java-gnome 4.0.8 released!

This blog post is an extract of the release note from the NEWS file which you can read online … or in the sources, of course!


java-gnome 4.0.8 (15 Aug 2008)

Cleanups and fixups.

This release is mostly to push out bug fixes and internal improvements, setting the stage for some major new feature development. We’ve also taken the opportunity to introduce a major change to the way we connect handlers for signals.

New coverage and continuing improvement

With thanks to new contributors Stefan Prelle and Andreas Kuehntopf we have a number of small improvements to the TreeView/TreeModel APIs. As always, Widget and Window saw a bunch of work, with Window.ConfigureEvent now being available and a number of additional property setters and methods relating to window type. Widgets that scroll around a view of a broader underlying canvas have seen a fair bit of activity related to controlling that scrolling.

New features include refinements and new coverage of methods in a variety of lower level classes including that further support drawing operations. Bug fixes, debugging improvements, and defencive enhancements to our thread safety measures have also featured largely.

Signal naming change

The names of the inner interfaces used to specify the prototypes of the methods which receive signal callbacks have changed to the pattern Button.Clicked, this being more appropriate to Java type naming conventions and providing better consistency between the signal name, the method to be implemented to receive the callback, and the method that can be used to emit this signal.

API compatibility to previous releases in the 4.0 series has been preserved. The old signal interfaces and connect() methods are @deprecated. Developers are encouraged to migrate quickly; new coverage will of course all follow the new pattern. Making the transition is is easy, especially in an IDE. Most of the people we’re aware of using the library have already ported their code. Just turn assertions on to double check.

Build changes

java-gnome now defines C compiler flags like GTK_DISABLE_DEPRECATED to ensure we are not linking against code that will be unavailable in GTK 3.0. Many thanks are due to new contributor Kenneth Prugh for having done some terrific grunt work to prune deprecated classes and methods from our .defs data so that java-gnome compiles without using these APIs.

The build system internally now ensures that multiple runs don’t occur simultaneously, fixing a number of annoyances that cropped up when using IDEs which tend to like trying to frequently re-run the build even if a previous one hasn’t finished.

Documentation, examples, and testing

Our API documentation and the growing set of example code have all been updated to reflect the new signal interface names. Doing so forced us to review a wide swath of the documentation, and so along the way a huge number of minor improvements were made. Given how detailed our JavaDoc is, this sort of painstaking work really makes a genuine contribution to overall quality.

There has been steady growth in our test suite, which is great. When combined with the snapshots used to illustrate our documentation, the coverage level is substantial.

Error handling continues to improve. In the (hand written) public API wrapper layer we do our best to catch misuses of the library before they get sent to the native code. But that’s not always possible, and in 4.0.7 we introduced a mechanism whereby GLib error messages get translated into Java Exceptions and thrown. As of 4.0.8, in addition to ERROR and CRITICAL, we also throw WARNINGs as Exceptions. Getting a stack trace this way has proved very useful in helping developers track down where they are making mistakes in using the library.

Conclusion

You can see the full changes accompanying a release by grabbing a copy of the sources and running:

$ bzr diff -r tag:v4.0.7..tag:v4.0.8

Because of the API changes to signal handling this release touches just about every public class in the library and so isn’t quite as clean (as a summary) as in previous releases — but it does show you everything that changed. :)

Looking ahead

Most of the contributors to java-gnome are working on branches that didn’t reach sufficient maturity to be merged in time for 4.0.8; that’s the way it goes sometimes. Major effort continues on implementing coverage of GTK’s powerful TextView/TextBuffer APIs, along with further drawing capabilities in Cairo and Pango. There have also been a surprising level of interest on other areas of the GNOME stack, with new contributors working on adding support to java-gnome for Nautilus, GStreamer, and even WebKit. Exciting stuff!


You can download java-gnome from ftp.gnome.org or easily checkout a branch frommainlineusing Bazaar:

$ bzr checkout bzr://research.operationaldynamics.com/bzr/java-gnome/mainline java-gnome

AfC