Aerith, All Your Questions Answered

New! Video available (you can skip at 20 minutes to see the demo).

Check out the screenshots first (updated).

What is Aerith?

Aerith is a demo we (Richard Bair, Joshua Marinacci, Chet Haase, Chris Campbell and I) wrote at Sun Microsystems for JavaOne. The featured application is a trip report editor and Flickr account viewer. Aerith uses Flickr, Yahoo! and Google Maps web services to let the users draw a trip on a map and attach pictures to it. The application can also generate an applet that shows either a 3D slideshow of your photos or an “Indiana Jones”-like full screen animation (you can see the trip being drawn on top of the map).

So, is this a real application?

Mostly. Due to time constrains (the first working, full featured version of the demo had to be written in less than a week) Aerith is not fully functional. We had to cut some corners to get it done in time for JavaOne. For instance, the screen that displays the list of albums from your Flickr account shows only up to 9 albums because we did not have a scrollbar UI ready yet. Nevertheless, Aerith does fetch all its data from live web services.

You mean you have more than screenshots?

Yes! Aerith UI contains a lot of animations and effects, including full screen animation, OpenGL/3D rendering and so forth. Several people were concerned that the screenshots are more or less “fake”. They're not. You can ask the several thousand people who saw Aerith live at JavaOne :-)

Can I try Aerith?

Aerith source code will be released on at some point in the future. There are some legal issues to figure out first. As of today, you cannot run Aerith on your computer but we will soon show videos of the application running on both the project site and our blogs.

Can I get Aerith look and feel?

Unfortunately, Aerith does not provide a real look and feel. Although a couple of widgets rely on UI delegates, the bulk of the UI has been written by subclassing existing Swing components. Besides, Aerith use a very small subset of Swing widgets collection: buttons, labels, lists, sliders and scrollbars. Some widgets, like textfields and tooltips, present in the demo are still using Swing's default look and feel due to time constraints.

What platforms does Aerith run on?

Aerith was developped on Windows with various nightly builds of Mustang (future Java SE 6 pending JCP approval) but it has been successfully tested on Mac OS X/Intel with Mustang b77 and b82. The Mac OS X version has also been showcased at JavaOne during a BOF. Aerith requires a nightly build of Mustang as well as a nightly build of JOGL. As such, Aerith should run on Linux and Solaris as well but no test has been conducted yet.

What about J2SE 5.0 (“Tiger”)?

We started porting Aerith to J2SE 5.0 twice during the development but we had to drop the idea because, once again, of highly demanding time constraints. Fortunately, Aerith does not rely on major new features of Mustang but mostly on small additions to the API that made development easier for us. A port to Tiger by the community should not require much work. Please note that using Aerith on Tiger would forbid the use of the new Java2D/OpenGL bridge that yields to improved performance on low-end machines when mixing Swing and OpenGL rendering in a lightweight component.

What libraries does Aerith rely on?

Aerith was made possible thanks to a few libraries: SwingX, TimingFramework, Fuse, JOGL, GroupLayout, JLayer and flickrj. Those libraries are open source and all available. Sun Microsystems contributed 4 of them.

What did you use to build Aerith?

Aerith was built using NetBeans 5.0 (and its fantastic GUI builder). I personnally used both NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA 5. As such, Aerith soruce code will be provided with both NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA project files.

Is Aerith as cool as it looks?

Better! Check out those links: James Gosling, Tim O'Reilly, Chris Adamson, Scott Delap, John Munsch, Planet AMD 64, Digg (digg us!),, Vincent Brabant, Matt Raible, … Thank you folks!

3 Responses to “Aerith, All Your Questions Answered”

  1. Milind Rao says:

    The video link ( doesn’t work anymore. I have googled for the video, but it’s the same link on all other pages. Can you post an updated link if the video is still available?

  2. Romain Guy says:

    Milind, you can download

    The last part of the demo (full screen travel animation) is missing but you get everything else.

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