We’ve had an amazing amount of interest in our Gluon Mobile ‘Glisten’ library since revealing it in March, and the inbox has been flooded since our first teaser trailer came out. In this post we wanted to give you a few more details on what Glisten is, how you’ll use it, and who it is targeted for. If you have any other questions, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help clarify things.
Firstly, for anyone who missed it, here is our first teaser trailer:
Gluon Glisten is one of the sub-components of the forthcoming Gluon Mobile library. The focus of Glisten is to make your Java apps shine! It includes a simple application framework, as well as custom UI controls and customization to existing JavaFX UI controls to ensure that your apps fit in on mobile and embedded devices. The design has been strongly guided by the Google Material Design style, which is perfectly suited to devices with constrained screen real estate. We do not stringently follow Material Design, but we feel that it is an excellent set of guiding principles.
Gluon Glisten provides an application framework that is more suited to mobile devices (but still very useful for desktop and embedded devices!). The application framework is based around the concept of views, and switching between views is a trivial action. Each view can consist of multiple layers, for things like floating action buttons, slide in cards, overlays, etc. Most action takes place on the base layer of the view, but there is a simple to use API to add and show layers on top of views, or indeed over the whole application (through the use of the glasspane API we offer – which is also used by dialogs, side popups, etc).
As we build out the Gluon Glisten library, we are simultaneously building a number of sample applications. These applications let us ‘eat our own dog food’, and so far the API we have created has proven to be very functional and meets our needs very well. The next step (coming very soon) will be the publicly available developer preview releases, where you can uses the library and give us your thoughts on it. Keep an eye on this blog, or our Twitter stream, for more details.
Most of the UI controls in Gluon Glisten are simply JavaFX UI controls with different styles applied to them. These styles make the controls more usable on mobile devices. You can see some of what we’ve done in the screenshots below.
Who should use Gluon Glisten? The answer is really anyone who wants to write a single application in Java (or another JVM-based language) and have it run across desktop, mobile, and embedded devices. We’ve spoken to a huge number of companies who have massive investments in Java applications, and are not wanting to have to rewrite these investments to work on Android and iOS. In these instances, you can keep your Java code and use Gluon Glisten (along with the rest of the forthcoming Gluon Mobile library) to rapidly get your software working on a range of devices in a visually pleasing manner.
It is important that we conclude this post with a discussion on open source and licensing. Gluon Glisten is built on the shoulders of open source giants: the open source JavaFXPorts and RoboVM allow for the Gluon Mobile library to run on Android and iOS devices, our UI toolkit of choice is the open source JavaFX, and our favorite language is the open source Java (although we support any JVM-based language). Gluon as a company is a major supporter of open source too – our team consists of developers responsible for libraries such as JavaFXPorts, DataFX, and ControlsFX. We have also open sourced the Down library, a sub-component of the Gluon Mobile library for connecting to various device-specific APIs (e.g. storage, cameras, GPS, etc), and are releasing builds of the JavaFX Scene Builder library.
Despite this, we plan for Gluon Glisten to be a commercial library. This enables us to ensure that we can allocate enough developer time to create an excellent, high-quality API, and offer support and training services around it. We feel that if developers can leverage the Glisten library to enhance their products (and more rapidly get to market), then Glisten has provided a valuable service, and therefore its expense can hopefully be justified. As open source developers we feel conflicted about this, but realize that the problem we are trying to solve requires time and dedication away from other paying jobs, our families, and friends. These sacrifices require us to make this decision, and we appreciate that already our customers are showing an eagerness to support us by buying commercial licenses once they become available. Developers of open source projects can expect to receive free licenses for these projects – just reach out and let us know!
We’ll be back on this blog soon to share more details about how things are progressing. As we said at the beginning, contact us if you have any questions.