Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Tim Hinds, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Cloud Best Practices Network

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

Application Foundation Classes

Application Foundation Classes

What Is The AFC?
I know that football season is right around the corner, but you're not going to find an in-depth analysis of football's weaker conference here. The Application Foundation Classes, or AFC, are Microsoft's answer to the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT). The AFC builds on the AWT foundation to provide more user-friendly controls for your applications. The AFC is currently available only as a preview release and requires a Java 1.02 or 1.1 compatible compiler and Virtual Machine.

Last month, I showed you how to obtain, install and use the latest Java SDK 2.0 from Visual J++. You'll need to get the Java SDK 2.0 to begin using the Application Foundations Classes. The Java SDK 2.0 currently is available in a preview release. Check out the Microsoft Java SDK Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/java for the latest information.

AFC Packages
The Application Foundation Classes are provided in three packages:

  • com.ms.ui: The User Interface package, which provides the primary framework for applets, applications and user interface controls. The User Interface package is what most people will be referring to when they speak of the AFC. It includes menus, buttons, canvases, edit controls, frames, lists, marquees, panels, radio buttons, scrollers and tree view controls.
  • com.ms.fx: The FX package provides advanced graphic controls in your applications including control over colors, fonts, curves, text and textures. The FX package provides more flexibility than AWT because it is not limited only to system-defined standards. Especially when developing Intranet applications, you can use the FX classes to use all of the fonts and colors available to your system.
  • com.ms.resource: The Resource package provides access to Win-32 resources, including dialog boxes and string tables, from your Java applications.

    The User Interface package is the heart of the AFC. The focus here will be on how to begin to integrate the User Interface package into your own applications. I'll take a closer look at the FX and Resource packages in the near future.

    AFC Hierarchy
    The Application Foundation Classes are built on the foundation laid by the AWT. If you're already familiar with using the AWT, much of what you already know will remain familiar. Figure 1 illustrates the Application Foundation Class Hierarchy. The class names preceded by an asterisk (*) are AWT classes. As you can see, all of the Application Foundation Classes are extended from these base AWT classes. Figure 2 illustrates the class hierarchy of the user interface elements provided by the Application Foundation Classes. Many of these elements will be familiar to those familiar with AWT (i.e., button, check boxes, radio button) while others were not previously available (i.e., tree control, marquee).

    AWT and AFC Compared
    Before you think, "Here goes Microsoft again, trying to usurp yet another piece of the Java world", let's take a closer look. The Application Foundation Classes are built upon and extend the AWT, making it possible to mix both user interface models in your applications, which helps to preserve your user interface investment in your current applications and ease the transition over to a new programming model. Other user interface class models usually force a developer to choose between the AWT and another library.

    Like the AWT, the Application Foundation Classes are written completely in Java, making them completely cross platform-independent. They provide new and better scroll bars and sliders, a tree control, a tab display, the ability to move through the user interface using just the keyboard and a file system explorer. The Application Foundation Classes permit the development of applications with user interfaces that are familiar to users of traditional Windows-based applications.

    How To Use The AFC
    Building Java applications with the Application Foundation Classes is no different from building your applications using the AWT. Instead of using the Applet and Frame classes, the UIApplet and UIFrame classes are substituted instead. Since the UIApplet and UIFrame classes are extended from the AWT Applet and Frame classes, it is possible to mix both AWT and Application Foundation Classes components. Listing 1 demonstrates how to create a shell AFC applet. Listing 2 demonstrates how to call the HTML necessary to call the shell applet. The AFC can also be used to create standalone applications. Listing 3 demonstrates how to create a standalone shell application using the Application Foundation Classes. Remember, you-ll need to have the Microsoft Java SDK 2.0 preview version installed and have your Visual J++ environment configured to use the pre-release version of the compiler. I described how to configure your Visual J++ environment to use the new version of the compiler in detail last month. In its current release, the Application Foundation Classes support both the traditional event handling model as used in these examples and the event delegation model supported by Java 1.1.

    Availability
    The Application Foundation Classes are available as part of the Microsoft Java SDK 2.0 on the Microsoft Java Web site, http://www.microsoft.com/java. If you're looking to use the Application Foundation Classes on non-Windows based platforms, the classes are also provided separately. Since the new compiler and the Application Foundation Classes are still pre-release versions, a few bugs still exist and they aren't optimized yet for full production use. The final version of the Application Foundation Classes is scheduled to ship with Internet Explorer Version 4.0 later this year.

    Impressions
    It's clear that the Application Foundation Classes will play an increasingly important role in the development of Java applications from a Microsoft perspective. It's uncertain if the Application Foundation Classes will win over the hearts and minds of all Java developers - given the current state of relations between Microsoft, Sun and JavaSoft. The Application Foundation Classes do provide a number of user interface elements that allow developers to create applications with familiar user interfaces (at least to Windows users). I'm sure that when the Application Foundation Classes and the Java SDK 2.0 are released in their final form, Microsoft will provide Visual J++ wizards which help to automate the process of creating applications and applets which use the Application Foundation Classes.

    Microsoft currently does not plan on releasing the source code for the Application Foundation Classes. The plan is to make up for the lack of source code with documentation and support. This stance may hurt the Application Foundation Classes- chances of gaining wider acceptance; stay tuned though, this story is just beginning.

    Next Month: Using Application Foundation Class User Interface Controls.

  • More Stories By John Fronckowiak

    John Fronckowiak is the President of IDC Consulting, Inc., providing consulting and technical writing. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in Information Systems at the Adult Learning Program of Medaille College and is the author of several books and articles about iPhone development, programming, database design and development and networking. Fronckowiak has previously spoken at the Internet Commerce Expo in Boston, and the Conference on Instructional Technologies. In addition, he has over a decade of experience in the classroom as a college professor and runs dozens of training sessions for application developers.

    Comments (0)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    @ThingsExpo Stories
    Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.
    When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
    From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
    The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
    The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - is now accepting submissions to demo smart cars on the Expo Floor. Smart car sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem.
    Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
    When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from ...
    The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
    The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.
    There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. Learn about IoT, Big Data and deployments processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
    The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
    “In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
    PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
    The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...