX and the next release, with version number 2.2, will be available in this summer.