FX Experience Has Gone Read-Only

I've been maintaining FX Experience for a really long time now, and I love hearing from people who enjoy my weekly links roundup. One thing I've noticed recently is that maintaining two sites (FX Experience and JonathanGiles.net) takes more time than ideal, and splits the audience up. Therefore, FX Experience will become read-only for new blog posts, but weekly posts will continue to be published on JonathanGiles.net. If you follow @FXExperience on Twitter, I suggest you also follow @JonathanGiles. This is not the end - just a consolidation of my online presence to make my life a little easier!

tl;dr: Follow me on Twitter and check for the latest news on JonathanGiles.net.

JavaFX links of the week, February 24

More days. Much work. Such links. Wow.

Catch you all again next week! 🙂

JavaFX links of the week, December 10

Here we go all over again! Enjoy! 🙂

Catch you next week.

Retina Display MacBook Pro

I am presently typing away on a new Retina Display MacBook Pro, and it is an interesting experience. The visual clarity is stunning. It is akin to the feeling of going from Atari to Nintendo, or Nintendo to Nintendo 64, or standard def to Hi-Def. I just didn’t realize what kind of poor quality I was looking at before.

But it isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. All of Apple’s applications look stunning. But many 3rd party apps look bad (including Java apps), and web browsing is horrific. The problem is high-DPI, and how Apple went about solving the HDPI problem.

On Retina MacBook Pro displays, there are some 220 pixels per inch. If you rendered everything 1-to-1 on such a display, the text (and everything else) would look tiny. You’d need a bionic eye (or a magnifying glass) to read anything on the screen. Or at least, really young eyes. So instead, everything needs to be scaled up.

For vector graphics and text, this is pretty straightforward. You just scale things up and render at the higher resolution and things look great. But for images it isn’t so simply. Scaling images produces a blurry result. And that, in fact, is the experience of using a retina display when browsing websites. You will come to some websites where the text is crisp and the images are all blurry. Other websites have some crisp text and some blurry text, ostensibly either because intentionally or unintentionally the web site is rendering text to an image and then the image is being scaled. And it makes for a horrendous user experience.

In Apple’s applications (starting with the iPhone and iPad with their retina displays), the solution to the problem is for the application developer to supply two images instead of one for each image asset. For example, the splash screen will be supplied with two images, one at normal resolution and one at 2x the resolution. The files are named the same but the 2x one is named according to some convention, such that at runtime the platform will lookup the 2x version on retina behind the scenes. In such a way, your application says “fooImage.png” but “fooImage@2x.png” is looked up instead when on a machine with a retina display.

At the moment, all Java applications (including FX) are pixel-doubled, such that everything (text, images — everything) are doubled and look blurry. But since I’m going to be working on a retina MacBook for the next several years, we’ve got to fix this situation. Driving me UP THE WALL. Our plan is to follow Apple’s lead, and automatically attempt to load the @2x image if one is available, and to otherwise signal to Mac OS X that we’re a high-DPI aware application and it shouldn’t pixel double everything on us.

One thing to be aware of here is that Canvas and ImageWriter are not going to be able to deal with high-DPI right off the bat. Your application is written as if it is on a normal display, but Canvas ends up needing to be pixel doubled. In the future we’ll add API so you can detect this situation and draw into a larger canvas (or automatically scale everything up for you).

I can’t wait for FX to be in hi-res!

JavaFX Ensemble in the Mac App Store

JavaFX Ensemble in the Mac App Store

After a ton of work and navigating the legal bureaucracy, Scott Kovatch on the JavaFX team has successfully put the first JavaFX Application (that we know of) into the Mac App store! It was particularly fun to read James Gosling’s ringing endorsement. As most of you probably know, Ensemble is our sampler application which has all the Javadoc and a hundred or so samples of everything from animations to controls to binding to 3D. It is also the application we will continue to build up as we go along. We originally released it with JavaFX 2.0, and the team has been adding content to it ever since (thanks Debbie! thanks Prague! thanks team!).

Getting it into the Mac App Store is a big deal. We first added support to produce native app bundles earlier this year, such that any JavaFX application can be co-bundled with the JRE to create a platform specific app bundle — a MacOS X .app and .dmg, for example, or an .msi and .exe for windows, or .deb / .rpm on linux. These app bundles are inherently secure (since they don’t rely on remote code execution, unlike Applets and WebStart). They also are completely “normal” for the end user. And they’re the only way to get apps into an App store. Oh, and since Java is co-bundled, these app bundles do not require Java to be preinstalled — so no more headaches dealing with what version of Java is installed and redirecting to install a specific version of Java. It all just works.

So go ahead. Build your desktop applications with JavaFX, and deploy to the Mac app store. You’ll be glad you did 😉

Fun JavaFX 2.0 Audio Player

Fun JavaFX 2.0 Audio Player

I was inspired by Dean Iverson’s tweet with a audio equalizer in JavaFX:

#JavaFX rocks. Literally. An example from our upcoming Pro JavaFX 2 book: pic.twitter.com/tSI4Vry4
and the equalizer view from that Pro JavaFX 2 example app: pic.twitter.com/T6jxvrf9
. updated pic.twitter.com/FqzgVimG

So wanted to have a go at doing one my self, so little while later I have a design and built a working application. Demo video after the break.