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Geertjan's Blog

  • November 30, 2010

Matisse for Custom Layout Managers

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
I was at the Riviera JUG in Nice, France, where I talked about NetBeans IDE and also about the NetBeans Platform. During the break, someone asked me if it is possible to use the "Matisse" GUI Builder for a custom layout manager.

And then I remembered the Koala Layout created by Jean-Marc Borer and others (from SkyGuide in Geneva, where they make air traffic control software on the NetBeans Platform):

  • The KoalaLayout defines a grid where all cells resize proportionally to the parent container.
  • Components can span over cells horizontally and vertically.
  • No need to mess with weights ;)
  • Automatically expands when components are added outside the defined grid.
  • NetBeans IDE integration in the form editor
  • Easy to use

Go to this site: https://koalalayout.dev.java.net/

And there you will find a NetBeans plugin for providing Matisse GUI Builder support for Koala, also created by Jean-Marc:

At least you'll be able to learn from those sources (hope that project will be migrated from java.net to the new infrastructure). Would be really cool to investigate MigLayout support, for example, via the sources in Koala Layout. I was trying to do that some time ago but never got very far with it.

Anyway, anyone intending to integrate their own layout manager into the Matisse GUI Builder should be aware that the above starting point exists.

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Comments ( 4 )
  • Jean-Marc Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Hi Geertjan, I requested the project to be moved on the new infrastructure. The site was a bit in a wacky state yesterday evening. