IntelliJ IDEA 12.1 Refresh Adds JavaFX 2 Support

JetBrains has released a "spring refresh" of the recent major update of its flagship Java IDE, IntelliJ IDEA. Along with some bug fixes and usability enhancements, version 12.1 adds new support for the latest version of the JavaFX 2 rich client platform, including complete support for the FXML markup language, custom CSS, code completion, navigation and search, refactorings, packaging tools and integration with SceneBuilder.

JavaFX 2 is Oracle's next-gen rich application development platform. Unlike JavaFX, JavaFX 2 can be implemented as a native Java library, which means apps using it can be written in native Java code -- no need to learn Java FX Script, which is being dropped. The company began the process of open sourcing JavaFX with the OpenJFX project in December 2011.

The 12.1 refresh of the IDEA adds support for Spring 3.2, Play 2.1, Groovy 2.1, the Scala language, and the Adobe Gaming SDK. There's enhanced Gradle integration, a debugger for CoffeeScript and TypeScript via Source Maps, and Sass support improvements. It also supports the Retina display and a fullscreen mode for Windows.

IntelliJ IDEA 12, released in December, was a massive upgrade of the Prague-based company's code-centric Java IDE. It introduced a new compiler mode, an Android UI designer, support for Java 8, and "a new stylish dark look and feel" dubbed "Darcula."

"We were taken by surprise when so much positive feedback poured in for Darcula, the new dark look and feel for the IDE," said JetBrains product marketing manager Andrey Cheptsov in a recent blog post. "Many people even considered Darcula the main feature of IntelliJ IDEA 12 release. Naturally, we focused on making it even better and smoother in v12.1."

Version 12 of the IDE provided full support for the next version of the Java platform, with code assistance for the new syntax 00 including lambda expressions, method references, and default methods. Project Lambda (JSR 335), adds closures and related features to the Java language to support programming in multicore environments. It also came with a new compiler that was rebuilt "from the ground up" to function as a separate process compiling a project automatically in the background with every change.

Another big change in version 12 was the addition of support for the Spring Framework, including XML support, drag-and-drop support for enhanced dependency diagrams, and annotation-based configurations. The Spring Integration framework for enterprise integration patterns was also supported, and so were the Spring Security authentication and access control framework, the Spring Batch framework and Spring Web Flow.

The December release also introduced support for the open-source Play Web application framework (version 2.0), which is written in Scala (a JVM language) and Java. Play follows a model-view-controller (MVC) architectural pattern, and it's favored by Scala developers. IntelliJ IDEA 12 allows developers to create, run and debug Play 2.0 applications using both Java and Scala, and includes advanced code assistance, such as templates support, formatter, and refactorings.

The refreshed IntelliJ IDEA 12.1 is available for download now. JetBrains offers a free Community Edition, and an Ultimate Edition with a wider set of features. More information is available here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].