Can JavaFX do CAD?

John C. Turnbull ozemale at
Fri Jul 26 16:40:25 PDT 2013

Like Daniel said, none of what we say is in any way a criticism of the
JavaFX development team who, in my view and that of the entire community,
are doing an awesome job.


For mine, all the shortcomings of JavaFX (perceived or actual) can be blown
away if I could just demonstrate what JavaFX is really capable of.


We have Ensemble from Oracle and also Ensemble from JFXtras (whose demo
incidentally doesn't run since Java 7 Update 21).  With Oracle Ensemble we
can see that JavaFX has quite a nice set of basic controls and that it at
least supports very simple animations.  With JFXtras Ensemble we can see
that very nice controls are possible but unfortunately many of these are of
a rather "whimsical" nature and not the kind of control you would use in
everyday business apps.


What else is there?


Of course we have rock stars like Gerrit Grunwald who frequently post
awesome controls and code snippets but we really need something that brings
it altogether in a kick-arse showcase.  Preferably a whole suite of killer
apps that highlights everything JavaFX is capable of.


Yes, that would require a lot of effort but IMHO it is absolutely worth it.
Without it, people like me really struggle to sell JavaFX or even get a
handle on its true potential.  I can promise people that more advanced
things are "possible" but given that they write the cheques, they need to
see it for themselves.


And how about a website of JavaFX reference sites?  There must be big
companies out there using it right?


In the end it doesn't matter if I personally see enormous potential for
JavaFX if I cannot convince others to see what I see.




From: Daniel Zwolenski [mailto:zonski at] 
Sent: Saturday, 27 July 2013 09:12
To: John C. Turnbull
Cc: Richard Bair; openjfx-dev at
Subject: Re: Can JavaFX do CAD?




I've failed to convince multiple clients that they should use JFX because of

a) lack of examples of what it can really do, and how to make it do that
(e.g. in enterprise space we have

b) lack of any big or notable players out there actually using it, or at
least publicly saying they are using it

c) the deployment hassles vs the ease of html app deployment and the true
cross-platform-ness of html


After actually getting one client to trust me on it and use it on a real,
commercial app (startup), I hit problems with performance (broad
interpretation of the term, not 'framerate'), crippling deployment and auto
updating issues, missing basic features (e.g. maximise button, coming in
2014 I believe?), unpredictability of CSS styling, and a lack of best
practices for things like how to do CAD-like diagrams (not so much render
performance but zooming, panning, mouse input, layering, dragging, etc).


Like John, I've been guilty of letting my frustration show in these forums.
Like John, it's because I want so badly for JavaFX to be the platform I
develop on, it has the potential to be awesome, but things (that seem
obvious and small to me) completely stop it from being usable in a real
world situation for me. 


It's not that we think the JFX team aren't slogging their guts out, clearly
you are. It's just that in some key areas, there are small-ish blocks that
stop the whole rocket from launching. To then see a whole lot of effort be
poured into things like binary CSS/FXML compilation, Pi platform support
(that's more important than iOS/Android, really?), web deployment patches,
or even 3D (as cool as that is), just knocks me about. Obviously your
priorities are coming from somewhere different to ours, but the way you
prioritise is unfathomable to me and that definitely adds to the


At this stage, I am not suggesting my clients use JFX (I actively discourage
them from it, in their interest). Mobile is the area that has the potential
to bring JFX back into usable for me as it can compete easier with the
current technologies (which are all crap). Maybe if that ends up working (a
long, long road to go on that and very much an 'if') then it will seep back
into the desktop for me, but at a minimum the desktop deployment options
will need to be improved before that's even a possibility.

I've come to accept that I am not in the primary target audience for JavaFX,
maybe a secondary target. I don't understand who the primary target is
though, and knowing/accepting doesn't make it any less frustrating. I keep
involved in the hope that I might get a usable platform somewhere along the
way but it's more of a hope than a belief. 


So nothing really new above, but just adding my voice to John's. JavaFX is
definitely not production ready for me, my clients and the types of apps I
build (e.g. consumer facing online systems, enterprise/backoffice systems,
form/data systems, diagramming systems). One day I hope it will be, but it's
moving extremely slowly or not at all in the areas that would make it so for
me. Meanwhile the competitors (primarily JavaScript based solutions) are
improving rapidly in the areas where they have traditionally been weak. 



On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 8:30 AM, John C. Turnbull <ozemale at
<mailto:ozemale at> > wrote:

Hi Richard,

I have to stop posting late at night, that one came across as really ANGRY!

It's not anger, it's passion... and frustration.

I am frustrated because I spend much of my day trying to convince my
employer that we should be using JavaFX.  They ask me questions like:

"What happens if Oracle abandons JavaFX just like Sun did with JMF, Java3D,
JOGL etc. ?"

