Mittwoch, 26. Februar 2014

App Start - Bringing JavaFX Applications to the End User

How to bring JavaFX applications to the end user's client?

Two possibilities:

  1. Install Java (quite up to date version...) on the client. Then use web start or applet.
  2. Package your JavaFX application so that the JRE is included (e.g. using bundling) and run it as autarc application on client side.
Let's take a deeper look into both approaches:
  1. WebStart/Applet: hmmm... maybe we ourselves are too close to industry/business scenarios, but the installation of a client side Java VM often is some hot discussion. If the discussion is valid or not - who cares at the end, if you are the poor guy to try to make your JavaFX application run at the client side.

    And even if the customer agrees to install some up to date Java VM, he/she typically is not the one who is willing to constantly upgrade the VM on all the clients later on... So it's you having to live with the fact that your WebStart/Applet-stared JavaFX application will have to run on many different Java versions...
  2. Autarc client application: yes, this often is a nice alternative, because now people are not talking about this client wide Java installation - they more or less treat your application as a native one. Who cares, if there is some bundled JRE which no one outside the application knows about. - And now you are the master of which Java version you use, there is no company policy or whatever you have to fight with.

    But...: now you are missing all the nice features that are part of WebStart/Applet: the re-loading of your client application if it changes on server side - the automated roll out of your client software, both for the initial and for the continuous installation.
So, this was the situation we were/are in: for many scenarios we want to go the "autarc application" way, but at same point of time needed something to control the roll out of the client software.

Consequence: we wrote a simple and thin framework which we called "App Start". (We did not check if this name is somehow blocked, so this is an internal project name at the moment!).

It's a client side launcher of a JavaFX application that is kept on server side. The launcher is a small Java programm that is configured by some xml-file, so that it knows what to download from where and after downloading how to start the JavaFX application.
The launcher knows the version stamp of the JavaFX application and with each start checks if the version still is in sync with the server side.

So "App Start" is some mixture out of the "autarc application" mode and the "Web Start" mode. Main difference: "App Start" is only working in the context of one JavaFX client application

As I said: App Start is a quite thin framework. And currently it's only available for Windows scenarios (sorry... but this is the 9x% of our users...), but taking over to other OSs is "just effort". We are open to share everything here - sources, docu, demos etc. are available in the links below. If this is interesting for you: please contact us (, maybe this is something we can join forces.

Now the links:

Some slides (PDF)
Test / Demo (currently Windows only)

App Start page: => Community => App Start Framework - please find all resources (including source code) I said: the framework was born out of our concrete own requirements, but is strictly decoupled from our "normal" JavaFX development. So, it's normal water which we used for cooking, there is not too much magic inside.

One final comment: the picture above only is a simplified view on "App Start" - emphasizing the loading of the JavaFX application. On a long run a client side applications also will require a Java version update (only in the context of this autarc application!) and also an update of the starter program itself. So, in reality, everyhing is versioned and everyhing is synced if required...:

Montag, 10. Februar 2014

Business Application Workplace with JavaFX

We did some screen recording in order to show how a JavaFX business application workplace might look like.

The video is available here:

Please note: the video was taken "from the labs"... The JavaFX demo application that is shown in the video is available via, so you might view and download from there.