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Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Introduction to JavaFX

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Prerita Agarwal
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23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


JavaFX is a Java library that may be used to create both desktop applications and RIA (Rich Internet Applications). JavaFX applications can run on a variety of platforms, including the web, mobile devices, and desktop computers.

Before reading this article on JavaFX, first knowing core Java with hands-on Eclipse is strongly recommended.

So, let us start reading about JavaFX, its need, usage, lifecycle, and much more, as we proceed further in this blog.

Needs and Advantages of JavaFX

As a GUI framework, JavaFX is meant to take the place of Swing in Java applications. It does, however, offer more features than Swing. JavaFX, like Swing, has its own components and is not dependent on the operating system. It is lightweight and hardware-accelerated. It supports various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. 

The most notable advantage of utilizing JavaFX is that applications created with it may run on a variety of operating systems and platforms, including Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and Desktops, Web, Mobile Phones, TVs, Tablets, and so on. This feature of the JavaFX library makes it particularly adaptable to multiple operating systems and platforms.

Developing client-side apps before JavaFX was a difficult and time-consuming effort. Programmers and developers used to need multiple libraries to add various functionalities to their programs, such as media, UI controls, animations and effects, 2D and 3D shapes, and so on. This problem was answered when JavaFX appeared on the scene, which revolutionized the entire situation of web application development by combining all of the characteristics into a single library. Apart from that, programmers can take advantage of all the benefits of previous libraries such as Java Swing and Advanced Windowing Tool Kit.

JavaFX also has a useful set of graphics and media APIs that can aid in the development of seamless applications. With the help of hardware-accelerated visuals, JavaFX also takes advantage of the enhanced Graphical Processing Unit (GUI). The numerous interfaces given by JavaFX can be used by developers that want to mix graphics animations with UI control in their applications.

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History of JavaFX

Chris Oliver is the creator of JavaFX. Form Follows Functions (F3) was the project's original name. Its purpose is to provide more advanced functionality for GUI application development. In June 2005, Sun Microsystems purchased the F3 project and renamed it JavaFX.

Sun Microsystems made an official announcement during the W3 Conference in 2007.JavaFX 1.0 was released in October 2008. ORACLE Corporation purchased Sun Microsystems in 2009 and launched JavaFX 1.2. JavaFX 1.8, which was released on March 18, 2014, is the most recent version.

Features of JavaFX

The JavaFX library has a number of unique features that make it a top choice for developers creating rich client applications. The following are some of these characteristics/features:

  • Java Library: JavaFX is a Java library that enables users to take advantage of all of Java's features, including multithreading, generics, lambda expressions, and many others. To write, compile, run, debug, and package their JavaFX application, the user can use any Java editor or IDE of their choosing, such as Eclipse or NetBeans.
  • FXML: FXML is a declarative markup language based on XML. To provide a more advanced GUI to the user, the coding can be done in FXML.
  • Scene Builder: Scene Builder, a visual editor for FXML, is another tool implemented by JavaFX. Scene Builder generates FXML markups that can be sent to IDEs such as Eclipse and NetBeans, allowing the user to merge business logic with their applications.
  • Platform Independent: JavaFX-based rich internet apps are platform-independent. The JavaFX library is available for any scripting language that can run on a JVM, including Java, Groovy, Scala, and JRuby.
  • Web view: JavaFX applications support the embedding of web pages. Web View embeds web pages using WebKitHTML technology.
  • Hardware-accelerated Graphics Pipeline: The visuals of JavaFX applications are rendered using the Prism hardware-accelerated graphics rendering pipeline. When used with a compatible graphics card or graphics processing unit, the Prism engine provides smooth JavaFX graphics that may be rendered quickly (GPU).
  • Built-in UI controls: Built-in components in JavaFX are independent of the operating system. The UI component is sufficient for creating a full-featured application.
  • CSS-like styling: To improve the style of the application, JavaFX code can be incorporated with CSS. With a basic understanding of CSS, we can improve the appearance of our application.
  • Rich set of APIs: The JavaFX framework also includes a useful set of APIs for creating GUI applications, 2D and 3D graphics, and much more. This collection of APIs also encompasses all of the Java platform's features. As a result of working with this API, a user can have access to Java language capabilities such as Generics, Annotations, Multithreading, and Lambda Expressions, as well as many more features.
  • High-Performance media engine: The media pipeline allows for low-latency playback of web multimedia. It uses the Gstreamer Multimedia framework as its foundation.
  • Self-contained application deployment model: All of the application resources, as well as a private copy of Java and JavaFX Runtime, are included in self-contained application packages.

Architecture of JavaFX

There are various built-in features in JavaFX that are interrelated. The JavaFX library contains a useful set of APIs, classes, and interfaces that are more than enough to create sophisticated online applications and graphical user interfaces that work consistently across different platforms.

