Pushing Pixels: the best of 2009

December 30th, 2009

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to review what has happened on this blog over the last twelve months. I’ll start the top ten most read posts, and then list my own favorites.

Let’s start with the top ten most read posts published in 2009 as measured by Google Analytics:

  1. Introducing Trident – animation library for Java applications has marked the beginning of the long journey to extract the internal animation layer from Substance and make it available as a general purpose library. Published in February, has around 4,300 reads.
  2. Project Marble – augmented reality in Java with JMF, Java3D, NYArToolkit and Trident is about mashing together a few libraries and adding a touch of virtual reality to the real world. Marble has not progressed beyond that entry due to the work i’ve been doing on Trident, Substance and Flamingo. Published in July, has around 3,700 reads.
  3. Translucent and shaped windows in JDK 7 talks about the published APIs to manipulate top-level windows. This combined with the inclusion of JXLayer (renamed JLayer) is the only client-facing enhancement in Java 7 known so far. Published in May, has around 3,200 reads.
  4. First signs of Nimbus designer in JDK 7 has kept the community hopes of finally seeing the much hyped (at JavaOne and other conferences) visual tool for creating Synth-based look-and-feels. For now Nimbus designer has proven even more elusive than JWebPane hinted to be included in NetBeans 6.9. Published in April, has around 3,100 reads.
  5. New Dust skin for Swing applications showcased one of the new skins added in Substance 5.3 based on the artwork done by Rico Sta Cruz and Kido Mariano for Ubuntu. Published in March, has around 2,700 reads
  6. Trident part 7 – parallel timelines in Swing and SWT is part of a longer series that talks about the Trident animation library. Published in June, has around 2,400 reads.
  7. Revolutionizing media playing in Java talks about a new Java-based media player. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that much work has been done on this project after the beta 0.7 has been published back in July. Published in March, has around 2,100 reads.
  8. New Twilight skin for Swing applications showcased another new skin added in Substance 5.3, inspired by the color schemes of the Bespin web code editor spearheaded by Ben (@bgalbs) and Dion (@dalmaer). Published in April, has around 1,900 reads.
  9. Animation blueprints for Swing – main application window has kicked off the deeper look into how Trident animation library can be used to add rich animation effects to Swing and SWT applications. Published in May, has around 1,800 reads.
  10. Substance goals for 2009 talked about refining and refocusing the goal of Substance look-and-feel, outlining the five goals that drove the development of this library throughout the year. Published in January, has around 1,800 reads.

While these have been the readers’ favorites, a few entries that didn’t enjoy a wider readership are worth highlighting. These are my personal favorites that were published in 2008:

  1. Substance goals for 2009 is the only entry from the “most popular” list that is going to appear here. These five goals have driven all the design and implementation decisions that went into the project over the last 12 months.
  2. Why i do open source is for those who wonder why i spend my free time in front of the computer and then give away pretty much everything.
  3. The devil is in the details zoomed in on the finer visual details of the Woopra desktop client, including information organization, color palette choices, and translucent overlays. You can continue to demand the same level of pixel loving from Substance 6.0 and beyond, as evidenced by the work on combo boxes, spinners and text components.
  4. A peek into Substance internals gives a high level overview of the internal implementation details of Substance and is a good starting point for those who want to explore how the library works.
  5. Close your Swing / SWT windows in style demonstrates what Trident can do in just a few lines of code.

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