My valiant attempt to install JavaFX 1.2 into NetBeans 6.7

By | 2009-07-01

If you follow NetBeans development, you know that NetBeans 6.7 has been released this week. By far the friendliest IDE for JavaFX development has been NetBeans. However, in a very surprising twist, the latest NetBeans 6.7 release does not include the JavaFX SDK 1.2. Instead, the download’s information page clearly indicates that you’ll need NetBeans 6.5.1 if you also want JavaFX.

I’m sure there’s a good reason for not including JavaFX with NB 6.7. No one has said a thing to me, but I suspect he reason for not including JavaFX 1.2 is the JDK requirement. JavaFX requires Java SE 1.6 Update 13, and Update 14 is recommended. NetBeans requires only JDK 5 Update 18. Perhaps the NetBeans team doesn’t want to require Java SE 6 Update 13, even though the JavaFX team apparently must.

The NetBeans team didn’t include JavaFX 1.2 “in the box”. Maybe they want you to be able to continue using NetBeans on the older JDK? The JavaFX team, on the other hand, does not have the same large user base. They can require an upgrade to Java SE 6 U13 because, well….they simply don’t leave too many existing users behind by doing so. That’s reasonable I think, but it leaves you wondering whether JavaFX SDK 1.2 will even work on NetBeans 6.7. I mean…the NetBeans site doesn’t actually tell us whether it works.

Of course, I had to try to install the JavaFX SDK 1.2 anyway.

First, the JavaFX SDK plugin simply doesn’t appear in the list of available plugins for NB 6.7. That’s ok, you can add the NB 6.5.1 update site to the list of plugin repositories.

Once you do this, the JavaFX plugins show up in the plugin catalog:

Now that’s exciting to see. You’re just a single “Install” button click away!

Or so I thought…no. As soon as I pressed the “Install” button on the plugins page, a warning/error dialog tells me that an unmet dependency stands in the way. Something called the “Editor Hint” plugin is necessary:

Suppose we just forget the referenced “JavaFX Kit”? Would that work? I unchecked the JavaFX Kit plugin. Nope. The next complaint is against the weather example plugin. OK, let’s get rid of that. Now the only thing selected is the JavaFX SDK itself. After pressing the “Install” button again, I watch NetBeans 6.7 download and install the “JavaFX SDK for Windows”. OK so far, but I’m not sure what I’m going to miss without the JavaFX Kit plugin.

Other than a short message about the unsigned nature of the plugin, this JavaFX SDK plugin appears to install without a problem. But what does it give me? I quickly realized that all the JavaFX Project and JavaFX file type references that usually show up in the New Project and New File dialogs just aren’t available yet. Hmmm….that “JavaFX Kit” plugin is necessary after all. I bet it contains exactly what’s needed to add JavaFX file types to NetBeans. But that requires something called the “Editor Hints” plugin….sigh.

I’ve checked around the NetBeans plugin site. I can’t seem to find the “Editor Hints” plugin. If you know anything about it, let me know. Until then, we’ll have no JavaFX 1.2 in NetBeans 6.7. I feel like I’m close, very close. So come on Joshua M, Jasper P., one of you guys…if you’re listening….give me a hint. I know you know how to make this work…even though it’s not “officially” supported by NB 6.7 yet. 🙂

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