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Java Desktop

Some time ago I was interviewing candidates for a Senior Java Engineer position. Among the many questions I asked was "What can you tell me about weak references?" I wasn't expecting a detailed technical treatise on the subject. I would probably have been satisfied with "Umm... don't they have something to do with garbage collection?" I was instead surprised to find that out of twenty-odd...
on May 4, 2006
I don't want to declare Java's code based layout dead yet, but I think a new way of creating GUIs must be considered. One of the huge benefits of coding on the Microsoft platforms has been their great tools and support for creating user interfaces with a simple resource language. You remember .rc files right. You could edit them in any editor. Localization tools everywhere support this file...
on May 4, 2006
I was thinking about this a while back and it struck me as interesting that as a GUI toolkit, Swing is different from a number of other GUI toolkits out there that were born out of the need for creating a graphical desktkop system. Namely, GTK has GNOME (and Xfce), Qt had KDE, and MFC has Windows. What does Swing have? SwingSet2? Not really. There are indeed thousands of rich Swing...
on May 4, 2006
What's the problem? Tray icons introduced in Mustang have several properties and methods corresponding to image for the icon, tooltip text, popup menu and ability to show some message to the user. Let's inspect the popup menu more closely. Popup menu used in tray icons must be an instance of java.awt.PopupMenu. This class represents a menu and allows to insert or delete simple menu items and...
on May 4, 2006
Like all CodeBoys on the Java frontier, I listen to the JavaPosse.com religiously. It's a great show innit! So I wrote in to JavaPosse's "If I was king of Java" suggestion-box (episode 49) that I would introduce "explicit reflection" which might be used as below. <b>public class</b> MyPanel <b>extends</b> JPanel {   JButton myButton = <b>new</b>...
on May 4, 2006
I'm going to be a complete nerd for a second and expound upon how amazingly cool it is that something I wrote has been translated into Japanese. I mean, writing down words that someone else pays for is cool and all, but it's even cooler when someone else translates my words into another language. The book even looks cooler. It's a tad smaller and has a very nice book jacket. The paper has a very...
on May 3, 2006
The Set Up Every so often a bug will creep into Java 2D that causes a particular rendering operation to be so ridiculously slow that it is almost comical. (Only graphics geeks would find humor in something so mundane, but I digress.) Back in the day, like 7 years ago, we would joke in our staff meetings along the lines of:    Person:   This rendering op is so slow......
on Apr 26, 2006
I'm always amazed by how big the Java ecosystem is. It really is a global community. When Chris and I wrote Swing Hacks we did it out of love for Swing, not to sell a lot of copies or make a lot of money. I'm always amazed when someone will pay for something I've written. When we hit an Amazon score of under 1000 (for a couple of hours anyway) I was bowled over. Well today I'm amazed again. One...
on Apr 26, 2006
(cross-posted on Married... with children) I've already talked about the Ajax conference that we over at Ajaxian.com are producing (May 10-12 in San Francisco; won't you join us?). As I contemplate the great fun that we'll have at that event, I've started thinking of my other love: desktop application development. I spend the vast majority of my time developing Swing applications. I am more...
on Apr 24, 2006
I'm looking forward to a 2-week vacation in Greece that begins this week, so my mind is prone to wandering these days. Therefore, I wanted to share with you a few short tidbits about some recent/nifty Mustang (Java SE 6) putbacks before they are indefinitely purged from my brain. These fixes and features are small compared to most others in Mustang, but sometimes it's the little things that...
on Apr 24, 2006
This is the fourth part of the series that describes the additional capabilities that you can get on your tabbed panes once you start using the Substance look-and-feel. The first part described close buttons and animation on modified tabs The second part described vetoable close buttons and vertical tabs. The third part described single-click close of multiple tabs and ustom alignment of tab...
on Apr 21, 2006
Java suffers from a layout crisis. It ships with a bunch of poorly-thought-out layout managers, a few (like GridLayout and BorderLayout) that are decent within their limited niche, and... GridBagLayout. Despite a few warts, GridBagLayout is powerful enough to handle almost any layout task -- but it's so ridiculously difficult to use that most programmers avoid it like the plague. There have...
on Apr 20, 2006
Inexpensive noise generation pioneered by Ken Perlin has earned him an Oscar award in 1997. See this page for a background of Perlin noise generator and transformations that can be applied to the resulting images in order to imitate various textures such as wood or marble. In its original form, the 2D Perlin noise looks like this: Not much to see here, but this is only the beginning. Following...
on Apr 18, 2006
(Cross-posted on Married... with Children) I am so sick of badly behaved focus behavior! I hate it when websites have onload handlers that do janky things with the focus, moving it to some arbitrary form field, not realizing that many users start interacting before the page is completely loaded. I hate it when desktop applications steal the focus, causing whatever I've been typing in some other...
on Apr 17, 2006
Substance LAF has turned one year old during a ten-hour flight over the Atlantic (on April 14) and celebrated this joyous event by providing even more color themes than before. The Aqua default theme is of no surprise And along with it comes a variety of bright themes such as Bottle Green and Sunset cold themes for subdued look such as Olive and Steel Blue and dark themes (much...
on Apr 16, 2006
I've been meaning to blog about this for some time now, but work tends to get in the way. I'll make this quick: the main message here is that the Desktop Track is looking better than ever this year. Besides the fact that we've got the usual array of interesting stuff to talk about and the neatest demos on the...
on Apr 14, 2006
One of the Java Swing GUI toolkit's strong advantages is its flexible, easy-to-customize architecture. Swing isn't easy for beginners, but once you grok it, there are a lot of great ways to customize the behavior, state, and appearance of a widget. Indeed, if maximum flexibility is your goal, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better toolkit on any platform. I used to hand-code all of my Swing code...
on Apr 13, 2006
Some time ago I wrote an article for Slashdot discussing Be, Apple, and the future of operating systems. The mention of Be should indicate just how far ago this was. The other day I decided to try to find the article both to find out if I was at all correct in my conclusions, and to see if my writing has improved at all. Well, I couldn't find the relevant article, as Slashdot's archives are...
on Apr 10, 2006
While working on my XML user interface language, JAXX, I wanted to provide a mechanism for users to add support for additional tags and data types. As JAXX is a command-line compiler, a run-time API to add additional features would be very awkward to access, so a Service Provider Interface (SPI) seemed like a natural fit. In case you aren't familiar with SPIs, they have a tantalizing proposition...
on Apr 7, 2006
Jobs 'n' Jokes Let's see; how should I start this? Launch yourself into a new career... Deploy yourself at Sun... Pack200 your things and come work with us... Install yourself into the deployment team... Plug in to a new team... Hmmm. How about something more straightforward... Get a job. The Deployment team at Sun is hiring...
on Apr 5, 2006