Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Chris Schwarz

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Browser Wars and Swing on the Desktop

The WebRenderer Swing Edition changes the face of Java Swing applications and the rendering of Web content within Java

The WebRenderer Swing Edition changes the face of Java Swing applications and the rendering of Web content within Java. Before we jump into that, let's take a look back at Web content display in Java desktop applications including the generational changes and Java's very own "Browser Wars."

The date is August 26, 1997. The Netscape Corporation announces1 that they are working with Sun Microsystems to release "a 100% Pure Java version of Netscape Navigator client software by 1998." The Java community rejoices. Along comes 1998 and nothing but silence. Was it just me who missed the release of Netscape Navigator Java Edition? Who pulled the plug and why? A decent Java browser SDK back in 1998 would have gone a long way toward popularizing Java on the desktop. Instead, we're left with more than a few beers short of a six-pack.

Java on the desktop has always been somewhat lagging. First, Swing was plagued by a bad image surrounding speed. Then there was poor platform L&Fs, bugs in essential components such as the File chooser, etc., and now in the year 2007 Swing still lacks pure Swing industrial-strength Web content rendering. This fact alone has driven many Java rich-client developers to either seek out third-party components or change the direction of their desktop application development and write their rich client applications in an alternative language that supports standards-compliant rendering, or (and this is the worst) utilize nonstandards-compliant Java browser SDKs and craft the Web content input around the failings of the Web content rendering engine. This paradox was always confusing. Java Web content rendering engines were written to display Web content, but in the end the Web content had to be modified to work around the failings of the Java browser SDKs. Figure that one out!

While Web standards have improved the look and feel of Web sites through CSS and JavaScript and interactivity has increased through AJAX, Java enterprise Web applications have boomed, but Java still lacks quality Web content rendering for its Swing toolkit. How could this important detail be omitted in the decade of the Web boom?

Through all this mess, over the last decade a budding community of ISVs and large software vendors have taken the challenge with open arms and developed their own Java browser SDKs of varying architectures and with mixed results spawning their very own "Browser Wars."

First-Generation Web Content Rendering
Web content rendering in Java started life as a clean room, pure-Java implementation of an HTML parsing engine and utilized Swing drawing routines to render the graphics. The Sun default Java implementation (JEditorPane) was, and still is, basic and did not support any standards outside basic HTML, so various companies developed "commercial-strength" pure Java browser SDKs. These SDKs followed the same paradigm as the default Java implementation, but extended this to support JavaScript and other Web standards. The key limitation of pure Java browsers is they do not live up to the rendering standards delivered by Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The sheer scale of Web standards meant that small private companies in the Web content rendering space had to hire small armies to develop anything that was remotely standards compliant. Then there were issues with dynamic content such as JavaScript, and additional Web styles such as CSS 1 and 2. The task of developing a pure Java browser was and still is monumental. A standards-compliant pure Java browser is not a commercially viable prospect. The first-generation Java browsers ended up with a lightweight implementation that often "broke" on real-world Web content. Due to this fact, first-generation Java browsers are slowly dying out with the major vendors withdrawing support, paving the way for a new wave of Java browser SDKs.

Second-Generation Web Content Rendering
This first round of Web content rendering engines can be referred to as first-generation rendering engines. The next step in the development of Java browser SDKs was brought to life by JadeLiquid Software, which developed the WebRenderer Desktop Edition, a commercial-strength, native-based Java browser SDK. The release of the first second-generation, Web content rendering engine occurred back in 2002 with the release of the WebRenderer Desktop Edition. The development affected the face of Web content display in Java by bringing the market-leading native browsers (Mozilla, Internet Explorer, and Safari) through to the Java environment for use in Java rich client applications. Many copycat developments, including some from the Java industry giants, have followed and the trend for Java browsers has headed toward the architecture pioneered through the WebRenderer Desktop Edition. The key limitation of second-generation native Java browser SDKs is that they are heavyweight. Being heavyweight, on many occasions they don't play well with the Swing toolkit. While the rendering is phenomenal and standards compliant, Swing integration can be somewhat tricky. Standard JFrames, JPanels, etc., are fine. The integration issues rear their head with JInternalFrames, JTabbedPanes, Glasspanes, JMenus, and the like. The heavyweight-lightweight mixing issue has always created issues for Swing. The WebRenderer Desktop Edition provides a compatibility layer to help with Swing integration but, by design, lightweight and heavyweight components don't mix well together. Despite the integration issues in the commercial space, the second generation of Java browser SDKs have proven themselves as the architecture of choice for commercial grade Web content rendering. Now that you have the history, where to from here? Well, JadeLiquid, the developer of the WebRenderer family of products, has just released a new product that will change the Java browser SDK space and create the third generation.

