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Revision as of 16:30, 26 January 2016 by (Talk | contribs) (Current Status)

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.

Current Status

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 earlier 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 4.0.0 (Neon) release, which will contain a 1.0.0 release of the GEF4 components. It will not be compatible to the Mars.1 (0.2.0) release and indeed includes major refactorings. Please refer to New and Noteworthy in 3.11 to keep updated about the most important changes.

Developer Resources

As an adopter, please consult the GEF Adopter Guide that describes in a step-by-step manner how to setup your environment in order to develop your client code against GEF4. As a contributor/committer, please consult the GEF Contributor Guide that describes how to checkout and compile the sources, execute a headless Tycho-build, provide a patch, and more.

In either case, all relevant information about where 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.

The reference documentation for each GEF4 component is referenced from within the components section on this page. Each component documentation includes references to examples, where applicable.

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.


The naming of the components' sub-modules indicate their UI-toolkit and Eclipse UI dependencies. That is, module names containing '.SWT', '.JFace', or '.FX' indicate a respective dependency to SWT, JFace, or JavaFX. Module names containing '.UI' indicate a dependency to the Eclipse UI. Please not that '.FX' is only used to indicate dependencies on the JavaFX UI toolkit and that JavaFX collections and properties are used throughout (except by GEF4 Geometry and GEF4 Cloudio).

Idea.png 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).
Idea.png Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed FX Examples and FX SWT Examples.
  • 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.
Idea.png 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.
Idea.png 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.
Idea.png 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.
Idea.png 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.
Idea.png Usage of API is demonstrated by undeployed Cloudio UI Examples.

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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