Smooth Forms 6i to Java Migration

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Following video demonstrates our Java integration for Forms 6i. In Forms 6i you can't embedd a Java application without complex ActiveX controls. So we chose an alternative for a smooth integration. It's more like an IPC between Forms and Java but with some additional features like automatic window switching.

Our solution is super flexible and it's possible to send custom events from Forms to Java and from Java to Forms. Here's an impression:

Smooth Forms6i Java Migration

Both applications use the same database. The Forms application is like any other Forms application and the Java Application was created with VisionX based on the Open Source Java Application Framework JVx.

toPDF 1.2 is available

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Our Open Source PDF converter (toPDF) server is available in version 1.3

It contains some smaller bugfixes and very useful new features.

What's new?

  • BCL easyPDF SDK 8.0 support

    Convert via native Java API or COM interface. We've introduced EasyPdfNativeOperator which is now the default operator for PDF conversion.

  • Bookmark option

    This option creates bookmarks in your PDF document for headlines/sections in Word. Simply set the X-BOOKMARKS header parameter or use the REST API.

  • Additional attributes

    Set additional attributes for the conversion to PDF via Request parameters or REST API.

Get the current version from the project site ;-)

JVx Oracle Forms integration got better

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We have a solution for Oracle Forms developers which allows integration of JVx applications and screens directly in your Oracle Forms screen/window. It's an awesome feature and works like a charm but had some limitations with repaints.

Let's have a look

Redraw problem (menu)

Redraw problem (menu)

Redraw problem (window)

Redraw problem (window)

We fixed the problem with our current version

No redraw issues (menu)

No redraw issues (menu)

No redraw issues (window)

No redraw issues (window)

It's was very tricky to solve the problem and it's well known. Our solution will work with other Swing based components as well.

JVx Reference, Custom Components

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Let's talk about custom components, and how to create them.

The GUI of JVx

We've previously covered how the GUI of JVx works, and now we will have a look on how we can add custom components to the GUI.

In the terminology of JVx there are two different kinds of custom components:

  1. UI based
  2. Technology based

We will look at both, of course.

Custom components at the UI layer

The simplest way to create custom components is to extend and use already existing UI classes, like UIPanel or UIComponent. These custom components will be Technology independent because they use Technology independent components, there is no need to know about the underlying Technology. You can think of those as a "remix" of already existing components.

The upside is that you never have to deal with the underlying Technology, the downside is that you can only use already existing components (custom drawing is not possible, for example).

Let's look at a very simple example, we will extend the UILabel to always display a certain postfix along with the set text:

public class PostfixedLabel extends UILabel
{
    private String postfix = null;

    // We must store the original text so that we can return
    // it if requested. Otherwise we could only return the text
    // with the appended postfix, which works unless the postfix
    // changes.
    private String text = null;

    public PostfixedLabel()
    {
        super();
    }

    public PostfixedLabel(String pText)
    {
        super(pText);
    }

    public PostfixedLabel(String pText, String pPostfix)
    {
        super(pText);

        setPostfix(pPostfix);
    }

    @Override
    public String getText()
    {
        return text;
    }

    @Override
    public void setText(String pText)
    {
        text = pText;

        if (!StringUtil.isEmpty(postfix) && !StringUtil.isEmpty(pText))
        {
            // We translate the text and the postfix now separately,
            // the underlying label will obviously try to translate
            // the concatenated version.
            super.setText(translate(pText) + translate(postfix));
        }
        else
        {
            super.setText(pText);
        }
    }

    public String getPostfix()
    {
        return postfix;
    }

    public void setPostfix(String pPostfix)
    {
        postfix = pPostfix;

        // If the postfix changed, we must update the text.
        setText(text);
    }
}

It will be treated just like another label, but every time a text is set, the postfix is appended to it.

