Matthew Hegarty, October winner of the JFXStudio Challenge, talks about JavaFX technology

Reviews Interactive recently spoke with the October winner of the JFXStudio Challenge, Matthew Hegarty, creator of the JavaFX Video Poker game, which was written with a total of just 2,994 characters. A long-time Java programmer, Matt started using JavaFX about two years ago, and has relied primarily on online resources to learn the language, following examples posted on various blogs. However, in a sentiment common to the developer world, Matt states that “the most effective way of learning is to actually use the language, which is partly why I’ve been taking part in the JFXStudio challenges.”

Matt’s idea for the Video Poker game came after hearing Dick Wall of the Java Posse mention a poker game while discussing the challenge. Even though Matt thought “it’s too obvious,” he forged ahead with development. The approach Matt took was to write the code normally, and to aim for no more than 4,500 characters, confident he could cut it from there. Once he developed a final cut, he had to remove whitespace, and cut down variable names. However, when he found he was still 100 characters over he said “I had to try to shave off extra characters where I could – this involved removing extraneous semi-colons, re-using strings where I could and even swapping declarations of MountEvent for FXBase because it had a shorter name!”

Matt admits there were a few sacrifices he had to make in creating the game – mainly cutting out animations for the cards – but said, “mostly by sticking to a simple idea I was able to keep the core of the game there.” Besides the Video Poker game, Matt has used JavaFX in other application development to include a previous entry into a JFXStudio challenge called Reaction Time task, while another is an educational application called PsyKit – a face recognition task – for students of psychology.

Matthew Hegarty
Matthew Hegarty

When discussing JavaFX Matt said: “Once you get used to the style of the language you can create applications very quickly,” stating that it makes it easy and quick to translate an idea into “something working on screen, and that really keeps programming fun.” Matt was able to get the basics of his Video Poker game going in only a couple of hours, which he said was the result of “the more you use it [JavaFX], the more efficient you become.”

Read the written Q&A with Matt here.

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