MVC with javaFX

I'm struggling with the MVC concept using javaFX. I am building an javaFX application using fxml files.

Each fxml file has a controller assigned, but I don't think that this controller is one as the MVC pattern states. I think of it like some sort of ViewController, which holds references to fxml objects (buttons, panes etc.).

My problem is: Where exactly is the difference between this "ViewController" and the real "Controller". What object should do what things? Where do I set e.g. actionListeners?


Thoughts on MVC

MVC is a pretty loosely defined pattern which is open to (often somewhat vague) interpretations of what each of the things in MVC stand for (especially the controller). There is a great discussion of the MVC architecture with respect to GUI toolkits by Martin Fowler.

On Design Patterns and FXML

JavaFX core FXML based processing is built to be more of a toolkit rather than a complete development framework. The idea being that other frameworks could be layered on top of JavaFX and FXML and the underlying JavaFX/FXML implementations and the controllers for them would not push any kind of agenda or architectural constraints on the higher level frameworks.

As a result, there is a deliberately loose analogy and mapping of core FXML based processing and their controllers to an MVC architecture.

See JavaFX and MVP – a smörgåsbord of design patterns for further discussion.

Consider using a higher-level framework

You might benefit from adopting an "opinionated" JavaFX framework such as afterburner.fx, which utilizes controllers and FXML but provides a bit more of a rigid structured framework. Afterburner.fx follows a Model View Presenter (MVP) model. Though Afterburner.fx provides more functionality and structure than plain core JavaFX+FXML, it does so in a minimal way by adding few extra classes and APIs that you need to learn to use it.

You can try JRebirth with its custom-tailored pattern: wB-CS-Mvc

This is a 2-level MVC pattern, first MVC (application-level) is CSM and the second one is Mvc itself (ui-level).

  • Wave for messaging and async internal event handling
  • Behavior to add common code to any Component (C|S|M)
  • Command to manage application commands (reusable code)
  • Service to handle some long service into thread pool
  • Model to manage the Model of your UI
  • View to create your UI
  • Controllers to handle user events

You can run the JRebirth Tour Application to learn more (Java 8 required):

java -jar JRebirthTour-3.0.0.jar

You can also run the Demo application:

java -jar JRebirthDemo-8.5.0.jar

or browse slides (slightly outdated):


 ? How to show a progress bar while downloading in javafx
 ? JavaFX Change text under Progress Indicator (default: Done)
 ? JavaFX Change text under Progress Indicator (default: Done)
 ? JavaFX Change text under Progress Indicator (default: Done)
 ? Change JavaFX progress bar style
 ? Set default skin in JavaFX with ComboBox
 ? Remove rectangle from Progress Indicator
 ? Add progress bar in JavaFX table pagination
 ? JavaFX progress bar show file upload status
 ? How to configure Progress Bar and Progress Indicator of javaFx?