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 GEF 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.
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 and plans 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 Mars M7. From Mars M7 onwards we have been 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 Common (Common) - Provides basic abstractions and infrastructure used by (potentially) all other GEF4 components, including an enhanced adaptable pattern and notification support.
- GEF4 Geometry (Geometry / Geoemtry.Convert.SWT / Geometry.Convert.FX) - Provides different abstractions (Euclidean, Projective, Planar) for 2D geometric calculations, and conversions of planar geometries (curves, shapes, poly shapes) to/from respective SWT, AWT, and JavaFX equivalents (as well as conversions between SWT and AWT geometries).
- 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 data 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 Zest (Zest.FX / Zest.FX.UI) - Visualization framework that supports visualization of GEF4 Graph-based models, integrating automated layout based on GEF4 Layout. Internally, it is built on GEF4 FX and GEF4 MVC.
- GEF4 DOT (DOT / DOT.UI) Provides a basic GraphViz DOT-Editor (Xtext) as well as a GEF4 Zest-based DOT-visualization.
- 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.
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 GEF 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. It includes references to examples.
Further information about the history and current plans, as well as on technical details can be inferred from the following presentations/articles/posts:
- Alexander Nyßen (2014): IAdaptable - GEF4's Interpretation of a Classic, ANy's Argument (Blog)
- Alexander Nyßen (2014): GEF4 - Our mission to Mars, EclipseCon Europe, Ludwigsburg, 2014
- Alexander Nyßen (2014): GEF4 - There's really something going on!, EclipseCon NA, San Francisco (CA), 2014
- Alexander Nyßen (2013): GEF4, RheinJug, Düsseldorf, 2013 , Video (German)
- Alexander Nyßen (2013): GEF4 SwtFX (Lightning Talks), EclipseCon Europe, Ludwigsburg, 2013
- Alexander Nyßen (2013): GEF4 - (Continue to) Share and Enjoy..., EclipseCon NA, Boston (MA), 2013
- Alexander Nyßen (2012): GEF4 - Share And Enjoy..., EclipseCon Europe, Ludwigsburg, 2012
- Alexander Nyßen (2012): GEF - Past, Present, and Future, EclipseCon NA, Reston (VA), 2012