Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, AppDynamics Blog, Tim Hinds, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Liz McMillan

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.


    @ThingsExpo Stories
    We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
    When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
    There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
    The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
    trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
    So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
    Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
    You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
    The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
    The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
    Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
    In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
    We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
    Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
    The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
    Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
    Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
    A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...