Another example, we want a special type of component, one that always does the same but will be used in many different areas of the application, it should contain a label and two buttons. The best approach for a custom component which should not inherit any specific behavior is to extend UIComponent:

public class BeepComponent extends UIComponent
{
   public BeepComponent()
   {
       super(new UIPanel());
       
       UIButton highBeepButton = new UIButton("High Beep");
       highBeepButton.eventAction().addListener(Beeper::playHighBeep);
       
       UIButton lowBeepButton = new UIButton("Low Beep");
       highBeepButton.eventAction().addListener(Beeper::playLowBeep);
       
       UIFormLayout layout = new UIFormLayout();        

       uiResource.setLayout(layout);
       uiResource.add(new UILabel("Press for beeping..."), layout.getConstraints(0, 0, -1, 0));
       uiResource.add(highBeepButton, layout.getConstraints(0, 1));
       uiResource.add(lowBeepButton, layout.getConstraints(1, 1));
   }
}

So we extend UIComponent and set a new UIPanel as UIResource on it, which we can use later and which is the base for our new component. After that we added a label and two buttons which will play beep sounds if pressed. This component does not expose any specific behavior as it extends UIComponent, it only inherits the most basic properties, like background color and font settings, yet it can easily be placed anywhere in the application and will perform its duty.

Custom controls at the Technology layer

The more complex option is to create a custom component at the Technology layer. That means that we have to go through a multiple steps process to create and use the component:

  1. Create an interface for the functionality you'd like to expose
  2. Extend the Technology component (if needed)
  3. Implement the necessary interfaces for JVx
  4. Extend the factory to return the new component
  5. Create a UIComponent for the new component
  6. Use the new factory

I will walk you through this process, step by step.

The upside is that we can use any component which is available to us in the Technology, the downside is that it is quite some work to build the correct chain, ideally for every technology.

Creating an interface

The first step is to think about what functionality the component should expose, we will use a progress bar as example. We don't want anything fancy for now, a simple progress bar on which we set a percent value should be more than enough:

/**
 * The platform and technology independent definition for a progress bar.
 */

public interface IProgressBar extends IComponent
{
    /**
     * Gets the current value, in percent.
     *
     * @return the current value. Should be between {@code 0} and {@code 100}.
     */

    public int getValue();
   
    /**
     * Sets the current value, in percent.
     *
     * @param pValue the value. Should be between {@code 0} and {@code 100}.
     */

    public void setValue(int pValue);
}

Might not be the most sophisticated example (especially in regards to documentation) but it will do for now. This interface will be the foundation for our custom component.

Extending the component, if needed

We will be using Swing and the JProgressBar for this example, so the next step is to check if we must add additional functionality to the Technology component. In our case we don't, as we do not demand any behavior that is not provided by JProgressBar, but for the sake of the tutorial we will still create an extension on top of JProgressBar anyway.

public class ExtendedProgressBar extends JProgressBar
{
    public ExtendedProgressBar(int pMin, int pMax)
    {
        super(pMin, pMax);
    }
}

Within this class we could now implement additional behavior independent of JVx. For example, we provide many extended components for Swing, JavaFX and Vaadin with additional features but without depending on JVx. The extension layer is the perfect place to extend already existing components with functionality which will be used by, but is not depending on, JVx.

Creating the Implementation

The next step is to create an Implementation class which allows us to bind our newly extended JProgressBar to the JVx interfaces. Luckily there is the complete Swing Implementation infrastructure which we can use:

public class SwingProgressBar extends SwingComponent
                              implements IProgressBar
{
    public SwingProgressBar()
    {
        // We can hardcode the min and max values here, because
        // we do not support anything else.
        super(new ExtendedProgressBar(0, 100));
    }
   
    @Override
    public int getValue()
    {
        return resource.getValue();
    }
   
    @Override
    public void setValue(int pValue)
    {
        resource.setValue(pValue);
    }
}

That's it already. Again, in this case it is quite simple because we do not expect a lot of behavior. The implementation layer is the place to "glue" the component to the JVx interface, implementing missing functionality which is depending on JVx and "translating" and forwarding values and properties.

Extending the factory

Now we must extend the Factory to be aware of our new custom component, that is equally simple as our previous steps. First we extend the interface:

public interface IProgressBarFactory extends IFactory
{
    public IProgressBar createProgressBar();
}

And afterwards we extend the SwingFactory:

public class ProgressBarSwingFactory extends SwingFactory
                                     implements IProgressBarFactory
{
    @Override
    public IProgressBar createProgressBar()
    {
        SwingProgressBar progressBar = new SwingProgressBar();
        progressBar.setFactory(this);
        return progressBar;
    }
}

Again, it is that easy.

