The introduction you most likely don’t need
If you’re just a bit like me, you adore Java EE and all it has to offer. Java EE makes remoting from an application client a breeze if you stick to ordinary Java SE Swing based application clients, Java Web Start and dependency injection. Then all you have to do is to annotate a static field in your application client’s Main class and then go to work with this variable and everything just works.
But Java SE 7 update 6 happened which began the Oracle tradition of including JavaFX runtime libraries and utilities. Oracle also announced they will drop Swing in favor of JavaFX and indeed that is a good thing since Swing, which is today some kind of a standard for Java GUI:s, hasn’t been updated for a really long time and lost its competitive edge to other frameworks and languages. JavaFX on the other hand is new technology; featuring nice stuff like hardware acceleration and touch capabilities. I’m sure you can google the rest 😉
So what is the problem?
You cannot package a JavaFX client in an EAR package and then do dependency injection as if the application client is just another regular enterprise application client. Well, in theory I don’t think there’s anything there to stop you. I just haven’t got it to work in a straight forward way..
..until I found the solution I will present in this post/tutorial. The solution that will package a JavaFX application in an EAR package and then use resources from your Java EE application server with dependency injection.
You will not have to do any JNDI lookup programmatically and it even works with role based authentication as will be shown! All because your application client will for starters be a standard Java SE application that in his turn, when everything has been setup, starts a JavaFX application. The trick is not ugly, it is a pure JavaFX solution with kept benefits. Your ordinary thread will call javafx.application.Application#launch(Class, String) which will launch and setup the JavaFX application you’re used to. No strings attached! The solution is to be considered more of a packaging trick than anything else. If I haven’t made myself clear enough: The end GUI is a complete JavaFX application and nothing will be lost. You will even maintain your standard working model with separate FXML files for the structure of your GUI elements and controller classes in separate files that handle the business logic behind the GUI elements. You will not have to build scripts for Maven or Ant. You will not have to pass eye straining arguments to the Java- compiler or virtual machine. The solution will be completely built using only wizards from the NetBeans IDE and some minor code customizations.
One apparent way to connect a remote JavaFX desktop application with your application server is to use a HTTP wired web service. Oracle has demonstrated consuming a RESTful web service from a JavaFX application here, here and here. Oh yes, there are some “parts” here and here too. However, REST is not the only enterprise communication model out there, although as of today, it is the only remoting model you can found demonstrated on the Internet. For a particular project of mine, I found that JMS was a better alternative. I also needed remote access to an EJB. Alas invoking server side resources through JNDI proved to be error prone and a real hassle. But with Java Web Start and dependency injection, the user won’t even have to supply an IP and port that maps to the server.
What we will produce
In this tutorial, you will build a JavaFX application, packaged together with an EJB in an EAR package and have the application client launch through Java Web Start. Then the client shall login and get a role before he makes a remote call to a server side EJB. Here is a screenshot of the finished application:
If you really want to know: My setup is NetBeans IDE 7.3 and GlassFish 188.8.131.52 (build 5). All running on Windows 8 x64. And one more thing before we begin; I use a tremendously simplified package naming scheme. I use only one package name shared across all my projects/modules for this tutorial. IRL, that practice is much discouraged.
What you will find in this tutorial and related pages:
- Create a new Java EE Enterprise Application (page 2)
- Create a shared library (page 3)
- Create a new stateless Enterprise JavaBean (page 4)
- Setup the role in GlassFish (page 5)
- The JavaFX client template (page 6)
- The Swing client (page 7)
- Setup the Swing client (page 8)
- Configure GlassFish (page 9)
- Write some Java logic (page 10)
- Build, deploy and run! (page 11)