The JavaFX architecture is made up of a number of different components. The following is a brief description of these components:

  • JavaFX API: The top layer of the JavaFX architecture contains the JavaFX public API, which implements all of the essential classes for creating a full-featured JavaFX application with rich graphics.
  • javafx.animation: It offers classes for combining transition-based animations to JavaFX nodes, such as fill, fade, rotate, scale, and translation.
  • javafx.css:  It consists of classes for applying CSS-like styling to JavaFX GUI applications.
  • javafx.geometry: It offers classes for representing 2D figures and performing methods on them.
  • javafx.scene: This JavaFX API package contains classes and interfaces for establishing the scene graph. It also renders sub-packages like canvas, control, input, layout, paint, shape, transform, web, and so on.
  • javafx.application: This package contains a set of classes that are responsible for the JavaFX application's life cycle.
  • javafx.event :  It contains classes and interfaces for performing and managing JavaFX events.
  • javafx.stage: The top-level container classes for the JavaFX application are contained in this JavaFX API package.
  • Scene Graph: The construction of any GUI application begins with the creation of a Scene Graph. All GUI applications in JavaFX are built using only a Scene Graph. The Scene Graph is made up of nodes, which are the building blocks of rich internet applications.
  • Quantum Toolkit: It connects Prism and GWT and makes them accessible to JavaFX.

LifeCycle of a JavaFX Application

A JavaFX Application class has three life cycle methods in total. These techniques are:

start(): This method is the JavaFX application's entry point procedure, where all of JavaFX's graphics code is written.

init(): This method is a static method that can be extended. The user is unable to create a stage or scenario using this method.

stop(): The stop() function, like the init() method, is an empty method that can be altered. The user can use this method to write the code that will bring the application to a halt.

So when a user runs a JavaFX application, there are a few tasks that must be performed in a specific order. The order in which a JavaFX application is launched is as follows.

  • The application class is first generated as an instance.
  • Following that, the init() method is invoked.
  • Then the start() method is called after the init() method.
  • The launcher waits for the JavaFX application to finish before calling the stop() method after calling the start() method.

Termination of JavaFX Application

The JavaFX application is halted implicitly when the last window of the JavaFX application is closed. The user can disable this function by calling the static method setImplicitExit() with the Boolean value "False". This method should only ever be used in a static situation.

A JavaFX application can also be directly stopped by using one of the two methods, Platform.exit() or system.exit(int).

JavaFX Event Handling

When the user interacts with the application nodes in JavaFX, an event happens. There are many references that the user can utilize to construct an event. In order to trigger an event, the user can, for example, use a mouse, press any key on the keyboard, or navigate through any page of the program. As a result, we may argue that events are essentially announcements that inform us that something has occurred on the user's end. An ideal application is one that handles events in the shortest amount of time possible.

Processing of Events in JavaFX:

Events are generally utilized in JavaFX to tell the program about the actions taken by the user. The instrument to achieve the events, route the event to its goal and offer the application the ability to handle the events is implemented by JavaFX.

The class javafx.event.Event is provided by JavaFX. This class contains all of the subclasses that describe the different types of events that can be created in JavaFX. Any event is a subclass of the Event class or one of its subclasses.

In JavaFX, there are numerous events, such as MouseEvent, KeyEvent, ScrollEvent, DragEvent, and so on. By inheriting the class javafx.event.Event, a user can further customize their unique event.

Different Types of Events:

In general, JavaFX events are divided into the following categories:

Foreground Events: Foreground events are mostly caused by the user's direct interaction with the application's graphical user interface. For instance, tapping a key, selecting an item from a list, scrolling the page, and so on.

Background Events: Background events do not require the user to engage with the program. These events typically occur as a result of operating system interruptions, operation completion, and other factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between JavaFX and Java Swing?
    Swing is the industry-standard toolkit for designing graphical user interfaces in Java. Swing can create UI components that have a traditional appearance and feel. JavaFX aids with the development of desktop applications by providing platform support. With JavaFX, you can create sophisticated internet applications with a modern user interface. With MVC, JavaFX support is really beneficial.
  2. How long will JavaFX be supported?
    JavaFX new fixes will be supported on Java SE 8 until March 2025, according to Oracle's Client Support Roadmap.
  3. What is replacing JavaFX?
    The most popular JavaFX alternatives and competitors include GWT, Vaadin, Qt, JSF, and Electron.

Key Takeaways 

This article taught us about JavaFX, its need, history, architecture, lifecycle, and event handling. 

Recommended Readings:

Why is Java Platform Independent

Introduction to Java

You can head over to our Android Development Course on the Coding Ninjas Website to dive deep into Android Development and build future applications.

We hope this article has helped you enhance your knowledge of JavaFX. If you want to learn more, check out our Android UI and Competitive Programming articles. Do upvote this article to help other ninjas grow.

Topics covered
Needs and Advantages of JavaFX
History of JavaFX
Features of JavaFX
Architecture of JavaFX
LifeCycle of a JavaFX Application
Termination of JavaFX Application
JavaFX Event Handling
Processing of Events in JavaFX:
Different Types of Events:
Frequently Asked Questions
Key Takeaways