Need advice for crossing over from Access/VB/SQL Server to the Java world
This is an open question to anyone with an opinion. I am currently in the process of taking a new direction in my programming career with Java. I have a considerable amount of experience programming with Microsoft products, typically Access and/or Visual Basic on the front end with SQL Server on the back end. While I have come to enjoy the speed with which I can prototype and develop a workable application in this environment, I have grown tired of being locked into the Microsoft 'upgrade' cycle, lack of open standards, platform lock-in, and all of the other baggage associated with the MS environment. I'm sure most people on this list know what I'm talking about.
Since my bread and butter is still coming from this environment, I'm taking this conversion a step at a time. I'm familiar with OO programming, and have been doing a good bit of studying in my 'spare' time getting up to speed with the Java API. Since I've come from a graphical programming environment I have found a certain comfort level with NetBeans and feel convinced that it will serve my purposes going forward.
What I'm looking for is a simple, straight-forward example of how to architect a Java Desktop application. I learn best by poring over a program to discover how it works and incorporate lessons from examples. I have a few good Java example books (Java in a Nutshell, and Java Cookbook from O'Reilly are two that come to mind). However, what I'm looking for is more like a fully generic, framework-like application that I can extend to fit my needs as I learn more about it. I've looked at the NetBeans Platform, and - at this point - it is more than I need and can handle.
Any input, advice or shared experience would be greatly appreciated.