Creating the UIComponent

So that we can use our new and shiny progress bar easily, and without having to call the factory directly, we wrap it one last time in a new UIComponent:

public class UIProgressBar extends UIComponent
                           implements IProgressBar
{
    public UIProgressBar()
    {
        // We'll assume that, whoever uses this component,
        // is also using the correct factory.
        super(((IProgressBarFactory)UIFactoryManager.getFactory()).createProgressBar());
    }
   
    @Override
    public int getValue()
    {
        return uiResource.getValue();
    }
   
    @Override
    public void setValue(int pValue)
    {
        uiResource.setValue(pValue);
    }
}

Nearly done, we can nearly use our new and shiny component in our project.

Using thecustom factory

Of course we have to tell JVx that we want to use our factory, and not the default one. Depending on the technology which is used, this has to be done at different places:

Swing and JavaFX

Add the factory setting to the application.xml of the application:

<Launcher.uifactory>your.package.with.custom.components.SwingProgressBarFactory</Launcher.uifactory>
Vaadin

Add the following setting to the web.xml under the WebUI Servlet configuration:

<init-param>
    <param-name>Launcher.uifactory</param-name>
    <param-value>your.package.with.custom.components.VaadinProgressBarFactory</param-value>
</init-param>

Using our new component

And now we are done, from here we can use our custom component like any other.

UIProgressBar progressBar = new UIProgressBar();
progressBar.setValue(65);

// Skip

add(progressBar, constraints);

Wrapping custom components with UICustomComponent

There is a third way to have Technology dependent custom components in JVx, you can wrap them within a UICustomComponent:

JProgressBar progressBar = new JProgressBar(0, 100);
progressBar.setValue(100);

UICustomComponent customProgressBar = new UICustomComponent(progressBar);

// Skip

add(customProgressBar, constraints);

This has the upside of being fast and easy, but the downside is that your code has to know about the currently used Technology and is not easily portable anymore.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are multiple ways of extending the default set of components which are provided by JVx, depending on the use case and what custom components are required. It is very easy to extend JVx with all the components one does require.

EPlug 1.2.6

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We're happy to announce the release of EPlug 1.2.6. Again this small version bump does not only yield important bug fixes, but also new features which will make your life a lot easier.

Fixes

This release includes bug fixes along with new features. One of the most notable problems fixed was that compile time checks might not be run if the communication with VisionX was active.

Cleaner context menu with more actions

We have restructured our approach to the context menu entries and introduced a new menu item which holds all EPlug related actions:

New context menu

As you can see we've also added new actions to jump to the configuration files.

Resources outside of source folders

We do support autocompletion and compile time checks for resources, like images. But we only supported resources inside of source folders, with this version we do now also support resources anywhere in the project.

Resources

Improved DataBook handling

DataBook handling has been improved once more. There are now additional checks which make sure that a RemoteDataBook receives the correct DataSource and there for if the MetaData can reliably be determined.

Additionally, the type of flag issued if no MetaData could be determined is now a configurable build option on the project.

New context menu

An example:

private void changeSomeValues(RemoteDataBook pDataBook)
{
    pDataBook.setValue("COLUMN_A", "A");
    pDataBook.setValue("COLUMN_B", "B");
    pDataBook.setValue("COLUMN_C", "C");
}

This would have been flagged as warning, because no MetaData could be determined for pDataBook. Now the check determines that determining MetaData for this DataBook is impossible and flags it accordingly. You can configure whether you want to see this flag or not in the project settings.

EPlug does also recognize if a "foreign" datasource has been set:

RemoteDataBook dataBookA = new RemoteDataBook();
dataBookA.setDataSource(getDataSource());
dataBookA.setName("a");
dataBookA.open();

RemoteDataBook dataBookB = new RemoteDataBook();
dataBookB.setDataSource(dataSourceFromSomewhereElse);
dataBookB.setName("a");
dataBookB.open();

// This will be flagged as error.
dataBookA.setValue("NON_EXISTING", BigDecimal.ZERO);

// This will be flagged according to the settings.
dataBookB.setValue("NON_EXISTING", BigDecimal.ZERO);

Usernames for sessions

Last but not least, there is now a project setting which allows to set the username which is used by EPlug for the session it creates.

