Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT, Machine Learning

Java IoT: Article

Developing Rich Internet Applications Using Swing

A solution based on OpenSwing & Spring frameworks

The Java development platform always provides limited support for application development based on a graphical user interface, an area where more traditional languages and integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Visual Basic or Delphi have based their success.

Today the Java SE distribution offers essentially the same features it offered in 1999 with regards to Java graphical components: the Swing toolkit. Swing provides graphical components like grids, trees, text fields, checkbox, radio button, combo-box and others. Anyway these components have changed little and not been improved in latest releases of Java. All in all Swing greatly lacks some key aspects:

Input fields are too simple. They can't be compared with the advanced graphical components available in other languages. They don't support common properties like text trim, padding, text length checking, uppercase; moreover there's no numeric field, currency field, date control or calendar control. There's no relationship between the input field and internationalization settings.

In addition, Swing components are just hard to use. For example, creating a powerful table with editing capabilities, colors, data formatting, column or row locking usually requires a lot of code, time, and skills. A more powerful and easier set of components is needed to develop rich GUIs, especially for beginner Swing programmers.
There's no binding mechanism between graphical components and the data model. This means that to set or get data from or to a data model based on POJOs (Plain Object Java Object, i.e., Java Beans) requires additional coding, not provided by the Swing toolkit.
There's no data retrieval layer between the presentation tier and business logic/data access layers that facilitates and normalizes data exchange with the presentation tier and other layers.

All these deficiencies don't encourage the development of enterprise applications with rich GUI content and based only on the Swing toolkit.

This gap in Java was partly covered in the past years, thanks to solutions supplied by the market in the shape of commercial and open source solutions, but without reaching any definition of a reference standard.

Commercial solutions should be discarded because they're proprietary, not directed by the market, and in plain disagreement with the "Java philosophy" of open source solutions or solutions supported and promoted by the market, led through mechanisms of sharing and the collective definition of standards such as JCP (the Java Community Process).

With regard to open source solutions, there are several Swing extensions, born to provide:

  • a suite of advanced graphics components
  • a binding layer between graphics controls and data model
  • a framework that defines guidelines to design an application and its components and use these components correctly
  • a data retrieval mechanism that (preferably) abstracts from the real location of the data (locally or remotely)
There are many free solutions available that meet some of these topics, such as JMatter, JGoodies, JDNC (Java Desktop Network Components) and its evolution, the Swing Application Framework, currently submitted for approval to JCP. There are other open source projects that fit specific issues, as those reported on the JavaDesktop portal.

However these solutions address some issues (like the availability of advanced graphics controls or data binding capability) but not all the issues that could arise in enterprise application development with rich GUI content and not always applicable on different architectures (both two- and three-tier applications, with data communications based on HTTP or SOAP or RMI or any other protocol).

A good solution should include the capacity to decouple GUI development from data retrieval issues: this could facilitate application development with several architectures, such as two-layered applications (desktop applications) and three-layered applications (Rich Internet Applications). This way the same suite of graphics components and data binding mechanisms could be reused in different application architectures.

Broadly, there's a need for a complete solution: a framework (i.e., a set of development guidelines) and a set of advanced Swing components with data binding capabilities and data retrieval mechanisms not limited to a specific architecture to develop applications having rich GUI contents quickly and easily.

RIA development would become one of the possible scenarios that issues from that solution.

A complete client-side solution should integrate all these aspects and ideally fit with existing server-side layers and frameworks: in the context of server-side development, especially in the context of Web application development, valid frameworks already exist such as Spring and effective ORM (Object to Relational Mapping) layers like Hibernate, iBatis, TopLink, JDO, and JPA; hence, it's unnecessary to develop other server-side frameworks. It's better to interconnect them with the complete client-side solution.

To realize this kind of client-side solution, it's possible to fit more client-side products together, such as some of those described above, but this attempt requires skills in many products and a lot of time and isn't a suitable choice for organizations with low skills levels and limited budgets.

The OpenSwing framework addresses these issues by providing a unique and uniform client-side solution: it provides a suite of advanced graphics components that are usually powerful enough that they don't have to be extended any further. They meet the development requirements of enterprise applications with rich GUI contents. The development process becomes easier and faster by developing a GUI through IDEs' graphical designers like other non-Java RAD environments.

At the same time, this framework provides other software layers that complement the OpenSwing graphics components suite by supporting data binding, POJO-based data modelling, and remote data access by allowing the development of RIAs (three-layered client/server applications) or desktop applications (two-layered client/server applications).

OpenSwing
OpenSwing is an open source framework that can be used to develop Java applications based on Swing's front-end.

It's possible to apply this framework to develop two-tier client/server applications with an underlying database or based on other data storage devices (like files on a file system) or three-tier applications with several combinations of technologies such as RIAs (where the client and server tiers communicate through the HTTP protocol) or distributed applications (where the client and server tiers communicate through RMI - see Figures 1, 2, and 3).

The framework includes a set of class libraries that can be used to:
• Create the application front-end through a collection of advanced graphics controls that include labels, text fields, multi-line text fields, numeric fields, currency fields, calendar, grid, trees, a tree combined with a grid, lookup, gantt diagram, buttons with images, combo-box, radio buttons, checkbox, wizard panel, image panel, splash screen, dialog windows, tip of the day frame, progress bar/panel/dialog, and a licence agreement panel.

Grid usage is especially sophisticated: it allows columns or rows locking, data pagination, columns filtering and sorting, and data exporting and the grid model is based on a list of POJOs like a tree component and a panel of graphics controls whose data model is based on a POJO.

So POJO support is extended to the entire set of graphical components that compose the GUI.

More Stories By Mauro Carniel

Mauro Carniel is a Software Architect at Sinesy. He has more than 10 years of enterprise software development experience utilizing JEE technologies, including JSP, JSF, Swing, EJB, JPA. He started focusing more on GUI-based client/server Java applications since 1998, then moved to web rich applications, including Sencha ExtJS and recently Mobile applications and Data Integration. He has a MSc in Information Technology from Udine University, Italy.

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
In an age of borderless networks, security for the cloud and security for the corporate network can no longer be separated. Security teams are now presented with the challenge of monitoring and controlling access to these cloud environments, at the same time that developers quickly spin up new cloud instances and executives push forwards new initiatives. The vulnerabilities created by migration to the cloud, such as misconfigurations and compromised credentials, require that security teams t...
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.
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.
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
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...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...