Apache Pivot Needs A GUI Designer (IDE)

I’ve been looking and reading around the Apache Pivot project in the past 48 hours and an I must say, without having written a single line of code, I’m totally impressed with the direction of the project. I have a few gripes with certain API calls but that aside the project direction puts it at par with (or quite close to) Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight developments.

Reading around through the documentation, I realised the use of BXML (Bean XML) was quite extensive and could be even more extensive if the application was large and this brought to mind the potential of having a designer tool akin to Adobe’s Flash Builder or Dreamweaver to help generate the BXML Content and make the developer’s work a bit easier. Such as designer might be a tad easier to construct than even a pure Java Swing Designer (e.g. Netbeans’ Matisse) but I’m no expert there, just that in my mind, the logic for the outputted code seems simpler – do correct me if I’m wrong.

With regards to the IDE for this project, I believe there are two options:

  1. Building one from Scratch using Java and use Apache Pivot as the UI library (the developers might fancy this)
  2. Build one on top of the Netbeans or Eclipse platform either from scratch or as extension, similar to what was done for JavaFX Script in late 2009

In any case, a good UI designer will help spur users onto adoption, if the demos alone are not enough (they certainly got me interested).

I plan on potentially picking up Apache Pivot one of these days if a client project gives me the opportunity because currently I dabble in more PHP/JS than anything Java, but I see great potential in the project and I think Oracle might either need to take a leaf from their book perhaps in Java 9, if client side Java development is still vibrant then.

UPDATE: Tom Parker has posted a nice link in the comments below to some work which has already been done to get Pivot running in the context of Netbeans. Do check it out.

8 thoughts on “Apache Pivot Needs A GUI Designer (IDE)

  1. Im doing apache Pivot programming right now is awesome but yes for people that love builders it needs a gui builder/designer, It should be no difficult to create an eclipse plugin parsing bxml, I think it could be easy to create a Pivot designer plugin for eclipse.

    By the way I miss more of your articles about Swing. You are doing PHP now, Meh hehe no offence 😛


    1. LOOL!!! True, I do a whole lot more PHP and JS development now than Java, but the Apache Pivot has a lure, in that you can use Javascript within the BXML document if needed. That is something I will certainly try out one day.

  2. Oracle has already taking a leaf from Pivot’s book, by adopting BXML in Java FX (FXML) 🙂

    I agree that a GUI designer _might_ spur some user adoption, but I can also guarantee you that after working with BXML using a good XML-editor for a while, you really won’t miss it. Almost everything you do just kind of works, and lays out the way to think, which is a first in Java GUI development, atleast for me 🙂

    1. LOOL, 100% agreed with you on FXML. Also, I personally use a designer IDE like DW less and less when doing HTML/JS development these days, but that is because I’m a coder. Most often, it is the designer members of the team that would benefit greatly from the IDEs.

      It is also a good point you raise in terms of JavaFX, because Apache Pivot and JavaFX seem to be really close cousins when it comes to Java Application development. Certainly JavaFX will dominate over Apache Pivot because of marketing from Oracle, but it would be nice to see how the two products play out together in the far/near future.

    1. Nice, certainly a step in the right direction, and if properly supported it can really help the Pivot project reach new heights.

  3. I’m also a fan of Apache Pivot. I’ve used it in my project back in college, around the time when Pivot was 1.1 I think.

    WindowBuilder Pro is open source, and it’s (IMHO) gui-builder done right :D.
    I hope Pivot can add a plugin/add-on for it

    1. Went through the movie on JavaFX Scene builder and was actually swept off my feet. I think I see a potential swing replacement in JavaFX in the future which is a good reason to give it a second look considering the 100 of milions of lines of Swing Java code already in existence in this world.

      Its quite ironical that despite all the condemnation of Java on the client, it still boast of such a heavy code base in places that matter. I see JavaFX coming to relieve developer’s frustration (since Silverlight and Adobe have decided to play into Oracle’s hands by discontinuing active development on these potent RIA platforms)

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