Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: 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.


    IoT & Smart Cities Stories
    At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
    Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
    OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
    The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
    CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
    Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
    The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
    Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
    Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
    With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...