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GEF4 is the unified effort of the Graphical Editing Framework (GEF) project team to develop a new GEF 4.x code base as a modernization of the current production components Draw2d 3.x, GEF (MVC) 3.x, and Zest 1.x.

Being developed in parallel to maintaining the production components, GEF4 is set up in terms of smaller, more lightweight components, uses JavaFX instead of SWT as rendering technology, and allows to build up graphical applications for Eclipse (using a JavaFX-SWT-integration) as well as standalone.

Please note that all GEF4 API is still provisional, i.e. there is no released API yet. Therefore, all API-packages are exported with the x-internal directive. To differentiate them from non-API packages, all non-API packages are explicitly named as 'internal' and are either not exported by the bundle manifest, or only via an x-friends directive (if they are used in other test bundles, etc.). You may want to consult the Contributor Guide for details on how to set up your IDE to get rid of any restricted access warnings that are caused by this policy.

Current Status

All GEF4 components are part of the GEF 3.10.0 (Mars) contribution to the Mars simultaneous release. An overview of the significant features added during the Mars release train can be found in the New and Noteworthy in 3.10. Information on earlier achievements can be inferred from the talks listed under further reading.

Having complete the migration of the Zest 2.x code base to GEF4 with Mars M6 (see #372365 for details), we have worked on closing parts of the remaining functional gap between GEF4 and GEF 3.x up to M7. From M7 onwards we are now concentrating on augmenting the javadoc and reference documentation.

Components / Reference Documentation

GEF4 is internally constituted of the following nine components (with their respective sub-modules). The reference documentation for each component may be accessed via the component links. You may also consult the Further Reading-section for additional information.


  • GEF4 FX (FX / FX.UI) - Provides support for rendering GEF4 Geometry-based shapes, as well as abstractions that are needed in the context of graphical editors and views, i.e. visual anchor implementations and a connection abstraction. Also enhances the JavaFX-SWT-Integration with forwarding of touch gestures and provides proper support for embedding SWT Controls via a generic adapter into a JavaFX scene graph (within the context of the JavaFX SWT integration).
  • GEF4 Graph (Graph) Provides a simply, UI-independent data-model (Graph, Node, Edge) for representing directed graphs. Is used as input/output model by GEF4 DOT and underlying visualization-model for GEF4 Zest.
  • GEF4 Layout (Layout) - Provides layout algorithm implementations as well as a model facade to adapt layout model data for these algorithms.
  • GEF4 MVC (MVC / MVC.UI / MVC.FX / MVC.FX.UI) - The core model-view-controller framework to build up graphical editors and views. Provides an UI toolkit independent and a JavaFX specific layer, as well as Eclipse-UI integration for both. Can be used to build standalone and Eclipse-integrated editors and views.
  • GEF4 Cloudio (Coudio.UI) - Provides support for visualizing tag clouds. Is based on SWT/JFace, integrated in the Eclipse UI, and will (at least for now) not be ported to JavaFX.

Developer Resources

All relevant information about how to obtain our source code, where to find our Hudson build jobs, update sites (CI, milestones, releases), mailing lists, or our forum, etc. can all be found in the respective sections of the GEF project dashboard. In addition to this, there is a dedicated Contributor Guide that describes how to setup a workspace, provide a patch, execute a headless Tycho-build, and more.

The reference documentation for each GEF4 component is referenced from within the components section.

Further Reading

Further information about the history and current plans, as well as on technical details can be inferred from the following presentations/articles/posts:

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