A little background, to acquire the MetaData (and some other information about the application) EPlug creates a session of the application and executes the server side code. It could be that projects do have checks and manipulations on the username somewhere in their code on the server. Previously EPlug would set null as username, but now it does either use the configured autologin username or the username configured in the project settings. That allows server side code which does operate on the username of the session to run without a problem, which means that there are no checks necessary if the session was initialized by EPlug or not.

How to get it?

Simply update EPlug via Eclipse!

Jasperreports integration

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Jasperreports is a wonderful Reporting library/product. It's OpenSource and great for commercial products. There are several products like JasperReports Server and Jaspersoft Studio. Especially the Jaspersoft Studio is very useful for creating reports with a WYSIWYG editor. Simply use the tool and create your reports.

The most insteresting part is the integration of Jasperreports in a JVx application. It's super easy to start Jasperreports programmatically:

//database connection
DBAccess dba = DBAccess.getDBAccess("jdbc:hsqldb:hsql://localhost/personsdb", "sa", "");
dba.open();

HashMap<String, Object> hmpParams = new HashMap<String, Object>();
hmpParams.put("ID" , Integer.valueOf(1));
//external connection as parameter
hmpParams.put("REPORT_CONNECTION", dba.getConnection()); // String

// compile report
JasperReport jasperReport = JasperCompileManager.compileReport(ResourceUtil.getResourceAsStream("Leaf_Grey.jrxml"));
 
// fill report (connection as parameter)
JasperPrint jasperPrint = JasperFillManager.fillReport(jasperReport, hmpParams);
// fill report (hardcoded connection)
//JasperPrint jasperPrint = JasperFillManager.fillReport(jasperReport, hmpParams, dba.getConnection());
 
File fiPdf = File.createTempFile("report", ".pdf");

// export report to PDF
JasperExportManager.exportReportToPdfFile(jasperPrint, fiPdf.getAbsolutePath());

// JVx usage
RemoteFileHandle rfh = new RemoteFileHandle(fiPdf);

// open with PDF viewer
//FileViewer.open(fiPdf);

Our example was created with Jasperreports 6.3.1. The library has some dependencies:

  • Apache Commons Logging
  • Apache Commons Digester 2
  • Apache Commons Collections
  • Apache Commons BeanUtils
  • iText 2.1.7 (unpatched) or iText 2.1.7.js5 (jaspersoft patched)

A complete Eclipse example project can be found here. It connects to a HSQLDB with following tables:

CREATE CACHED TABLE POSTLEITZAHLEN
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 PLZ VARCHAR(5) NOT NULL,
 ORT VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT UK_POST_PLZ_ORT UNIQUE(PLZ, ORT)
)

CREATE CACHED TABLE STRASSEN
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 NAME VARCHAR(200) NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT UK_STRA_NAME UNIQUE(NAME)
)

CREATE CACHED TABLE ADRESSEN
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 POST_ID INTEGER NOT NULL,
 STRA_ID INTEGER NOT NULL,
 HAUSNUMMER INTEGER NOT NULL,
 STIEGE INTEGER,
 TUERNUMMER INTEGER,
 CONSTRAINT FK_ADRE_POST_ID FOREIGN KEY (POST_ID) REFERENCES POSTLEITZAHLEN (ID),
 CONSTRAINT FK_ADRE_STRA_ID FOREIGN KEY (STRA_ID) REFERENCES STRASSEN (ID)
)

CREATE CACHED TABLE ANREDEN
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 BEZEICHNUNG VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT UK_ANRE_BEZEICHNUNG UNIQUE(BEZEICHNUNG)
)

CREATE CACHED TABLE TITEL
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 BEZEICHNUNG VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT UK_TITE_BEZEICHNUNG UNIQUE(BEZEICHNUNG)
)

