The Java Application Shell (JAS) is a software framework that accelerates the development of Java graphical-userinterface (GUI) application programs by enabling the reuse of common, proven GUI elements, as distinguished from writing custom code for GUI elements. JAS is a software infrastructure upon which Java interactive application programs and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for those programs can be built as sets of plug-ins. JAS provides an application- programming interface that is extensible by application-specific plugins that describe and encapsulate both specifications of a GUI and applicationspecific functionality tied to the specified GUI elements. The desired GUI elements are specified in Extensible Markup Language (XML) descriptions instead of in compiled code. JAS reads and interprets these descriptions, then creates and configures a corresponding GUI from a standard set of generic, reusable GUI elements. These elements are then attached (again, according to the XML descriptions) to applicationspecific compiled code and scripts. An application program constructed by use of JAS as its core can be extended by writing new plug-ins and replacing existing plug-ins. Thus, JAS solves many problems that Java programmers generally solve anew for each project, thereby reducing development and testing time.

This software was written by Jeremy Jones and Carl F. Hostetter of Goddard Space Flight Center and Philip Miller and Philip Wheeler of CommerceOne. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Software category. GSC-14769-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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