Releases for Substance, Flamingo and more

September 15th, 2008

I am extremely pleased today to announce the availability of official releases for a number of my Swing projects. Synchronizing the release schedules for these projects allows the applications to take stable and well-tested libraries that allow creating modern user interfaces.

Flamingo component suite release 3.1 (code-named Eilinora) is available. The goal of the project is to provide a small and cohesive set of powerful UI components with functionality similar to or superseding that of Vista Explorer and Office 2007, and this release closes many gaps towards realizing this goal. The release notes have the detailed description of the new functionality. Noteable features include:

  • Improvements to SVG transcoder, allowing creating resizable icons. This is used in the new ribbon demoes to make significant performance improvements to the startup phase.
  • Contextual task groups on the ribbon component.
  • Dynamic content of in-ribbon galleries.
  • Decorating the ribbon under Substance plugin, putting the taskbar and contextual task group headers on the title pane.
  • Resizable icons based on .ICO format.
  • Command buttons supporting disabled mode, changing text and changing font.
  • Auto-repeat mode on command buttons.
  • Column-fill mode on command button panels.

Substance look-and-feel release 5.0 is available. Substance has undergone significant internal and external changes to address major performance issues and to ensure the long-term code health of the project. Here is the list of big changes in Substance 5.0:

  • Moving to Java 6 as the minimum runtime requirement.
  • Addressing the performance issues. While the first announced drop was 20% faster than release 4.3, the release candidate is 3.5 times faster on static scenarios and 2.7 times faster on dynamic scenarios as measured by the LightBeam testbed.
  • New client property to allow using per-window skins.
  • Enhanced theming layer.
  • Removed 16 VM flags and left only 2.
  • Removed 15 client properties, consolidated 3 others into 2 and added 1 new.
  • Removed 54 API methods on the main class, pushing some functionality into the theming layer.
  • Consolidated theme pack, watermark pack and button shaper pack into the Extras pack that also provides additional skins.

The following sub-projects are also available as official releases:

Version 4.3 of Substance (the last version that can run on Java 5) is in long-term support mode. At the present moment this version has thirteen bug fixes backported to it from the main development trunk.

Click on the button below to launch a signed WebStart demo that shows the available Substance features:

Click on the button below to launch a WebStart demo that shows the Flamingo ribbon component under Substance look-and-feel:

Click on the button below to launch a signed WebStart demo that shows the SwingX components under Substance:

In addition to Substance and Flamingo that can be used directly by applications, the following projects haven also been officially released:

  • Laf-Plugin release 1.0 (code-named Vile Weed) is available. The goal of this project is to provide a generic plugin framework for look-and-feels and define the interface of a common kind of plugins – the component plugins.
  • Laf-Widget release 4.0 (code-named Iris) is available. The goal of this project is to provide support for and base set of additional behaviour and widgets in look-and-feels.
  • Rainbow release 1.1 (code-named Nightstone) is available. The goal of this project is to illustrate various animation, transition and translucency techniques.

It has been a long journey. Flamingo 3.1 development has started in February, and i would like to thank Gunnar A. Reinseth, Pedro Duque Vieira, Kenneth Flynn in particular for their invaluable feedback during the development cycle. Substance 5.0 development has started in April, and i would like to thank all the early adopters for testing the development drops and providing their feedback in the project forums and mailing lists.

The work on both Flamingo and Substance is not finished. The plans for the next Flamingo release are available at the end of this entry, and plans for the next Substance releases will be published on this blog. If you are interested in using Substance to its fullest potential, you’re welcome to read the “From Photoshop to code” series.