It is with great pleasure that I announce on-time availability of Sapphire 0.3 release. This release includes numerous enhancements, some of which I will briefly describe. Current users of 0.2.x line will want to consult the migration guide.
Before we get to the new features, it is important to take a few minutes to thank all the people who made this release possible. Shenxue Zhou is a new committer on the project and has been working hard to bring us diagram editing support. A key new features in this release. The community around Sapphire has grown substantially in the last few months. Many of the enhancements that you will find in this release are based on ideas and requirements brought by the new adopters. All of the adopters deserve a thank you, but I will call out one by name. Greg Amerson (Liferay) has progressed very quickly from an adopter to a contributors. Five patches from Greg are in the 0.3 release. Greg has the distinction of being the first non-Oracle contributor to Sapphire. Last but not least, several members of Oracle QA has pitched in to verify enhancements and fixed bugs.
Without further ado, I present the enhancements in the 0.3 release…
Diagram Editing – Define diagram UI just as easily as a form. Sapphire declarative UI language has been expanded to cover basic diagram concepts. This feature opens the door for very sophisticated editors that provide diagram, form and source views on the same data. Yet, no matter how many diagram, form and source views on the data you define, Sapphire keeps everything in sync with n-way synchronization.
Properties View Integration – Easily attach properties view content to diagram nodes, connections, form outline nodes, etc. using the same UI definition facilities as the editor. Sapphire will automatically inject that content into the standard Eclipse properties view when that part has selection.
UI Definition Editor – Spend less time trying to get sdef syntax right with the new form-based editor for Sapphire UI Definition files. The editor is, of course, itself built using Sapphire.
Expression Language Enhancements – Use EL in more areas of model and UI specification than before. The EL itself is now even more powerful with better handling of collections and support for custom type casts among other features.
Modularity Improvements – Use Sapphire in more scenarios than before. The core modeling framework now only requires Java. Add integration with OSGi, Eclipse platform resources, JDT, etc. by installing separate modules.
Miscellaneous Enhancements – Embed snippets of HTML into a form, show related content next to a property editor, choose from three layouts for a checkbox, specify editor header image, define collapsible sections, the list goes on. Head over to the enhancements guide for all the details.
Of course, no release of a UI framework would be complete without screen captures. Here are a few to wet your appetite…