JavaFX Table and Tree lazy loading

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JavaFX doesn't define a specific model for table or tree. The implementations are based on ObservableList which is not more than an extension of standard List interface with some additional listeners and sorting, filtering. The general design doesn't take care of one important feature: Lazy loading of records.

This is an important feature if you're working with databases or large datasets. If you have millions of records, it's not a good idea to show all records in your GUI. You shouldn't load more than needed and of course, not more than the user is able to handle.

We have a model in our JVx framework which supports lazy loading of records (not only database records). To use our model with JavaFX, we had to do some Trial and Error because an ObservableList is too lightweight. Sure it wasn't a problem to simulate more entries than the list really had. This was needed to load records on demand. If a "virtual" element was requested it was simply loaded from the datasource. Sounds simple enough. To be honest - it was that simple!

A bigger problem was the scrollbar handling of the controls because it didn't set the scrollhandle position correctly after loading "virtual" records. We didn't find a perfect solution for this problem but our current solution works and is user-friendly enough. We've used our JVx model implementation for TableView and TreeView.
Means: One model for all UI controls.

A simple screencast of our test application is available on YouTube. The video shows a simple TableView which loads records from a remote server via http. The remote server reads data from a HSQLDB. The table contains 317027 records with filenames and additional filesystem information. The remote server returns exactly 100 records, per request, for our test application.

LazyLoading JavaFX TableView


We have the same lazy loading mechanism for TreeView.

Our implementation was done for JVx' model (IDataBook), but the mechanism should work with any other model definition. The complete source code is available in our dev repository. Simply start with ObservableDataBookList.

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