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Java Desktop

Does the following look familiar (under default Ocean theme in Metal LAF)? The menu doesn't look good, with jagged items all over the place. The common solution in this scenario is to use a transparent icon on those menu items that don't have one. There are a few problems with this approach: What happens if you add another menu item with slightly wider icon? You will have to adjust all other...
on Oct 10, 2005
When I'm home and need to tweak and plot an equation, I use an excellent tool that ships with MacOS X 10.4, Grapher. Easy to use, it fits my purpose and provides a good user experience: As I don't want to carry both my laptops to the office every day, I bring only my Windows box, on which I have yet to find a tool to replace Grapher. I have tried several tools and none convinced me yet....
on Oct 10, 2005
Many months ago, Craig and I started the SwingFX project. One of the first components to be added was the infinite progress panel I described in a blog entry: This component was quite successful (I've recently seen a variation in ZValley's ZEN) but it remains quite simple. Michael Bushe just added a very valuable feature, the ability to cancel the current running task: You can get it today in...
on Oct 6, 2005
This past Saturday morning, a friend and I were in San Francisco at Golden Gate park, walking out of the Speedway Meadow. It was cool and overcast and the fog blanketed the tree tops and hung over our heads and gave the surroundings the blurry hazy look of an old newsreel. We were walking down into another hollow, listed on the map as Marx meadow, and drifting toward us was the sound of Joan...
on Oct 5, 2005
Tired of "dealing with a dozen png representations of a single (logical) icon as separated files"? Tired of writing/debugging the code to treat multiple files as a single logical unit? Well, Daniel Leuck, SwingLabs, and Ikayzo bring you JIC : the simple multi-resolution cross-platform icon format for Java! Ok, ok, a little dramatic I know. But hey, it's cool technology and cool technology is what...
on Oct 3, 2005
A new sub project has been added to SwingLabs today, http://deployment.dev.java.net. A few weeks ago Erik Vickroy approached me about starting a project related to deployment issues for rich client Swing applications. After a little brainstorming, it became clear that such a project would be a great addition to the SwingLabs suite of projects. Indeed, easing the deployment of rich client apps is...
on Oct 3, 2005
Synth can be tricky (JScrollbar) sometimes (JTree). So tricky that I actually fell into a trap today. When styling a combo box, I ran into a rather curious problem. A combo box is made of a popup menu, a list, a label, an arrow button and, in case of editable combo boxes, a text field. Since these components are styled independantly, it can be difficult to give them a specific style when in the...
on Sep 28, 2005
I just finished (well almost) a Swing demo using real world physics to animate a drag and drop gesture. You can try the demo or read more about its implementation. If you're very curious you can also read the source code. Finally, here are two screenshots from the demo:
on Sep 27, 2005
Important update: R. J. Lorimer has the solution!. Be damned you stupid manifest files! :) Disclaimer: It's not in my intent to start another flame war about IDE. Also please note that, as a user, I don't care about native look fidelity. Finally, please, please understand that I' talking about the look only, not the feel. Every now and then, when I read articles about why SWT and/or Eclipse are...
on Sep 26, 2005
The client group in Java SE-land is looking for someone smart enough to automate themselves out of a good job — and into an even better one. Some Background Currently, whenever a client team (Swing, 2D, AWT, etc.) needs to integrate its changes into the main Java SE workspace, the team's integrator does the job. The integrator is just an engineer on the team — generally someone...
on Sep 26, 2005
When you bring up a Swing file chooser in Tiger with the Synth look and feel you get a perfectly blank window. Styling JFileChooser requires bindings for scrollbars, tables, buttons, combo box, buttons, text fields and labels. Needless to say it's a rather difficult task. Despite your efforts you won't unfortunately be able to fully style it. It appears that Tiger provides no way to specify icons...
on Sep 23, 2005
One area of Swing that does not appear to be getting much attention these days (or that may have fallen out of favor with developers) are the elements that make up the Multiple Document Interface: JDesktopPane and JInternalFrame. I believe that there's tremendous potential in further developing the Swing features in this space. What I am envisioning is nothing less than a JDesktop that...
on Sep 23, 2005
Many Swing components can be oriented according to your needs. Scrollbars are among the most common oriented components. Despite some support in Synth for oriented components, it is far from being exhaustive in Tiger. While some left aside components can be easily forgotten, for instance the window of a floatable toolbar being dragged, Synth lacked support for important oriented components, like...
on Sep 23, 2005
Every Swing look and feel relies on properties to customize the rendering. One of these properties allows you, With BasicLookAndFeel and therefore Metal and Ocean, to change JTree's lines style from solid to dashed: UIManager.put("Tree.lineTypeDashed", Boolean.TRUE); The following screenshot shows the difference between dashed tree lines on the left and regular solid tree lines on the...
on Sep 21, 2005
Chase Away Those Fierce Nightmares In Tiger and early Mustang builds, Synth falls short providing a versatile, efficient and easy to use way to load a theme. Only one method is offered to load a Synth theme, the mischievous SynthLookAndFeel.load(). Albeit easy to use, this method suffers from critical limitations. When your program invokes it, two parameters must be specified: an input stream...
on Sep 21, 2005
Painters Aggregation Synth lets you define a painter for each region of a component. A painter can be used, for instance, to draw a button's border or a tabbed pane's tabs. Here is a short example: <style id="buttonStyle">    <state>        <imagePainter method="buttonBackground"  ...
on Sep 16, 2005
This week Microsoft unveiled the new UI approach in its upcoming Office 12 suite. The best starting point would be reading this blog and downloading the interview with the UI design lead of Office here. It's 618 MB (41 minutes long) and worth every minute of it. I'm not going to go into the details (see the above two links), but the impact on the corporate-oriented applications in the next few...
on Sep 16, 2005
And so then Java2D says to JOGL: "Ni hao, wode pengyou" In Mustang b51, we made some minor enhancements to Java2D that allow JOGL's GLJPanel implementation to render directly into the Swing backbuffer when the OpenGL-based Java2D pipeline is enabled (see 6309763). While it was certainly possible before to use JOGL in a Swing application, it required a number of intermediate steps to get the...
on Sep 15, 2005
Another interesting announcement here at PDC is that Microsoft is creating a subset of their cool, fancy pants UI layer (formerly code-named Avalon, now WPF) on other platforms, including the Mac! In fact, one of the demos involved showing vector graphics rendered in Safari using a Microsoft plug-in. This subset, called WPF/E, will be powered by XAML (their XML dialect for representing the UI)...
on Sep 13, 2005
The latest Q Build of NetBeans provides much better support for third-party look-and-feels than was available in previous releases (although still it has some hard-coded assumptions that LAF should inherit from Metal, leading to quite a few ClassCastExceptions). Recently, a few dark-themed look-and-feels have been made available, and I decided to take them for a ride on the NetBeans. This FAQ...
on Sep 10, 2005