When it comes to the Java ecosystem, Swing act as a toolkit for GUI widget. Swing is responsible for providing the APIs, for creating the user interface for Java programs. Before the advent of Swing, AWT i.e. Abstract Window Toolkit was responsible for providing an advanced form of user interface components. But Swing supersedes the AWT library and come up with a look and feel which resemble with most of the platform. These created UI components are not only advance in terms of appearance and feel, but they are also pluggable in nature. That means the underlying platform is not bounded with a specific set of UI components. UI components like buttons, labels, and checkbox can be easily created with Swing APIs. Thus, Swing is more flexible in nature than AWT.
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Swing not just provide a designer with a regular UI component, but advanced components as well like tabbed panel, scroll panes, tables, trees etc. Swings have some added advantage over AWT, which makes Swing overtake AWT, in developing UI components. UI components in Swing are developed entirely in Java and thus they are platform independent, which is unlike AWT components. The framework adopted by Swing is MVC i.e. Model-view-controller, which provides an abstraction between the graphics UI and the underlying code structure. This abstraction helps the UI component writer in maintaining “separation of concern” like architecture. Any developer can have access to all available Swing classes with their complete documentation, in Java API guide. One classy aspect of Swing is its modular-based architecture because this writer can come up their own custom UI implementation of standard UI components, resulting in overriding the default implementation using Java inheritance concept.
JavaFX act as a standard GUI library, having an extensive support for desktop computer and different web browsers on a different operating system like Windows, Linux etc. Desktop applications can be created efficiently using JavaFX, which act as a software platform. In the earlier edition of JavaFX, scripts were being used to build JavaFX applications, these scripts were declarative and static in nature. But with the advent of JavaFX 2.0 version, it is implemented as Java library, means applications now can be written using native Java code instead of scripts. With JavaFX, Java developers can address all the issues which come along with modern UI design. A complex set of controls are required in the modern UI, the responsiveness of UI is highly dependent upon concurrency, but Java multi-threaded code requires a lot of boilerplate code addition.
All these challenges can be successfully meet with JavaFX, Sun’s strategy for providing Rich Internet Application makes the life of Java developer easier, which is in line with Adobe’s Flex and Microsoft’s Silver light tool. Flex and Silver light tool utilizes XML, a declarative language whereas JavaFX uses their own version of scripts. All Java developer who is well known with Swing APIs can easily confront JavaFX scripts and re-write their UI components, more versatile and internet rich application in nature. These JavaFX scripts not just include new APIs but also has access to all Java packages. A scene is created as a hierarchy of visual nodes and can be created with scene API, resulting graph scene can efficiently respond to the user interaction. Level of abstraction provided with APIs is efficient, and it provides all kind of automatic optimization. Any ordinary Java application can also utilize the scene graph APIs. JavaFX 8, has introduced some of the new features like 3D graphics support, rich text support, sensor support etc.
Key Differences between Java Swing vs Java FX
Both Java Swing vs Java FX performance are recommended options in the business. Let us examine some of the key difference between Java Swing vs Java FX
- Swing is the standard toolkit for Java developer in creating GUI whereas JavaFX provides a platform support for creating desktop applications.
- Swing has a more sophisticated set of GUI components whereas JavaFX has a decent number of UI components available but lesser than what Swing provides.
- Swing is a legacy library which fully features and provide the pluggable UI components whereas JavaFX has UI components which are still evolving with a more advanced look and feel.
- Swing can provide UI components with a decent look and feel whereas JavaFX can provide rich internet application having a modern UI.
- Swing related classes can be found in Java API guide with complete documentation whereas JavaFX doc is available in a various format with a comprehensive detailing and file support.
- Swing since its advent can create UI component using standard Java component classes whereas Java FX initially uses a declarative language called JavaFX script.
- Swing has a UI component library, and act as a legacy whereas JavaFX has several components built over Swing.
- Swing has support for MVC, but it is not consistent across component whereas JavaFX support is very friendly with MVC.
- Swing has various IDEs which offer a tool for rapid development whereas JavaFX has also support from various IDEs as well, but it is not as mature as Swing.
- A swing was renamed from Java Foundation Classes and sun microsystems announced it in the year 1997 whereas JavaFX was initially released in December 2008, by Sun microsystem and now acquired by Oracle.
Java Swing vs Java FX Comparison Table
Let’s look at the top Comparison between Java Swing vs Java FX –
|Components||Swing has a number of components to it||Less component as compared to legacy Swing APIs|
|User interface||Standard UI components can be designed with Swing||Rich GUI components can be created with advanced look and feel|
|Development||Swing APIs are being used to write UI components||JavaFX scripts and fast UI development with screen builder|
|Functionality||No new functionality introduction for future||JavaFX has a rich new toolkit, expected to grow in future|
|Category||Legacy UI library fully featured||Up and coming to feature rich UI components|
|MVC support||MVC support across components lack consistency||Friendly with MVC pattern|
Conclusion – Java Swing vs Java FX
Java Swing vs Java FX both are utilized heavily in Java ecosystem for building UI components. These UI components are based on MVC pattern and pluggable in nature. Another aspect is that, they are independent of the underlying platform, developers need to be aware of the Java concepts and can create UI components. Swing has an impressive number of UI components available, which has built-in classes for every UI need i.e. button, panel, frame etc. Java FX, on the other hand, has UI components which are originally based on Swing, since Swing arrived much earlier than JavaFX.
JavaFX can provide the software platform, for writing rich internet application which has modern UI, with a sophisticated look and feel. It is still evolving and expected to grow in the future. From a Java developer perspective, both technologies are highly useful in writing pluggable UI components. With its vast UI component library, Swing can provide added advantage to the developer whereas when it comes to design modern and rich internet application, JavaFX can supersede Swing.