GEF4 is the unified effort of the Graphical Editing Framework (GEF) project team to develop a new code base as a replacement for the current production components Draw2d 3.x, GEF (MVC) 3.x, and Zest 1.x (which are only maintained, but not actively developed further).
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.
A first snapshot release (0.1.0) and a bugfix release (0.2.0), including incompatible changes, have been published as part of the GEF 3.10.0 (Mars) and GEF 3.10.1 (Mars.1) releases. Information about important changes from 0.1.0 to 0.2.0 can be found in New and Noteworthy in 3.10.1. An overview of all significant features added during the Mars release train can in addition be found in New and Noteworthy in 3.10. Information on earlier achievements and plans can be inferred from the talks listed under Further Reading.
Currently, we are working on the 3.11.0/4.0.0 (Neon) release, which will either contain a 0.3.0 or a 1.0.0 release of the GEF4 components. In either case, the release will not be compatible to the Mars.1 (0.2.0) release and will indeed include major refactorings. Please refer to New and Noteworthy in 3.11 to keep updated about the most important changes.
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 Adopter Guide or 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.
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 / Geometry.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).
- Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed Geometry Examples.
- GEF4 FX (FX / FX.SWT / FX.JFace) - 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.
- Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed Layout Examples.
- GEF4 MVC (MVC / MVC.UI / MVC.FX / MVC.FX.UI) - Provides 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.
- Usage of API is demonstrated by a bundled MVC Logo Example, which is available as a standalone application, an Eclipse Workbench UI integrated view, as well as a JNLP-based web application.
- GEF4 Zest (Zest.FX / Zest.FX.JFace / Zest.FX.UI) - Provides support for visualization of GEF4 Graph-based models, integrating automated layout based on GEF4 Layout. Internally built on GEF4 FX and GEF4 MVC.
- Usage of API is demonstrated by a bundled Zest Graph Example, which is available as a standalone application and an Eclipse Workbench UI integrated view, as well as undeployed Zest Examples and Zest JFace Examples.
- GEF4 DOT (DOT / DOT.UI) - Provides a basic GraphViz DOT-Editor (Xtext) as well as a GEF4 Zest-based DOT-visualization.
- Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed DOT Examples.
- 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.
- Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed Cloudio UI Examples.
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. Each component documentation includes references to examples, where applicable.
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 (2015): GEF4 - Mission to Mars Accomplished!, ANy's Argument (Blog)
- 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 Talk), 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