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Timing is Everything

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Any time you introduce dynamic effects, animations, or time-based events to a Java application, you find yourself re-implementing the same functionality you have written for every application that required timing or animation. The built-in APIs are powerful, but they require that you write a fair amount of boilerplate code. This article considers the current situation and what is needed in a timing framework. The article refers to example code contained in a project posted on java.net: timingframework.dev.java.net, and covers the introductory material concerning the following issues:

  • Overview of the timing model: There are a few conceptual ideas to get across first, to make it easier to understand the terms and features that TimingController uses.
  • Features in TimingController: This section covers the major interesting features in the TimingController utility.
  • Introduction to the code: The sample code is fully documented, which I think is a better way of explaining how things work. Nevertheless, a high-level view of the files and functions involved is helpful.
  • Future work: There is so much more to do here, but I wanted to get this code and framework out into the real world, to get feedback and to see what made sense for future efforts. But there are some obvious areas that I thought would be useful to delve into eventually. This section describes those areas and proposes some possible solutions.
  • Appendix: Timing Resolution: This section is not directly related to this article, which is mainly about utilities for effective timer usage, but it is a topic that arises anytime you get into timing and animation, especially animation that depends on small time increments. I wanted to discuss some of the problems and issues around timer resolution somewhere, and this seemed as good a place as any.

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