View Full Version : Gooey Java

Nowhere Man
2012-Oct-01, 11:57 PM
Or rather, writing GUI programs in Java.

For fun, I like to write "toy" programs and small utilities (yeah, I know, busman's holiday and all that). Given GUI OSes these days, such programs are best done with a GUI front-end. Java's Swing provides such a beast.

However, it seems one has few options to quickly create a GUI program and get to the meat of the program. You can spend much time learning all about Swing and hand-coding everything. You can stop at NetBeans 7.0 and use the now-dropped Swing Application Framework. You can spend much time learning about the Netbeans Platform (and spend much money on the book).

Apparently Eclipse provides for GUI builder plug-ins. Which one to use is another question.

I come from a Delphi background (Delphi 1 through 7 or so), so I figured there ought to be an easy-to-get-started-with application framework somewhere. There was -- SAF -- but that's not supported any more.

What other GUI development tools are out there?

What are others' opinions on any of this?


2012-Oct-07, 04:33 PM
For the most part, my GUI needs have been limited to display, and I've just used OpenGL with SDL or even good old GLUT. For real GUI stuff, I've actually been hand coding GTK+, writing C++ wrappers/builders for some of the particularly awkward bits specifically because I don't want to deal with a GUI builder.

I would disagree that a GUI tool is automatically the best choice, though. In many cases, a scripting language is actually an extremely convenient interface. I've largely moved to using Ruby for glue/control code when I need more than a trivial command line program, writing tools as extensions. This automatically allows an interactive command line interface as well, through REPL shells like irb or pry (http://pryrepl.org/).

2012-Oct-10, 08:50 PM
The NetBeans GUI builder was great when I was starting out as it allowed me to build a programme to get the hang of things. But I quickly dumped it and went for hand coding as it freed me from the constraints of uninspired static forms. Plus it was buggy as hell.

Still use NetBeans though for the other stuff. I have tried Eclipse as it was needed for doing some Android stuff but it didn't immdiately strike me as better.

I don't know what's out there for building more dynamic GUIs. Especially if you have a lot of custom components like I do.

2012-Oct-11, 06:16 AM
I've never tried it, but a lot of FOSS programs use Qt.

2013-Mar-04, 10:12 PM
Hi, this is my first post :)

Unfortunately, while seceral plugins for both NetBeans and Eclipse exist that gice those IDEs the 'Visual Studio" feel (such as Swing GUI Forms), its important to remember that the industry is rapidly moving away from tower computers to smaller devices --- and "square blocky GUIs" are also going away with it.

One of the best things I have done is to really immerse myself in Swing. Sure its a pain in the butt but once I started locking into it, I haven't looked back. The flexibility is there to not only make great GUIs but make them "modern". I combine what I know of both Game Programming and Swing to come up with some cool GUIs....... There is a book called "Swing Hacks" by Marinacci & Anderson. Try to find a copy of it and start there

Good Luck :)

2013-Aug-23, 02:09 PM
Inteli J's IDEA we use a little at work has a more advanced Forms designer, much like that in Visual studios, it simplifies and speeds up some (but not all) parts of a GUI window.