The Final Frontier
Now that the Java "Browser Wars" are moving toward a conclusion, with the native architecture base winning out for enterprise desktop applications, it will be interesting to watch this space and see what companies, such as Sun Microsystems, do to embrace or "reinvent the wheel" in the eye of the third-generation Java browser SDK, WebRenderer Swing Edition. Sun's latest attempt at building a Java browser SDK (the JDIC program) has been flailing with mixed results. The architecture direction is blatantly wrong and major issues are a dime a dozen. Through the architecture of JDIC Swing compatibility is limited (see second generation) and with time the second generation is destined to end up like the first generation. Word from the Java rumor mill is that Sun's JEditorPane is undergoing some tweaking. Without years of development and a team larger than the entire J2SE team, this is a losing and some would say pointless battle. At best some JEditorPane revisions will result in yet another substandard first-generation browser component or at worst a better version of a broken wheel.

Is WebRenderer Swing Edition the only commercial strength option for "real-world" Web content support within Java Swing applications? You decide.

References
http://web.archive.org/web/20031014110817/
http://java.sun.com/pr/1997/august/pr97826-02.html

www.webrenderer.com

SIDEBAR

Third-Generation Web Content Rendering
The WebRenderer Swing Edition is a pure Swing Java browser SDK based upon native parsing and layout of the Mozilla engine (the exact same parsing and layout engine as utilized by Firefox). What does this mean? It means that now Java Swing applications will have commercial-strength Web content rendering in pure Swing. Every line, polygon, image, text, and more will be drawn in pure Swing. The WebRenderer Swing Edition has removed the heavyweight rendering of the native layout and rendering engine. This will provide Java Swing applications with Swing integration and industry-standard rendering.

The rendering quality of Mozilla is paired with the lightweight drawing of Swing, including support for Java Look and Feels (L&F). This means seamless integration into Swing applications with the standards compliance of Mozilla. No longer is there a great divide between Swing and real-world commercial strength Web content rendering. WebRenderer Swing Edition is the first of the third generation of Java browser SDKs. Not only is HTML, CSS 1 & 2, JavaScript (including AJAX) supported, but Java applets and third-party plugins such as Flash are supported. Enterprise technology mash-ups including Java, Web content, AJAX, Flash, and Swing are now possible in a single Java Swing application.

More Stories By Anthony Scotney

Anthony Scotney is the founder and CEO of JadeLiquid Software. He studied science at the University of Tasmania, majoring in computer science. With Anthony at the helm, JadeLiquid Software has grown exponentially since inception and received several awards in recognition of its success including 2005 and 2006 Tasmanian Exporter of the Year (technology) and Australian Exporter of the Year (technology) finalist for 2005 and 2006. JadeLiquid was also named the Tasmanian Technology Company of the Year for 2005 and in 2004 awarded the Microsoft Emerging ICT Business Award. Anthony was awarded the prestigious 2004 Pearcey Award for individual pioneering achievement and contributions to research and development in information technology. In 2005 he was named Tasmanian Young Achiever of the year. In 2007 JadeLiquid has emerged as one of Australia's fastest-growing technology companies and Anthony continues to oversee the architecture and product strategy of the WebRenderer product family.

Comments (1) View Comments

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.


Most Recent Comments
Catalin 05/18/07 09:33:11 AM EDT

How can this be dated May 26? It's May 18 as I'm reading it.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CHEETAH Training & Innovation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CHEETAH Training & Innovation is a cloud consulting and IT training firm specializing in improving clients cloud strategies and infrastructures for medium to large companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and thei...