Friday, August 8, 2008

JNode 0.2.7

Finally  JNode 0.2.7 has been released!

With this release the GUI is getting to a point where small to medium sized real world Swing applications begin to work. It also becomes possible to start developing Swing based tools for administrative tasks in the desktop.

Only to highlight a couple of notable features of this release it's worthy to note that starting from JNode 0.2.7 the complete Swing toolkit of OpenJDK and the majority of AWT is available on JNode and apparently this is the first time when OpenJDK Swing is running on a non-Hotspot-based free JVM. Moreover this JVM runs directly on the hardware without the need for an other operating system. Also notable is that now we provide support for generic VBE based graphics enabling the majority of JNode users to get access to the JNode GUI on real hardware which was possible only for a small fraction of them so far.

Since the Java GUI programming is split to the Swing/AWT and SWT worlds a challenge will be for JNode to support all the SWT based applications out there. Fortunately there is a project, SWTSwing which can play an important role in addressing this problem. SWTSwing implements the native parts of the SWT toolkit on top of Swing providing a pure Java solution. It looks like an ideal fit for JNode. It's interesting to see how certain projects of apparently vague scope and utility make perfect sense in the context of JNode. SWTSwing is not alone! The idea of supporting Eclipse on JNode leads us directly to an other similar project based on SWTSwing: EOS (Eclipse On Swing),  and I could continue the list with a long row of projects for which one could ask why a Java based implementation when mature native implementations already exist? Though that could probably be the topic of an other blog post...