How can I use HTML & CSS to create the user interface for my java app?


I have just read this article: It shows how to build a java app using the javafx library and also how to use some classes such as WebEngine and WebView to display a web page in the app, basically turning it into a browser.

Here is some relevant info from the article:

The embedded browser component is based on WebKit, an open source web browser engine. It supports Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, Document Object Model (DOM), and HTML5.

The embedded browser enables you to perform the following tasks in your JavaFX applications:

  1. Render HTML content from local and remote URLs
  2. Obtain Web history
  3. Execute JavaScript commands
  4. Perform upcalls from JavaScript to JavaFX
  5. Manage web pop-up windows
  6. Apply effects to the embedded browser

I would basically like to entirely dispense with Java or JavaFX GUI tools, except for those required to display HTML and CSS, as described in the article, and build the entire user interface for my app in HTML and CSS. I would like various HTML buttons to cause events to transpire in my java code.

Does this seem like a good idea? And since it does seem like a good idea to me, I'm also wondering why would anyone ever use any other method to build a GUI in java.

12/12/2013 8:10:32 AM

I'm creating an entire desktop application with a single WebView, it is available at github. Basically it's UI is a single HTML file which links a dozen of JS files. To call Java from JS I wrap my requests into json and call a Java facade bean. It is also possible to call JS from Java in same fashion. Though it is possible to call Java directly by invoking a method on a Java bean with parameters of any type, I did have a few application crashes after which I decided to make it completely safe and stay with json. This app uses AngularJS and Twitter Bootstrap to render pages.

I had created a ticket in Oracle's JIRA for better Java integration (JSR-223) inside a WebView and their answer was it could be scheduled for Java 9.

The development is pretty fast, when the process is set up - it's hard to debug the app in the beginning because there is no debugger. Some top-level JS exceptions are not being caught as well. At the moment I'm having no issues with WebView in JavaFX 8. JavaFX 7 is unusable for me because of the problem with fonts.

Answering your last question - I have no idea, but the situation is completely the opposite. For some reason Oracle puts resources for JavaFX native components development, but not for better WebView integration.

12/12/2013 5:31:53 PM

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