I say:

"This is Oracle, not Sun."

They say:

"Can you show me what JavaFX can do? There must be examples out there

And I say:

"Sure, here's Ensemble."

They say:

"OK, so it has a nice set of basic controls and can do simple animations but
what about more complex things like Flash?"

...hence the dancing cat reference.

It's not that my employer *needs* dancing cats, it's just that they need to
see that there is more to JavaFX than red circle transitions.  I can't even
prove to them that JavaFX is capable of dancing cats.  They don't have the
resources to fund me to develop something more sophisticated but they tell
me that if JavaFX truly was a "mature" technology (like I tell them) then
where are all the examples?

I am finding it difficult to convince them that JavaFX is production ready
and is not still in "experimental" mode because I am unable to demonstrate
its true capabilities or refer them to many examples of people (and I mean
big companies) actually using it.

The main concerns of my employer and I think many companies in a similar
situation is that JavaFX won't survive long term and that it is only really
suitable for form based applications.  Then of course there is the whole
"HTML5 runs on all platforms" argument but that's another story...

So this is why I think it's imperative that Oracle invests in developing a
true showcase application for JavaFX.  Something that non-technical people
(like managers who make decisions about where the money goes) can look at it
and go "wow!".

I am just not getting my managers to go "wow" at what I can show them with
JavaFX at the moment.

Every comment or apparent criticism I post about JavaFX is from the
perspective that I am trying to deal with real-world problems and people who
require proof (such as demos, reference sites etc.) and not because I myself
think JavaFX is not up to scratch.

It's quite the opposite actually.

I am a very, very strong believer and supporter of JavaFX and have many
reasons both personal and professional as to why I want it to be a massive
success.  As I have said before, there are plenty of people who praise
JavaFX and tend to avoid the very real issues that are restricting its
adoption.  I just think we have to face these issues head on if we are to
compete in what is a very cut-throat industry.


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Bair [mailto:richard.bair at
<mailto:richard.bair at> ]
Sent: Saturday, 27 July 2013 01:40
To: John C. Turnbull
Cc: 'Daniel Zwolenski'; openjfx-dev at
<mailto:openjfx-dev at> 
Subject: Re: Can JavaFX do CAD?

> For Flash, there are literally millions of examples of
> fancy/complex/impressive graphics and animations out there that can be
> really impressive at times.  I have not seen ONE such example in JavaFX!

Point to one?

Have you seen any of the JavaOne examples? The movie wall or movies on a
stack of 3D cubes was pretty good. But I guess you're not interested in the
3D aspect? What is it you are looking for exactly? Different people (on this
list) have had different perceptions on both (a) what's important and (b)
what kind of graphics they're interested in. Most people would deride the
dancing cat as being totally irrelevant to the types of applications they're
trying to build (the basis for much of flash animations is shape morphing,
you can find some code here

On the other hand, JavaFX is not a replacement for OpenGL. Drawing 25
million lines is just not something we can do right now, especially in a
resource constrained environment. I've already commented on the memory
overhead (which would continue to be an issue even if the drawing part of
the problem were solved).

I've pushed to graphics repo the StretchyGrid, which is about 300k line
nodes (the actual amount is variable, see the javadoc comments). At 300k
nodes the scene graph overhead is negligible on the FX side, dirty opts is
taking a long time to run, and painting is really slow.

PULSE: 347 [122ms:222ms]
T12 (8 +0ms): CSS Pass
T12 (8 +0ms): Layout Pass
T12 (47 +53ms): Waiting for previous rendering
T12 (100 +1ms): Copy state to render graph
T10 (101 +16ms): Dirty Opts Computed
T10 (117 +105ms): Painted
        Nodes rendered: 306565
        Nodes visited during render: 306565

If I were doing this by hand in open GL, I think the drawing would be
essentially free, if I used LINES with GL anti-aliasing, I could send 'em
all down to the card in a single shot (and if I had a modern GL I could do
LINES + FXAA or one of the other per-pixel AA algorithms available and it
would turn out pretty nice). Because our shapes don't implement the non-AA
path, and our AA involves software rasterization and uploading of pixels, I
expect that to be the main source of the 105ms time being spent here.

Also I noticed (by turning on prism.showdirty=true) that the entire grid is
being painted every time, even though visually it looks like only a small
subset actually needs to be changed. But that's really a minor thing, as I
said, drawing this many lines should basically be free if I configure
"smooth" to false in the app. Except that right now it is totally not
implemented (in NGShape):

    public void setAntialiased(boolean aa) {
        // We don't support aliased shapes at this time

The point of stretchy grid is not to say "wow look at this amazing demo".
The point is to say "what happens if I put in 300K nodes. Where does the
system start to fall over?".



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