Saturday, June 19, 2010

NetBeans 6.9 - The JavaFX Composer Rocks

NetBeans 6.9 has finally been released a few days back, June 15th 2010 to be exact. It was a very special release in the NetBeans community as this was the first major revision after Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems this January. Check out the release notes at

Along with NetBeans, a minor revision of GlassFish, GlassFish 3.0.1 has also been released. The minor revision contains several bug fixes and the GlassFish Server Open Source Edition 3.0.1 has been integrated with NetBeans 6.9.

There are several new features which been added to NetBeans this time, like the support for Zend Framework on PHP, Ruby on Rails 3.0 Beta support, Spring Framework 3.0, JavaFX SDK 1.3, CSS Refactoring and Code Completion, support for JDK 7 and several other features. The complete feature enhancement list is available at

But personally, I felt the best feature addition to NetBeans this time was the JavaFX Composer. For people who are new to JavaFX, it is a Java platform for creating and delivering Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that can run across a wide variety of connected devices like computers (as browser-based and desktop applications), mobile phones, TV set-top boxes, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players.

The JavaFX Composer is a visual layout tool similar to Project Matisse for Swing. Initially released as a plugin for NetBeans 6.8, it has now been completely incorporated into NetBeans 6.9. The primary features of the JavaFX Composer are -

  • Visual editor for a form-like UI using components
  • Dynamic design editing based on states
  • Data access to Web Services, databases and local storage
  • Support for JavaFX binding
  • Simple animation editor
  • Multi-screen-size editing

Create a new JavaFX project using the JavaFX Composer by navigating to File, New Project and choosing a JavaFX Desktop Business Application or a JavaFX Mobile Business Application under the JavaFX category depending on the requirement. Give a project name and the UI editor opens for creating the UI from the JavaFX components.

Drag and drop components from the palette and create the user-interface as you want. Here's a small echo application which echoes what has been typed in the text-box. To be honest, this is my first application in JavaFX and I could finish it by typing only a single line of code and that too a JOptionPane.showMessageDialog and I had help from the auto-complete feature of NetBeans for this :), rest of the work was done the JavaFX composer. That actually reflects the ease of development which the composer and NetBeans are driving. On a whole, a big thumps-up for the JavaFX composer and the entire NetBeans development team for integrating this into the IDE.

Download the project here.

If you give the JavaFX Composer a try, check out the huge arsenal of features which the palette possesses like Shapes, Effects, Charts, etc. You will definitely love them.

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brainites said...

I have been making much noise about the NetBeans IDE 6.9 JavaFX Composer to designers but I have not experienced it myself. I think the NetBeans developers are the doing a great job.
I think it is high time I switched to NetBeans IDE 6.9. I am currently building video tutorials for a NetBeans newbie. The video is captured in NetBeans IDE 6.8. I will switch to NetBeans IDE 6.9 after I have finished developing the videos else the person might find things difficult. I have already downloaded the NetBeans IDE 6.9 setup. I tried running it and saw JavaCard included in the package.
I feel suffocated when I use other IDEs due to the simplicity which NetBeans offers to developers. I think it the best IDE I have used so far.
You can check out my blog at NetBeansTalk

Anonymous said...

Rate the JavaFX Composer on a scale of 1 to 5 here:

-Mitch P.