CREATE CACHED TABLE PERSONEN
(
 ID INTEGER IDENTITY,
 PERS_ID INTEGER,
 ANRE_ID INTEGER NOT NULL,
 TITE_ID INTEGER,
 ADRE_ID INTEGER,
 VORNAME VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL,
 NACHNAME VARCHAR(100) NOT NULL,
 GEBDAT DATE NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT FK_PERS_ANRE_ID FOREIGN KEY (ANRE_ID) REFERENCES ANREDEN (ID),
 CONSTRAINT FK_PERS_TITE_ID FOREIGN KEY (TITE_ID) REFERENCES TITEL (ID),
 CONSTRAINT FK_PERS_PERS_ID FOREIGN KEY (PERS_ID) REFERENCES PERSONEN (ID),
 CONSTRAINT FK_PERS_ADRE_ID FOREIGN KEY (ADRE_ID) REFERENCES ADRESSEN (ID)
)

The final step for the integration into a JVx application is the integration in a life-cycle object, e.g.

public IFileHandle createReport() throws Exception
{
    JasperReport jasperReport = JasperCompileManager.compileReport(
                                   ResourceUtil.getResourceAsStream("person.jrxml"));
     
    JasperPrint jasperPrint = JasperFillManager.fillReport(jasperReport,
                                                           null,
                                                           getDBAccess().getConnection());
     
    File fiPdf = File.createTempFile("report", ".pdf");
   
    // export report to PDF
    JasperExportManager.exportReportToPdfFile(jasperPrint, fiPdf.getAbsolutePath());
   
    return new RemoteFileHandle(fiPdf);
}

JVx 2.6 is available

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We're happy to announce that JVx 2.6 is available.

What's new?

  • Configuration via ServiceLoader

    It's now possible to use the ServiceLoader to configure an application (IApplicationSetup). It's enough to add a library to the classpath. It's not needed to extend anything.

  • Save bounds

    The Swing launcher now restores last frame bounds. The size and position of your application will be automatically saved and restored after an application restart. This feature takes care of multi monitor environments.

  • Better XmlNode API
    public XmlNode get(int pIndex)
    public XmlNode getFirstTextNode() // Getting the root node in xml file
    public void addAll(Collection<XmlNode> pNodes)
    public void insertAll(int pIndex, Collection<XmlNode> pNodes)
    public void setNodes(List<XmlNode> pNodes) // replaces setSubNodes
    public List<XmlNode> getNodes() // gets sub nodes never null and readonly
    public List<XmlNode> getNodes(short pType) // Gets sub nodes of given type
    public XmlNode remove(int pIndex)
  • Session states

    It's now possible to detect whether a session is initializing or destroying/expiring.

  • Message class improvements

    Simple support for Yes, No, Cancel messages.

  • preAuthentication support

    It's now possible to configure your sessions before authenticating without custom security managers.

  • BFILE and lazy loading

    New support for BFILE database columns and improved lazy loading mechanism.

  • Many Bugfixes

The full changelog is available here.

VisionX 2.4 is here

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VisionX 2.4 was released yesterday! It's the biggest update since 1.5. We've spent more time for developing and testing than ever before. The new version has power under the hood. It contains everything which is needed to customize VisionX for your needs. It's possible to create your own VisionX. We have a great set of AddOns which will improve the quality of your applications and some very useful new Features.

What's new?

  • HTML5 Live Reload

    It's now possible to update the application in the browser automatically after design changes. The live preview wizard got a new option for this feature:

    Live reload option

    Live reload option

  • One-click HTML5 live preview

    The application menu got a new icon. A single click is enough to show the application in the web browser.

    One-click live preview

    One-click live preview

  • VisionX Menu

    The VisionX menu in the application has two new items:

    VisionX application menu

    VisionX application menu

    The modules screen is a complete new feature and the Live preview is now available without leaving the application.

  • Module management

    It's now possible to manage application modules. Simply install a module from the solution store or create your own re-usable application modules. The installation is super easy with our new modules screen:

    Super easy module installation

    Super easy module installation

  • Data Links

    The Designer got a new group with the name Data Links:

    Data Links

    Data Links

    All elements in the Data Links group depend on data and will update the shown value automatically on data changes.

    • The Label Control will show the current value of a specific column, as Label instead of an Editor.
    • The Selection Button will show a popup with possible values for a specific column.
    • The Filter Control requires the Profiles AddOn and allows an application user to apply and save custom filter settings, e.g. filter custom columns
  • Application frame automatically saves the last position and your application will be shown at the same position after a restart.

