Best JavaFX Libraries for Beautiful Apps

By Best JavaFX Libraries for Beautiful Apps

In this article, I shall note down the best JavaFX libraries for developing beautiful apps for your clients. JavaFX is mainly used for creating desktop applications, and it's intended to replace Java Swing. JavaFX comes with a decent default theme called Modena and many in-built UI controls like Form Controls, TableView, TreeTableView, ListView, Datepicker, WebView, etc. FXML is used to create the user interface for JavaFX application. We earlier on laid down differences between JavaFX vs HTML5, and now we shall see the best JavaFX libraries for beautiful apps. The great thing about JavaFX is that most widgets support custom styling with the CSS.

We'll focus on the open-source JavaFX libraries that help you make your JavaFX applications better. First, our quick pick will be:

  1. JFoenix
  2. BootstrapFX
  3. FontawesomeFX
  4. MigLayout
  5. Medusa
  6. TilesFX
  7. JSilhouette
  8. JideFX
  9. RichTextFX
  10. JFXtras
  11. ControlsFX
  12. Gluon Maps
  13. Orson Charts
  14. Ikonli
  15. TestFX

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Now let’s quickly discuss the above JavaFX libraries.

1. MigLaout

MigLayout is a superbly versatile layout manager that makes layout problems trivial. MigLayout's layout engine is written in pure Java, with no dependencies on UI toolkits. User interfaces created with MigLayout is easy to maintain. You will understand how the layout will look like just by looking at the source code. You can whip up a pretty UI that is reasonable about aligning your elements into rows and columns automatically in no time. MigLayout is free to use for commercial and non-commercial projects, and it is open-source, the code is provided for free. You can access Miglayout from google code.

2. JFoenix

JFoenix is an implementation of the JavaFX material design library. It comes with a plethora of UI components that resemble material design guidelines and very many animations such as sliding menus, flying in and out popups, date pickers, color pickers, etc.

3. BootstrapFX

BootstrapFX is another excellent look and feel library that is a partial port of Twitter Bootstrap for JavaFX. It mainly provides a CSS stylesheet that closely resembles the original while being custom-tailored for JavaFX's unique CSS flavor. Twitter Bootstrap delivers more than just a standardized look for common widgets. It also provides new widgets, behavior, and a grid system. Some of these features may be ported at a later stage to BootstrapFX.

4. FontawesomeFX

Fontawesome is a web icon font that provides a lot of images to use on elements and beautify them. FontawesomeFX gives you access to font-awesome icons. Web icons are lightweight and consist of scalable vector images hence perfectly fits into JavaFX. 

5. Ikonli

Ikonli also deals with icons and provides access to developer icons, weather icons, font-awesome icons, etc. It enables developers to customize the icons and also offer possibilities to use stacked icons in a circle.

6. Medusa

Medusa is a JavaFX library that provides widgets for Gauges by Gerrit Grunwald. The main focus of Medusa is to provide Gauges that can be configured in multiple ways. It has very beautiful widgets for reporting metrics, and if you are doing any reporting widget, you should consider using Medusa.

7. TilesFX

TilesFX is also a JavaFX widget library by Gerrit. TilesFX is a JavaFX library containing tiles for super fun dashboards. It offers a set of tile widgets for all reporting projects, such as weather and data presentation.

8. JSilhouette

JSilhouette provides additional shapes for Java applications. The shapes in the default JavaFX library are limited, and if you want to use custom shapes like a star, arrows, donuts, you can use JSilhouette. It is a handy extension library for custom shapes.

9. JideFX

JideFX is a collection of various extensions and utilities for to JavaFX platform. The JideFX Common Layer is the equivalent to the JIDE Common Layer in the JIDE components for Swing. It provides widgets like search widgets, tooltips, formatted text fields, numeric text fields with validation, etc. 

10. RichTextFX

RichTextFX provides a text area for JavaFX with API to style ranges of text. It is intended to create rich-text editors and code editors. If you want to display well-formatted text of use custom syntax highlight, then RichTextFX library is the best.

11. JFXtras

JFXtras is a supporting library for JavaFX, containing helper classes, extended layouts, controls, and other interesting widgets like calendar, date and time picker, menus that pop up on click, etc.

12. ControlsFX

ControlsFX is an open-source project for JavaFX that aims to provide really high-quality UI controls and other tools to complement the core JavaFX distribution. Currently, you can find widgets like the bread-crumb-bar, different button bars, decorators for the input fields for CSS, fonts, etc.

13. Gluon Maps

Gluon Maps is a JavaFX map library that provides a nice looking map controller. It has a dual licensing, GPL3, or a dual license that you can purchase and use it in a non-GPL3 app.

14. OrsonCharts

OrsonCharts provides a wide range of various charts that are better looking than the standard JavaFX solutions. If you are into charts, then you should consider using OrsonCharts.

15. TestFX

TestFX is aimed at testing JavaFX applications. It provides simple and clean testing for JavaFX applications and the components in it. It comes with a nice DSL that embodies the UI interactions like clicks and drag & drop. The following is sample code provided in TestFX readme.

@Test
public void should_drag_file_into_trashcan() {
  // given:
  rightClickOn("#desktop").moveTo("New").clickOn("Text Document");
  write("myTextfile.txt").push(ENTER);
  // when:
  drag(".file").dropTo("#trash-can");
  // then:
  verifyThat("#desktop", hasChildren(0, ".file"));
}

Conclusion

Those are the best open source JavaFX libraries for beautiful apps you should not miss. This is not the full list because there are many other JavaFX libraries you will find on the internet. The libraries we have listed will be great for you in case you are new to JavaFX, or you want to get better in JavaFX.

If you are not sure which JavaFX libraries you should use for your application, don’t hesitate and reach me here support@ericmuchenah.com, and I will personally get back to you with a list of the best JavaFX libraries for beautiful apps.

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our list of best JavaFX libraries. Applause for you being so patient and curious! Please share the article with your friends and fellow JavaFX developers!


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Eric Murithi Muchenah

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