Radiance 5.0.0

October 29th, 2021

As detailed in the previous post, Radiance 5.0.0 is out now. It marks a fresh milestone for the Swing libraries I’ve been working on since 2004, and closes the first major chapter in the journey to unify and streamline the way Swing developers can integrate my libraries into their projects.

This document details the changes made to modules, packages and individual API classes.

The next major undertaking for Radiance is to move towards direct rendering with no offscreen bitmaps. That might take a bit longer than the usual 6-month cycle. Keep on eye on this tracker for the progress.

It gives me great pleasure to announce the seventh major release of Radiance. Let’s get to what’s been fixed, and what’s been added. First, I’m going to use emojis to mark different parts of it like this:

💔 marks an incompatible API / binary change
🎁 marks new features
🔧 marks bug fixes and general improvements

Dependencies for core libraries

  • Gradle from 7.1 to 7.2
  • Kotlin from 1.5.10 to 1.5.31
  • Kotlin coroutines from 1.5.0 to 1.5.2

Neon

Substance

Flamingo

  • 🎁💔 Add reference to the ribbon as a parameter to all OnShowContextualMenuListener methods
  • 🎁💔 Align icon theming across all Flamingo components
  • 🔧 Fix layout of command buttons in TILE layout under RTL
  • 🔧 Fix visuals of horizontal command button strips under RTL
  • 🔧 Fix layout of anchored command buttons under RTL
  • 🔧 Fix layout of command button popup content under RTL
  • 🔧 Fix issues with updating ribbon gallery content

Photon

  • 💔 Remove SvgBatikIcon and SvgBatikNeonIcon
  • 💔 Move Photon to be under tools

General

As with the earlier release 4.0.0, this release has mostly been focused on stabilizing and improving the overall API surface of the various Radiance modules. As always, I’d love for you to take this Radiance release for a spin. Click here to get the instructions on how to add Radiance to your builds. And don’t forget that all of the modules require Java 9 to build and run.

And now for the next big thing or two.

I will take the next two weeks to fix any bugs or regressions that are reported on the 4.5.0 release. On the week of October 18th, all Radiance modules are going to undergo a major refactoring. While Radiance unified all of the Swing projects that I’ve been working on since around 2004, this unification was rather superficial. It made it easier to have inter-module dependencies. It made it easier to write documentation. It made it easier to schedule coordinated releases. But it didn’t make it easier to see what Radiance is.

In the last year or so I kept on asking myself the same questions over and over again.

If I started with these libraries today, will they still be using these disjointed codenames (Neon, Trident, Substance, Flamingo, not to talk about Torch, Apollo, Zodiac, Meteor, Ember, Plasma, Spyglass, Beacon, etc)? For somebody who wants to deep dive into the implementation details, are there places that are internally inconsistent? For an app developer who wants to get the most out of these libraries, does Radiance provide an externally approachable and consistent set of APIs?

The first step I’m taking to answer at least some of these questions is moving away from the codenames, and renaming everything based on the functional boundaries. And by everything I mean everything – modules, classes, methods, fields, variables, etc. It’s going to be a huge breaking change. But it’s something that I feel is way overdue for a project of this complexity. More specifically:

  • org.pushingpixels.trident -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.animation
  • org.pushingpixels.neon -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.common
  • org.pushingpixels.substance -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.theming
  • org.pushingpixels.flamingo -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.component
  • org.pushingpixels.substance.extras -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.theming.extras
  • org.pushingpixels.ember -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.theming.ktx
  • org.pushingpixels.meteor -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.swing.ktx
  • org.pushingpixels.plasma -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.component.ktx
  • org.pushingpixels.torch -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.animation.ktx
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.apollo -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.schemeeditor
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.beacon -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.themingdebugger
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.hyperion -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.shapereditor
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.ignite -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.svgtranscoder.gradle
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.lightbeam -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.lafbenchmark
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.photon -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.svgtranscoder
  • org.pushingpixels.tools.zodiac -> org.pushingpixels.radiance.tools.screenshot

Classes that used codenames, such as SubstanceLookAndFeel, TridentConfig etc will be renamed to follow the functionality of the matching API sub-surface. For example:

  • SubstanceCortex -> RadianceLafCortex
  • TridentCortex -> RadianceAnimationCortex
  • SubstanceButtonUI -> RadianceButtonUI

This first round of refactoring will be the next Radiance release. It will not move classes between modules. It will not add or remove modules, classes or methods. Migrating from 4.5 to 5.0 will require a lot of import refactoring, and some amount of refactoring – wherever you are calling Radiance APIs in your code. Once 5.0 is out, the next release will have follow-up refactorings for cleaning up places that have not aged well.

What’s the other big thing that I alluded to earlier? I want to provide support for consistent application of custom visuals across all supported Swing components. In Substance, this is done with painters. Due to a complicated nature of some of these painters, pretty much since the very beginning Substance has been using cached off-screen bitmaps to maintain a good performance footprint. The very first time a component needs to be rendered in a certain visual state, Substance renders those visuals to an offscreen bitmap. Next time, if we already have a cached bitmap that matches the current state, we reuse it by rendering that bitmap on the screen.

