Automatic Conversion of Swing Applications to AJAX websites

IMPORTANT: WebCream has been enhanced with AJAX functionality and renamed to AjaxSwing. This site is discontinued. Please follow the link to the new and improved site.
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WebCream automatically converts Java Swing and AWT applications into fully-functional HTML and AJAX websites. WebCream can be thought of as a runtime Java to HTML converter that migrates Java graphical user interface to a browser-based front end. It then emulates user actions as GUI events for the Swing application to ensure that the business logic executes correctly. WebCream is unique in that it requires no modifications to existing applications, and does not require programmers to learn any APIs other then AWT/Swing. The same application can be run as thick Swing client or as a browser-based AJAX rich client. This allows companies to leverage the time and money invested into building Swing applications, while enjoying the benefits of thin-client deployment. For a full list of features see the Features page.

Our product has been used by numerous clients since year 2000 and most of them have been able to convert the applications in less then a week. Conversion is a simple matter of installing WebCream and creating a configuration file for the application. Naturally, not all applications are well-suited for browser-based model, especially those with a lot of custom components. WebCream is ideally suited for form-based applications that fit into the request-response approach

Continuing improvements to modern browsers and the emergence of Rich Internet Applications (RIA) has elevated the user experience with the web-based user interface to that of the thick client. Today the functionality of web applications easily matches and at times exceeds that of Java applications developed using Swing. Even though there is no standard and no dominant platform for developing RIA the choice is clear the web is not getting built on Swing. Overwhelming majority of the web sites are built using AJAX, a combination of HTML, JavaScript and asynchronous XML requests. WebCream provides a natural migration path for Swing applications by providing automatic conversion to AJAX. Our product supports every standard Swing component by providing an AJAX version that runs in the browser.

 

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Giving Browser-Based Interface to Swing applications

WebCream has been used to web-enable numerous Java applications including SwingSet, a standard demo program that comes with JFC, demonstrating all possible widgets and containers of Swing. To see a demonstration of WebCream live, check out our Demos page.

Companies that has invested years of development time and hundreds of thousands of IT budgets into building Swing user interface have a tough decision to make. They can continue to develop using Swing and deploy using WebStart, which requires client-side maintenance and is not a true thin client. Modern user demands a thin client so this path is not a long term solution. The other choice is to rewrite the user interface from scratch using J2EE and an AJAX framework such as Google Web Toolkit (GWK), Yahoo User Interface Library (YUL), AJAX-enabled JSF or a set of open source components. While this path has long term advantages, it requires a heavy investment of time and resources into rebuilding what the company already has, and due to the lack of standards there is no clear choice on which AJAX framework to use.

JavaWorld reviews WebCream
This software is available in several editions, including a free standard edition. To download a free web-enabling Java utility edition go to download. This HTML generation utility can be used in a number of ways to address various problems of Java performance, Swing applets in the browser and Java to HTML conversion. Some of the solutions are presented in solutions section.

To illustrate how the product works, the images below show how a sample GUI application looks in HTML when WebCream is used. On the left the snapshots show a running GUI application (the source). On the right, the same application is managed by WebCream and the windows are represented by pages in the browser.

Java Application
HTML Page

If you would like to understand how WebCream generates HTML for AWT and Swing applications and applets or if you need more technical information you can find it in the white paper document.

 

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