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This tutorial gives an overview about Data Sources (DS) in JavaFX Composer, their design and usage.

Getting the Functionality: Create a new JavaFx Composer project and look for Data Sources category in the Palette window among other components and resources. Once there, drag and drop a data source from the palette to the deisgn view (the scene). JavaFx Composer will inject all necessary source files into your project (org.netbeans.javafx.datasrc.* package).

Common Data Sources

To simplify access to data coming from various sources in various formats we have unified the data format on client side so that it is easier for people to start using a remote data source. There are two basic aspects of each data source:

  • actual source of data (HTTP server, database, file, etc.)
  • format of data (XML, JSON, etc.).

JavaFX Composer data source framework defines a specialized DataSource class for each source of data (HttpDataSource, FileDataSource, etc.) and defines set of parsers for each supported data format (Parsers.XML_PARSER, etc.)

When a DataSource object retries the data, it typically passes the raw stream to a Parser which understand the format and shich produces a RecordSet, a common data format na JavaFX Composer. You will learn more about this structure later in this chapter.

To summarize, common data source framework consists of three three fundamental entities (classes):

  • DataSource - responsible for fetching raw data from the source
  • Parser - responsible for parsing raw data and producing RecordSets and Records
  • RecordSet - groups Records into an array, maintaining a cursor over it
  • Record - set of (name->value) pairs holding actual data

Data Source

A Data Source object holds basic properties needed to fetch data from a source. For example, for HTTP Data Source this is URL, Authentication method, etc. For JDBC Data Source this is a connection string, credentials and SQL query. For File Data Source this is a file path.

See the following table for an overview of JavaFX Composer supported data sources.

Name Class Supported Data Formats Description
HTTP HttpDataSource XML, JSON, LINE, PROPERTIES fetches data from HTTP and HTTPS servers. Supports BASIC authentication.
JDBC DbDataSource SQL Table fetches data from a JDBC compliant database by executing an SQL query
File FileDataSource XML, JSON, LINE, PROPERTIES reads a file on the local filesystem
JavaFx Storage StorageDataSource XML, JSON, LINE, PROPERTIES uses API to load data
Resources ClasspathDataSource XML, JSON, LINE, PROPERTIES reads data from runtime classpath using java Classloader.getResourceAsStream

Example Usage: Create a DataSource

var ds = FileDataSource {
    autoRefresh: false
    path: "/home/johny/bookstore.xml"
    parser: Parsers.XML_PARSER

This will create a datasource that will read and parse the content of the file "/home/johny/bookstore.xml". XML parser will be used.

Example Usage: Get data from a DataSource

var rs : RecordSet;
rs = ds.getRecordSet();

rs now holds a RecordSet (array of records). To get to the first record, type:

var r : Record;
r = rs.current();

Remember that a RecordSet maintains a cursor over its Records and since we did not used the RecordSet yet, the cursor points to the first Record. Once you have a Record, you can get to the data:

var s : String;
s = r.getString("bookName");

This will set s to the content of the field "bookName".


A RecordSet serves two purposes:

  • it holds an ordered set of Records
  • it maintains a cursor over set of Records with the possibility to move it in both directions

The root data element in every data source is a RecordSet and you can get it by calling:


Typically, RecordSets contain either a list of Records (ie. books in a bookstore) or contain just one Record (ie. XML element with one child). In the first case you typically get all Records from the RecordSet and pass it to a ListView or iterate over it and do some processing.

var ra : Record [];
ra = ds.getRecordSet().all();
... use the array of Records ...

In the latter case you typically quickly access the single Record in one of these two ways:

var ra : Record;
ra = ds.getRecordSet().current();

var surname : String;
name = ds.getRecordSet().currentString("surname");

rs.currentString() is a shortcut for rs.current().getString().


A Record holds a set of (name, value) pairs, you can imagine a Record as a row in a database table with column names as keys.

Example Data Structure

Here is an example how a JSON object maps to the Data Source structure used by the JavaFX Composer. This is a result of URL:


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