    The Profiles AddOn makes it possible to save also the frames within the application. Your users will love it because they can save their own desktop and continue the work after an application start.

  • Remove HTML5

    It's possible to create smaller application bundles if you remove the HTML5 feature from the bundle, via Deployment Wizard:

    Remove HTML5

    Remove HTML5

  • Customize screen generators

    It's super easy to use your own screen generators:

    Custom screen generators

    Custom screen generators

  • Multiple storages with same database table

    It's now possible to add multiple storages for the same database table. This was a limitation in earlier versions of VisionX.

All customers will find the new version in their download area!

JVx Reference, of Technologies and Factories

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Let's talk about the UI layer, the implementations and the factory that powers it all.

The basics

For everyone who does not know, JVx allows you to write code once and run it on different GUI frameworks, without changing your code. This is achieved by hiding the concrete GUI implementations behind our own classes, the UI classes, and providing "bindings" for different GUI frameworks behind the scenes. Such a "Single Sourcing" approach has many advantages, and just one of them is that migrating to a new GUI framework requires only the change of a single line, the one which controls which factory is created.

The Factory Pattern

The Factory Pattern is an important pattern in Object-Oriented-Programming, it empowers us to delegate the creation of Objects to another Object which must not be known at design and/or compile time. That allows us to use Objects which have not been created by us but merely "provided" to us by an, for us unknown, implementation.

Like an onion

JVx is separated into different layers, with the UI layer being at the top and of the most concern to users.

JVx Layers

Technology

Obviously, the first one in the chain is the so called "technology" layer. It represents the UI technology, for example Swing, JavaFX or Vaadin, which is used to power the JVx application.

To put it into a more simple term:

public class JButton {}

Extension

Next comes the extension layer, components from the technology are extended to support needed features of JVx. This includes creating bindings for the databook, additional style options and changing of behavior if necessary. From time to time this also includes creating components from scratch if the provided ones do not meet the needs or there simply are none with the required functionality. For the most part, we do our best that these layers can be used without JVx, meaning that they represent a solitary extension to the technology. A very good example is our JavaFX implementation, which compiles into two separate jars, the first being the complete JVx/JavaFX stack, the second being stand-alone JavaFX extensions which can be used in any application and without JVx.

Theoretically one can skip this layer and directly jump to the Implementation layer, but so far it has proven necessary (for cleanliness of the code and object structure and sanity reasons) to create a separate extension layer.

public class JExtendedButton extends JButton {}

Implementation

After that comes the implementation layer. The extended components are extended to implement JVx interfaces. This is some sort of "glue" layer, it binds the technology or extended components against the interfaces which are provided by JVx.

public class SwingButton implements IButton {}

UI

Last but for sure not least is the UI layer, which wraps the implementations. It is completely Implementation independent, that means that one can swap out the stack underneath:

JVx Layers

This is achieved because the UI layer is not extending the Implementation layer, but wrapping instances provided by the factory. It is oblivious to what Technology is actually underneath it.

public class UIButton implements IButton {}

SwingButton resource = SwingFactory.createButton()

Why is the UI layer necessary?

It isn't, not at all. The Implementations could be used directly without any problems, but having yet another layer has two key benefits:

  1. It allows easier usage.
  2. It allows to add Technology independent features.

By wrapping it one more time we gain a lot of freedom which we would not have otherwise, when it comes to features as when it comes to coding. The user does not need to call the factory directly and instead just needs to create a new object:

IButton button = new UIButton();

Internally, of course, the Factory is called and an implementation instance is created, but that is an implementation detail. If we would use the implementation layer directly, our code would either need to know about the implementations, which doesn't follow the Single-Sourcing principle:

IButton button = new SwingButton();

It also would be possible to directly use the factory (but this isn't modern coding style):

IButton button = UIFactoryManager.getFactory().createButton();

Both can be avoided by using another layer which does the factory calls for us:

public class UIButton implements IButton
{
    private IButton resource;

    public UIButton()
    {
        resource = UIFactoryManager.getFactory().createButton();
    }

    public void someInterfaceMethod()
    {
        resource.someInterfaceMethod();
    }
}

Additionally this layer allows us to implement features which can be technology independent, our naming scheme, which we created during stress testing of an Vaadin application, is a very good example of that. The names of the components are derived in the UI layer without any knowledge of the underlying Technology or Implementation.

