Guide for Porting Swing Applications to the NetBeans Platform
By Geertjan on Nov 30, 2007
Observe the zebra, in a place where it never thought it would be. Imagine all the advantages. Now that it knows how to get there, to the top of the giraffe, with an amazing view right over the savannah, it can pass on this ability to its offspring. Its offspring, in turn, will then have the same ability and the zebra will evolve from a weak and helpless victim to a versatile, interesting, and awe inspiring member of the animal kingdom.
Now, look at your humble Swing application. Imagine where it could be... on the NetBeans Platform, of course. There, your helpless little application would gain a robustness it had never dreamt of attaining. When predators come prowling through the wilderness, when competition comes lurking round the corner, your application will be ready. The giraffe can see much further than any other animal, which is why when a giraffe starts running, all the other animals start running too, because they know danger is approaching. Similarly, the NetBeans Platform has a set of features that a typical Swing application simply does not have, such as an out-of-the-box state-of-the-art docking system and a pluggable modular architecture, to name just two. But... how to make the journey? How to evolve as quickly and smoothly as possible? How to get to the top of the giraffe? Here, for the first time, we present:
Try it. It works. Look at that zebra. Then look at your app. Imagine that zebra had had a ladder. Lucky you, you do. You don't need to get to the highest point right from the start. You can take small steps. Over a long period of time. Gradually, as you become more and more familiar with the terrain, as you discover all the benefits you are accruing on your journey, your desire to get further will increase. And once you are up there, why would you ever want to get down again? The giraffe will do all your walking for you. You will acquire new habits, sure, it will take some time to adapt, especially because the giraffe is a bit awkward in places. Initially it'll be tough to get used to that long neck. In the final analysis, though, you'll be far better off than you were at the start. You'll find that it is exactly that tricky long neck that's made the journey worth the while and, as you breathe deeply and survey the horizon, you'll be thankful for all that it's giving you.
So, read the above document, feedback welcome. Let's get your zebra up that giraffe.