Getting started experience with JavaFX

 What is JavaFX?
According to the "all knowing Wikipedia"; "JavaFX is a software platform for creating and delivering rich Internet applications that can run across wide variety of connected devices. The current release (JavaFX 1.2, June 2009) enables building applications for desktop, browser and mobile phones. TV set-top boxes, gaming consoles, Blu-ray players and other platforms are planned."
JavaFX is not an API for GUI development, but rather a platform that uses a declarative programming language called JavaFX Script.
To have a quick view of the possibilities, take a look at the samples on javafx.com

Getting started with Eclipse
Sun has a "getting started" tutorial that looks okay over at javafx.com. It's worth noticing that there s no mention of how to get started with Eclipse (of course). I've heard a lot of praise of Netbeans lately, but learning something new, and a new IDE at the same time is not what I wanted.
I started my adventure and downloaded the 45 MB JavaFX SDK, at the same time updating my Eclipse 3.5 with a JavaFX Feature. This feature will among other things enable you to create a new "JavaFX Project from the "new Project" menu.

... A Small problem, my bad
A minor setback occurred during my first attempt to create a JavaFX project from the "new project" menu. I got the error message;”The JavaFX SDK location was not specified". This is because I am impatient, and installed the JavaFX plug-in before the JavaFX SDK. If this happens, it's just a matter of selecting the window/preferences dialog and select "class path variables" under "build path". There should be a JAVAFX_HOME class path variable pointing to the directory where the JavaFX SDK was installed.

And the first project
Creating a JavaFX project is easy. Just select create new project from the menu, and select "JavaFX Project". After that you can create new Java FX scripts, either empty, or have some example "hello world" like scripts to start playing with.


Installing JavaFX plugin for the first time:

  1. Start the Eclipse IDE. Specify a path for your Eclipse workspace folder, if prompted, and close the Welcome screen, if it appears.

  2. From the main menu of the IDE, choose Help > Software Updates.

  3. In the Software Updates and Add-ons dialog box, click the Available Software tab and Add Site, as shown in the following figure.

    Set Up to Add the JavaFX Plugin Update Site URL.Figure 1: Set Up to Add the JavaFX Plugin Update Site URL.

  4. In the Add Site dialog box, enter http://javafx.com/downloads/eclipse-plugin/ in the Location text field and click OK, as shown in Figure 2.

    Add the JavaFX Plugin Update Site URL.Figure 2: Add the JavaFX Plugin Update Site URL.

    Figure 3 below shows that the JavaFX Updates site has been added to the list of available software sites.

    JavaFX Update Site Added.Figure 3: JavaFX Update Site Added.

  5. Expand the node for the JavaFX Updates site, select the JavaFX Feature check box, and click Install.

    The installer checks for requirements and dependencies prior to installation. This might take some time.

  6. In the Install dialog box, review and confirm that the selected JavaFX Feature item is the correct version to be installed. Click Next.

  7. Review and accept the terms of the license agreement, if you agree. Click Finish.

    The IDE continues with the installation of the JavaFX plugin software.

  8. Click Yes when prompted to restart the Eclipse Platform.

Updating an existing JavaFX plugin installation:

  1. Start the Eclipse IDE. Specify a path for your Eclipse workspace folder, if prompted, and close the Welcome screen, if it appears.

  2. Choose Help > Software Updates from the main menu of the IDE.

  3. In the Installed Software tab, select JavaFX Feature and click Update, as shown in Figure 4.

    Update the Current JavaFX Plugin Installation.Figure 4: Update the Current JavaFX Plugin Installation.

  4. In the Available Updates dialog box, review and confirm the selected update item to be installed and click Finish.

  5. Click Yes when prompted to restart the Eclipse Platform.


Conclusion
I was happy to see that JavaFX works with the latest eclipse. The only hiccup was a fault of my own. It's very easy to get started with JavaFX development, probably easier with Netbeans, as you can download both the IDE and SDK as a bundle. I was definitely up and running with the platform in under 10 minutes.

 References

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