Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GroovyFX vs ScalaFX

Oh, it's on now.

My good friend and new alternative language nemesis, Stephen Chin, published a blog post last night introducing a project he's been working on called ScalaFX. A nice, easy way to write JavaFX 2.0 code in Scala.

I, of course, have been working with Jim Clarke on his GroovyFX project.  Stephen points out that his ScalaFX library creates code that is more concise and more readable than the Java equivalent.  That is undeniably true, but picking on poor Java because it is succinctness-challenged is too easy.  How about picking on a language that can defend itself with respect to conciseness, programmer productivity, and modern language features?

I give you the GroovyFX version of the Colorful Circles demo:
GroovyFX.start { primaryStage ->
  def circles
  def sg = new SceneGraphBuilder(primaryStage)

  sg.stage(title: 'GroovyFX ColorfulCircles', resizable: false, visible: true) {
    scene(width: 800, height: 600, fill: black) {
      group {
        circles = group {
          30.times {
            circle(radius: 200, fill: rgb(255, 255, 255, 0.05), 
                   stroke: rgb(255, 255, 255, 0.16),
                   strokeWidth: 4, strokeType: 'outside')
          effect boxBlur(width: 10, height: 10, iterations: 3)
      rectangle(width: 800, height: 600, blendMode: 'overlay') {
        def stops = ['#f8bd55', '#c0fe56', '#5dfbc1', '#64c2f8', 
                     '#be4af7', '#ed5fc2', '#ef504c', '#f2660f']
        fill linearGradient(start: [0f, 1f], end: [1f, 0f], stops: stops)

    parallelTransition(cycleCount: indefinite, autoReverse: true) {
      def random = new Random()
      circles.children.each { circle ->
        translateTransition(40.s, node: circle, 
                            fromX: random.nextInt(800), fromY: random.nextInt(600),
                            toX: random.nextInt(800), toY: random.nextInt(600))
Update: Stephen updated his version to make it shorter!  He even stole GroovyFX's new gradient stop syntax to do it.  That was low.  :-)  I have no choice but to respond by shortening the GroovyFX version even further.  (Thanks to Jim Clarke for the idea of using the parallelTransition in place of the timeline).

Not only is the GroovyFX version even shorter than the ScalaFX version, it is, in my humble opinion, much more readable.  By my reckoning that's GroovyFX 1, ScalaFX 0.

What will the final score be?  To find out, join Stephen and I for our JavaOne session "JavaFX 2.0 with Alternative Languages" on Wednesday, October 5 at 4:30 PM in the Hotel Nikko.  It should be a great time as Stephen and I battle it out to convince you that our language and library is the best choice for JavaFX development.

Who will be the winner?  Why, developers of course.  No matter which of the two languages you choose, you will have a great JavaFX 2.0 library to go with it!

And here is the psychedelic output of the program, which of course matches Stephen's ScalaFX version and the original Java version.
Happy JavaFX-ing and stay Groovy!