Java Foundation Classes

What Does Java Foundation Classes Mean?

Java Foundation Classes (JFC) are a set of graphical user interface (GUI) components for Java applications that streamline software and cloud application development. JFC contains the Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT), Java 2D and Swing.


Techopedia Explains Java Foundation Classes

Because of its cross-platform capabilities, written Java applications run on any OS without source code change requirements. However, when writing a GUI-enabled application, developers always face a dilemma: Should the same GUI be provided across all platforms, or should the GUI be consistent with the look and feel of its underlying platform?

With the first option, the look and feel of a button, scroll bar, text box or checkbox are the same, regardless of platform. For example, a word processor application developed in Java looks and feels the same when running on Windows or Linux operating systems. With the second option, the buttons, scroll bars and text boxes, etc., change and adapt to the look and feel of the host OS. In this case, the same word processor application looks and feels like a Windows application when running on Windows, but when running on Linux, it looks and feels like a Linux application.

A key JFC advantage is that its components are pluggable and require fewer lines of code. Additionally, JFC retains Java qualities. Thus, the performance of a GUI created through JFC is predictable. An application that runs seamlessly on one OS runs seamlessly on another OS.


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Margaret Rouse
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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.