Also it does provide us (and everyone else of course) with a layer which allows to rapidly and easily build compound components out of already existing ones, like this:

public class LabeledButton extends UIPanel
{
    private IButton button = null;
    private ILabel label = null;
   
    public LabeledButton ()
    {
        super();

        initializeUI();
    }

    private void initializeUI()
    {
        button = new UIButton();
        label = new UILabel();
       
        setLayout(new UIBorderLayout());
        add(label, UIBorderLayout.LEFT);
        add(button, UIBorderLayout.CENTER);
    }
}

Of course that is not even close to sophisticated, or a good example for that matter. But it shows that one can build new components out of already existing ones without having to deal with the Technology or Implementation at all, creating truly cross-technology controls.

The Factory

The heart piece of the UI layer is the Factory, which is creating the Implemented classes. It's a rather simple system, a Singleton which is set at the beginning to the Technology specific factory which can be retrieved later:

// At the start of the application.
UIFactoryManager.setFactoryInstance(new SwingFactory());
// Or alternately:
UIFactory.getFactoryInstance(SwingFactory.class());

// Later inside the UI wrappers.
IButton button = UIFactory.getFactory().createButton();

The complexity of the implementation of the factory is technology dependent, but for the most part it is devoid of any logic:

public class SwingFactory implements IFactory
{
    @Override
    public IButton createButton()
    {
        SwingButton button = new SwingButton();
        button.setFactory(this);

        return button;
    }
}

It "just returns new objects" from the implementation layer. That's about it when it comes to the factory, it is as simple as that.

Piecing it together

With all this in mind, we know now that JVx has swappable implementations underneath its UI layer for each technology it utilizes:

JVx Layers

Changing between them can be as easy as setting a different factory. I say "can", because that is only true for Swing, JavaFX and similar technologies, Vaadin, obviously, requires some more setup work. I mean, theoretically one could embed a complete application server and launch it when the factory for Vaadin is created, allowing the application to be basically stand-alone and be started as easily as a Swing application. That is possible.

What else?

That is how JVx works in regards to the UI layer. It depends on "technology specific stacks" which can be swapped out and implemented for pretty much every GUI framework out there. We currently provide support for Swing, JavaFX and Vaadin, but we also had implementations for GWT and Qt. Additionally we do support a "headless" implementation which allows to use lightweight objects which might be serialized and send over the wire without much effort.

Adding a new Technology

Adding support for a new Technology is as straightforward as one can imagine, simply creating the Extensions/Implementations layers and implementing the factory for that Technology. Giving a complete manual would be out for scope for this post, but the most simple approach to adding a new stack to JVx is to start with stubbing out the IFactory and implementing IWindow. Once that one window shows up, it's just implementing one interface after another in a quite straightforward manner. And in the end, your application can switch to yet another GUI framework without the need to change your code.

VisionX 2.4 News

Post to Twitter

This is a short announcement of VisionX 2.4. We're near to the finishing line and will release VisionX 2.4 in December. It's an awesome release with a big number of changes and great new features.

VisionX 2.4 is not a real Feature Release but as always, we have great things on board. The focus was on "modularity". This has nothing to do with JDK 9 or Jigsaw! With VisionX 2.4 it'll be super easy to customize VisionX for your needs or to "create your own VisionX". We offer some great new Modules and AddOns.

Some impressions

HTML5 option

Create applications without HTML5

Super easy module installation

Super easy module installation

New components as Data Links

New components as Data Links

Module: User Filter

Module: User Filter

Standard Screen generator wizard

Standard Screen generator wizard

Customized screen generator wizard

Customized screen generator wizard

VisionX will be shipped with Vaadin 7.7 and latest versions of JVx and sub projects.
We offer some great Modules and AddOns like Maintenance management and User Profiles.

With User Profiles, it'll be possible to save the application state per User. This means that the position of screens can be saved as well as divider positions of split panels or it'll be possible to configure visible columns of grids.

This was a very short overview of VisionX 2.4, but I guess you'll like it!