Migrating commercial applications from Swing to JFX

Robert Krüger krueger at lesspain.de
Wed Jan 23 01:39:53 PST 2013


this may be a bit off-topic, so sorry for that, if it is too much so.

We are currently in the process of deciding where to head with the
development of our product, which is a Swing application with some
native code for special things like video decoding, Open GL, access to
special platform APIs, currently targeted at the Mac platform but
potentially to be ported to Windows as well at some point in the

With Swing being no long-term option, we are in the process of
deciding whether we take one of two approaches:
1) Make the UI layer as thin as possible and put native UIs on the
Java core (we have lots of non-UI libraries that we have invested a
lot of work into)
2) Switch to JFX for the UI

>From an academic point of view the choice is obviously option 2 but in
real life things like quality/maturity and future relevance/support of
the UI technology can make this decision non-trivial.

Properties of the two solutions AFAICS:

- Best native user experience
- More native code, i.e. potentially larger team required to maintain
app on two platforms and significant work will go into boilerplate
stuff to bridge between the two worlds despite technologies like Swig,
Bridj etc.

- Development probably most efficient and all Java, which makes
tooling easier and you probably need to write a lot less
platform-specific code (in our case we always will to some extent)
- User experience will probably be at least a little less top-notch
compared to native stuff (at least judging by what I saw when playing
around with the ensemble app I got through the Mac app store, it is
still a bit beta)
- Risk of JFX not being a success and being abandoned by Oracle in 2
years (especially if they do not decide to release the mobile JFX
impls they are said to have, IMHO that would be the absolute game
changer for platform adoption)

>From the development point of view I would like 2) to be the way to go
but we are still rather unsure. 1) would definitely be safer (though
more painful in a number of ways).

I read the interview at
which is encouraging but that is one opinion and I would like to get
more opinions of people in a similar position.
I think answers to that will probably be of interest to quite a number
of small ISVs.

Apart from opinions, examples of real-world products, developed using
JFX would help. Ensemble is more or less like Swingset and these
things do not tend to really show if something is ready for prime time
and I guess it will take a while until Oracle ports Netbeans to JavaFX
(that would be a large application :-)).

If this is the wrong place to post something like this, please advise
were else it would be appropriate.

Thanks in advance,


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