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The Synth Look and Feel

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kwalrath
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Discussions and feedback on the article The Synth Look and Feel.

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jmoliere
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So far, it looks like Synth does NOT extend from any other look and feel. For example, let's say you like the Metal Look and Feel but simply want to tweak a few buttons to some reason. In Synth, it appears that you can't do this at this time -- at least the (sparse) documentation appears to be that way.

I don't suggest the Synth be used on any new projects until this issue gets resolved -- unless you want to tackle the look and feel of EVERY SINGLE COMPONENT IN SWING or at least all the components your application is using!!!

good luck!

javaxplore
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Joined: 2009-05-27
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Hi,
Is there any document that will help in understanding how to go about with Synth L&F? I am in an effort to integrate an existing client application with synth look and feel. Facing issues with tree cell rendering.
The existing application has a custom renderer for nodes in a jtree. This is to display custom icons for the cells. icons to the cell changes dynamically based on the data object associated to the node. these renderers are not working with synth look and feel.
Can synth xml support in rendering icons dynamically?
Kindly assist me in this effort.

Thanks.

troggan
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Joined: 2003-06-21
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Is there a Example-Synth available right now? I am waiting for a few months now to get an example...

roante
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Joined: 2005-05-17
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Jeah, I've the same problem here... And I was also unable to find any detailed documentation through the net. I've found only that newsletter containing the article "Getting known Synth" and an article at javadesktop.org

troggan
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Hei...Sun...If you create a L&F and don't contribute any good Documentation on how to use it, you spend money very very wrong ;).

davetron5000
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I didn't see a webstart link, so I can't look at it, but on a philisophical level, why would you really ever want a Look and Feel other than the native one for the platform? I know in the Windows world it's customary to have special-sauce buttons and compeltely different look and feels for hipster things like mp3 players, but real users getting their work done feel more comfortable when their app looks like the others on their desktop.

zander
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> but real users getting their work done feel more comfortable when their app looks like the others on their desktop.

Thats a bold claim; any data to back that up?

Usability tests my company did suggests otherwise. The data proves that the windows L&F provided with Swing is actually worse then a tweaked version that has more usability features, but looks nothing like Windows.

davetron5000
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On every windows app in the world, you can do Alt-F-S to save, and Alt-E-C to cut (e.g.) If you use a different look and feel that uses Control instead of Alt, you've just made your users have to learn a whole new way to work while in your app.

Consider JTabbedPane. On OS X, tabs are centered. In Metal, they are not. So, by deploying a Metal L&F app on OS X, you have now required your users to think differently when in your app than in any other on the platform.

Or how about this: It's well documented the reasons why the Mac method of menustrip across the top of the screen is 'more usable'. If your look and feel implemented that on Windows, it would be less usable, simply because of the disparaity with other apps.

Or: On the mac, you can configure your up/down arrows on a scrollbar to either be together, or seperate. If your custom look and feel doesn't query the system and render scrollbars accordingly, you've just reduced user productivity.

The point is, if your app isn't being used in a vacuum, you have to consider that 'usability' is affected by the user's prior knowledge.

As well, by not using the system look and feel, you have to be conscious of all kinds of system-wide behaviors that you must maintain so as to not introduce usability problems; problems you won't get by using the system look and feel.

zander
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The point you cite are all about the "Feel" part of a look and feel. Many of these issues are not even available in the Windows L&F (I have not tried the XP version) shipped with Swing.

I fully agree that usability features are needed; and lots of them. Its usally better to have too many then having too little of them.

> On every windows app in the world, you can do Alt-F-S
> to save, and Alt-E-C to cut (e.g.) If you use a
> different look and feel that uses Control instead of
> Alt, you've just made your users have to learn a
> whole new way to work while in your app.

This has nothing to do with L&F, this has to do with the lack of a framework that builds standards-based menu entries. Each application has to program this for themself. (I use an open source framework to solve this problem in my applications)

> Consider JTabbedPane. On OS X, tabs are centered.
> In Metal, they are not. So, by deploying a Metal
> l L&F app on OS X, you have now required your users
> to think differently when in your app than in any
> other on the platform.
This surely is look; you have a good point here.

> Or how about this: It's well documented the reasons
> why the Mac method of menustrip across the top of the
> screen is 'more usable'. If your look and feel
> implemented that on Windows, it would be less usable,
> simply because of the disparaity with other apps.
True; any L&F that should be used on the Mac should consider this feature. Mac is the odd one out here; so don't turn it around.
The point here, again, is that this is about 'Feel', not look. Fonts being antialiased, color settings and plain prettyness are look. Locations and stuff is feel.

> Or: On the mac, you can configure your up/down
> arrows on a scrollbar to either be together, or
> seperate. If your custom look and feel doesn't query
> the system and render scrollbars accordingly, you've
> just reduced user productivity.

Again feel.

> The point is, if your app isn't being used in a
> vacuum, you have to consider that 'usability' is
> affected by the user's prior knowledge.

> As well, by not using the system look and feel, you
> have to be conscious of all kinds of system-wide
> behaviors that you must maintain so as to not
> introduce usability problems; problems you won't get
> by using the system look and feel.

Very true; and a wise lesson for any Swing programmer.
Problem is that if you start using the (Swing) Windows L&F you still don't have all those features you expect on Windows.

The fact that most of the problems you posted about are about Feel, not look make me believe that one L&F that works accross platforms, but has all the usability features needed for the different platforms is enough to solve the problems you cite. And, as I said in my previous post, usability tests confirm this.

My favorite missing feature is that if you enter a textfield using the "TAB" key on Windows the text is selected, but the Windows L&F does not do that for you. This surely is 'Feel' and on Linux and Mac this behavior is also wanted. Implement it one time in a good cross-platform L&F or toolkit and you are done. The alternative is to implement it in the Windows, the Mac and the GTK L&Fs. Duplicate work always leads to poor feature lists.

carle
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Joined: 2004-05-24
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To load GradientPainter in Windows ([i] An XML file that uses GradientPainter. You can load this file, and thus GradientPainter, into Example1 by specifying it on the command line.[/i]), the following does not work for me:

[i]c:\java\jdk1.5\bin\java Example1 example2.xml (Microsoft Windows)[/i]

However, the following does work:
[i]java -cp examples.jar Example1 example2.xml[/i]