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InfoQ Homepage News Sun Drops the Swing Application Framework from Java 7

Sun Drops the Swing Application Framework from Java 7

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Sun has dropped JSR 296: Swing Application Framework (SAF) from Java 7. Writing on his blog spec lead Alexander Potochkin said:

"After much discussion it's become clear that the Swing Application Framework API as it is today hasn't reached consensus and we feel still needs further design work done.

Since the SAF API was committed to milestone 5 of JDK7 and that time is already here, this date is now impossible, and we need to decommit SAF from any specific JDK 7 milestone."

Only two new features, Elliptic-Curve Cryptography and the Swing JXLayer component, made it into the original Milestone 5 schedule. In response Sun has merged Milestones 5 and 6, extending the period for Milestone 5 to 29th October. Milestone 5 will now be the feature complete build and will include the new features from Project Coin, the JXDatePicker for Swing, and updates to the JAXP, JAXB, and JAX-WS APIs that make up Java's XML stack, bringing them up to the most recent stable versions. Following the feature complete build at the end of October Sun plans a further 14 builds (until February 2010) to prepare a release candidate. The complete list of Java 7 features can be found on the OpenJDK website here.

Since Potochkin made his announcement about SAF, at least two forks of the framework (BSAF, SAFF) have sprung up. Jonathan Giles expressed his frustration at this on his blog:

"We went from the original SAF project whose requests for help fell on deaf ears (although admittedly there was not much visibly happening on Sun's side either) to two actives forks. If we had offered our time back when it was still JSR-296 we could have had this integrated into JDK 7, but because we waited for it to effectively die, we now have to most probably wait until JDK 8, if ever, before an app framework for Swing can be integrated into a Java release."

On the SAF mailing list Giles further suggested ditching one of the two forks so all the efforts can coalesce around one fork

"Assuming the two fork owners agree, pick one of the forks that presently exist, and call that Immediately stop and preferably delete the other fork to save any confusion."

Potochkin has also confirmed to InfoQ that another much requested feature, Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) based styling for Swing components, which was a possible part of the Milestone 5 Swing Updates package, won't be in Java 7 either. JavaFX has this capability, and Ethan Nicholas created a fairly comprehensive prototype for Swing, blogging about this project in summer 2008. Nicholas has also provided a tutorial with downloadable code at the project's website.

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