JavaFX is a Java platform used to create desktop and web applications for a wide variety of devices. It is a great alternative to Java Swing as it offers a much simpler way to create desktop applications. Developers use it to make more powerful applications by writing much less code.
You have to use it with the right libraries to take full advantage of all the JavaFX components. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best JavaFX libraries that you can use to make beautiful applications and write cleaner codes.
For your ease, these libraries are classified according to the JavaFX components like Layouts, widgets, appearance, and testing.
It is one of the most important JavaFX components as it contains all the other components within itself. Developers use the layout component to manage the overall layout of the application as it can collectively manage all the components nested inside it.
MigLayout is an extremely versatile layout management library for JavaFX. The whole layout engine is written in Java, without any dependencies on UI toolkits. The user interfaces created using MigLayout are relatively easier to maintain and upgrade. The written code is also very clean and developers can easily visualize how the layout will look just by looking at the source code. The best part about MigLayout is that it is an open-source project which makes it free to use for commercial and personal projects.
Styling and appearance are crucial for setting the first impression of your application. This is where JavaFX shines as you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to JavaFX libraries for designing and styling.
JFoenix is a JavaFX material design library. It offers a wide range of UI components that are very similar to the material design guidelines. It also comes with many animations that are now very common in modern applications like sliding menus, transitioning popups, date and color pickers, etc.
Font-awesome is a web icon font that provides an abundance of images to be used on elements and to beautify them. FontawesomeFX gives you access to the complete range of font-awesome icons. As Web icons are lightweight and consist of scalable vector images, it makes them an ideal fit to be used with JavaFX applications.
Ikonli is another JavaFX library that offers icons. It provides a range of icon packs for different types of icons to choose from like developer icons, weather icons, font-awesome icons, etc. It also enables developers to customize the icons and also offers possibilities to further work on their styling like stacking icons in a circle or grouping them in an arrangement.
From clocks, gauges, and battery indicators, widgets are now used in almost every application. These are miniature applications views that can be embedded into main applications. They seem small but it can take a significant amount of time to make widgets from scratch. Following are some JavaFX widget libraries that can be a great help when you wish to add widgets to your application.
TilesFX is a JavaFX widget library containing a lot of tiles to add to your dashboard. It offers a prebuild, ready-to-use set of tile widgets for all the reporting projects like weather and battery.
If you wish to build your own widgets, you can use JSilhouette for some help. It is a JavaFX library that offers additional shapes for Java applications. As JavaFX offers very limited shapes by default to work with, you can use JSilhouette to get all sorts of custom shapes like an arrow, stars, or maybe a donut.
JideFX is a collection of several extensions and utilities for JavaFX components. It provides a huge range of widgets for your applications like search widgets, formatted text fields, tooltips, numeric text fields, etc.
Medusa is a JavaFX library primarily used for gauge widgets. It provides different designs of Gauges that can also be configured in multiple ways. Along with that, it also has some beautiful and easily configurable widgets for reporting metrics.
As the name suggests, RichTextFX is a library focused on text editing for JavaFX. It is primarily made to create rich-text editors and code editing applications to display well-formatted text with features like custom syntax highlights and different fonts.
JFXtras is a supporting library for JavaFX. It mainly contains helper classes, extended layouts, and controls. Along with that, it also offers some useful widgets like calendar, date and time picker, pop-up menus, etc. If you are planning to use a helper class and also want to use a widgets library, JFXtras can be a suitable option for you.
ControlsFX is an open-source project for JavaFX that offers quality UI controls and supporting tools to complement the core JavaFX components. Currently, it has widgets like the bread crumb bar, different sets of button bars, stylized input fields for CSS, and more widgets coming soon.
JavaFX provides support for various types of charts for data visualization. Charts like area charts, bar charts, bubble charts, line charts can be easily created. JavaFX charts libraries make things even easier as they can be used to instantly generate different types of charts for your data.
OrsonCharts library allows Java developers to generate various types of charts that are relatively better visualized than standard JavaFX solutions. If you are planning to add charts to your application, then you should consider using OrsonCharts.
Testing is an integral part of any application development process. It has always been a lengthy and tiresome process but thanks to testing libraries, it is now way easier. JavaFX testing libraries different testing techniques to fully test the application for all possible paths and against all errors.
TestFX library is used for testing JavaFX applications. It provides a simple and clean testing process for your applications as well as all the JavaFX components.
A JavaFX framework can be useful to put your resources, to integrate the controllers that are essential for the business logic, UI handling, and more. Libraries cannot do all this but thankfully, we have some great JavaFX frameworks that offer different architecture to choose from as per your requirements.
First on the list is MvvmFX. It is an application framework that provides all the necessary components for the implementation of the Model-View-View Model pattern in your JavaFX projects.
JacpFX is a framework that focuses on the UI. It supports developers in creating an application structure with loosely coupled and reusable JavaFX components. It separates the task execution and UI changes in your application, making it easier to just work on the UI of the application. You can easily group all the JavaFX components that are in your use into a single system using a pre-configured event bus offered by JacpFX.
Basilisk is a JavaFX framework primarily for mobile platforms. It uses JavaFX and JavaFxPorts to bring the same codebase to mobile as well as desktop platforms. Basilisk should be your choice if you are planning to work on both of the platforms.
Griffon is a desktop application development framework for JavaFX. It uses Groovy and convention over configuration. The toolkit provided in Swing is the default UI toolkit here however you can also use other toolkits of your choice. Griffon uses the very famous MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture as the design pattern for the development.
Last JavaFX framework on the list is Afterburner.fx which is one of the most traditional frameworks. It targets developers who prefer convention over configuration. Afterburner provides no options for configuration to its developers. It is a very limited framework, but a good option for new developers to start with due to its simplicity and fewer options to choose from.
See Also: 20 Useful Libraries Java Programmers Should Know
We have covered some of the best JavaFX libraries that can be a great start for you in case you are new to JavaFX. You can find more libraries and frameworks online. If you are not sure about which JavaFX libraries you should be using, you can always start exploring the open-source ones and find the ones that suit you the best.
Shaharyar Lalani is a developer with a strong interest in business analysis, project management, and UX design. He writes and teaches extensively on themes current in the world of web and app development, especially in Java technology.
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