While this model has served Substance (and, by extension, the Flamingo components) rather well, it has started to show significant cracks over the last few years. You can see more information in this bug tracker on the underlying issues, but the gist of it is rather simple – screens with fractional DPI settings (125% or 150%, for example) do not play well with rendering offscreen bitmaps. The end result is that rendering a hairline (one-pixel wide) element can be fuzzy, distorted, or not there at all on the screen.

It is going to be a long road, and it might mean that it might take longer than usual to get the next Radiance release out the door. My current goal is that by the end of it, Radiance does not use any offscreen bitmaps for any of its rendering, and that everything is rendered directly onto the passed graphics object. Lightbeam will certainly come in handy all through that process. Wait, excuse me, Lightbeam will be no more in a couple weeks. It’s going to be Radiance LAF Benchmark instead.

 

Radiance 4.0.0

June 17th, 2021

It gives me great pleasure to announce the sixth major release of Radiance. Let’s get to what’s been fixed, and what’s been added. First, I’m going to use emojis to mark different parts of it like this:

💔 marks an incompatible API / binary change
🎁¬†marks new features
🔧 marks bug fixes and general improvements

Dependencies for core libraries

  • Gradle from 6.6.1 to 7.1
  • Kotlin from 1.4.10 to 1.5.10
  • Kotlin coroutines from 1.3.9 to 1.5.0

Substance

Flamingo

  • 🎁¬†Add support for keyboard accelerators on ribbon commands
  • 🔧 Fix ribbon application menu border color on skin switch
  • 🔧 Fix exception on skin switch when the ribbon application menu is not shown
  • 🔧 Fix for various visuals on multi-monitor setup with different screen densities
  • 🔧 Fix even-odd coloring of command button panel groups
  • 💔 Tweak implementation of FIT_TO_ICON command button layout manager

Trident

  • 💔 Rename TridentConfig to TridentCortex

As with the earlier release 3.5.0, this release has mostly been focused on stabilizing and improving the overall API surface of the various Radiance modules. There’s still a long road ahead to continue exploring the never-ending depths of what it takes to write elegant and high-performing desktop applications in Swing. If you’re in the business of writing just such apps, I’d love for you to take this Radiance release for a spin. Click here to get the instructions on how to add Radiance to your builds. And don’t forget that all of the modules require Java 9 to build and run.

Substance comes with built-in support for animating state transitions for the core Swing components, as well as for all the Flamingo components.

Let’s take a look at this screenshot from the component states documentation:

Here we see how one of the Substance skins (Office Silver 2007) provides different visuals for different component states – light yellow for rollover, light orange for selected, deeper orange for pressed, etc. As the component – such as JButton in this case – reacts to the user interaction and changes state, Substance smoothly animates the visuals of that component to reflect the new state. In the case of our JButton, that includes the inner fill, the border and the text.

This comes particularly handy for skins that mix light and dark visuals for different states of the same component. Here is the same UI under the Magellan skin:

Note how the selected button uses light text on dark background, while the rollover selected button uses dark text on light background. If your UI uses the Magellan skin (or any other skin that uses a mix of light and dark color schemes), Substance will do the right thing to animate all relevant parts of your UI as the user interacts with it.

What about the icons?

This is a screenshot of the main Substance demo app running under the Nebula Amethyst skin. As UIs with lots of icons can get pretty busy, Substance provides APIs to theme the icons based on the current skin visuals.

The APIs are in the SubstanceCortex class, one in the GlobalScope to apply on all icons in your app, and one in the ComponentScope to configure icon theming for the specific control:

  • SubstanceCortex.GlobalScope.setIconThemingType for global icon theming
  • SubstanceCortex.ComponentScope.setIconThemingType for per-component icon theming

At the present moment, two icon theming types are supported. The first is SubstanceSlices.IconThemingType.USE_ENABLED_WHEN_INACTIVE which works best for multi-color / multi-tone icons and Substance skins with multi-color color schemes. Here is the same UI with this icon theming type:

Take a look at the icons in the toolbar. The icon for the active / selected button (bold A) is still in full original color, but the rest of the icons have been themed with the colors of the enabled color scheme configured for the toolbar area of the Nebula Amethyst skin. This work well in this particular case because:

  • The original Tango icons have enough contrast to continue being easily recognizable when they are themed in what is essentially a mono-chrome purple color palette
  • Nebula Amethyst skin uses color schemes with different background colors for the ultra light to ultra dark range, so that when these colors are used to theme the original icons, the icons remain crisp and legible.

The second option is SubstanceSlices.IconThemingType.FOLLOW_FOREGROUND which works best for single-tone icons found in such popular icon packs as Material, Ionicons, Friconix, Flexicons, Font Awesome and many others:

In this screenshot of the same UI from earlier under the Magellan skin, all the buttons use the same help icon from the Material icon pack converted by Photon. At runtime, Substance themes the icon to follow the foreground / text color of the button for a consistent look across all component states.