This is a collection of the things I learnt developing a simple JavaFX app over the last month or two. My background is very much in Java EE with decades of experience building high end, high-performance ticketing systems. This means that my expectation from a development environment is relatively high. There are many optional components in here that I find worthwhile setting up at the start, but are not necessary
One of the most useful tools I have found while working with Java is maven. If maven isn’t a part of your build, have a look at it and re-evaluate that. I have no doubt that maven has saved me hundreds, if not thousands of hours over the last few years.
JavaFX Scene Builder
While this one has a bunch of issues and serious limitations, it can still be a helpful tool. It helped me get a handle on the components available and placing items.
I use junit5, but there are other options like test-ng which are equally good. I use Mockito for mocking, but there are many other options like PowerMock, JMockit, EasyMock, etc.
For UI Testing, you can use TestFX. I don’t like UI work, so haven’t done much work with this.
I can’t live without logging in any application. It can make troubleshooting much easier, particularly when you’ve deployed your app. log4j2 is the main logging framework out there. You can choose another one if you like, but I strongly recommend having and using one.
If you have working the Java EE Environment, you have almost certainly come across Inversion of Control, particularly in the form of Dependency Injection. I love dependency injection. It helps with decoupling components and with testing. I looked at various frameworks including Dagger 2, Spring, Guice.
The fully static (compile time) nature of Dagger 2 means that it doesn’t gel well with JavaFX which is very dynamic.
I had worked with Spring many years ago and didn’t want to tangle with a behemoth for a small project. There are many components and loads of functionality in spring and if you building a large and complex project, it might be worth it.
Google Guice is the framework that I ended up going with. It does have some dependencies like Guava, but as it turned out, I Guava comes in handy for JavaFX anyway. We don’t need an entry in the pom.xml for this because of the following dependency.
Gluon Ignite was released by gluon labs to integrate Dependency Injection frameworks with JavaFX. In other words, it ties in the DI framework with the FXMLLoader so that it will load the correct controller instances. Since I am using Guice, I needed the ignore-guice module. If you add this into your pom.xml, it will also pull in google guice. Easy eh? 😉
If you don’t want to add another dependency, you could take a look at the code in this module. It’s fairly straightforward to integrate that manually into your app. It’s just easier to add in the dependency and let it do the magic
Event / Publisher / Subscriber Framework
It is likely that you will need an event framework or a publisher/subscriber framework. The nature of GUI design and work is that it is an easy and simple solution for a number of problems you will come across. Fortunately, we already have an event framework in place within Guava which is a dependency of Google Guice.
Don’t you love adding in a getter and a setter for each field? When you change your fields, don’t you love going in and updating all the getters and setters? How about defining the long, pita to type types with generics of variables that you are assigning from a method call? I mean the compiler can’t possibly figure that out by itself, right? How about writing out the toString, equals and hashCode for each class? What do you mean no, you don’t? You don’t love these tedious repetitive tasks of development? Good! You will love Lombok. Unfortunately, with Lombok, it’s not as simple as adding it into your pom.xml. Check out the install instructions on their website for you IDE etc. You also need it in your pom.xml.
There is some controversy around Lombok. There is a good post on stackoverflow that covers some of these things in a reasonable fashion.
Last but certainly not least, we have apache commons. This is a collection of libraries rather than a single one. You know all those bits of code you write over and over. Chances are that there is something in here that does it better and in a simpler way.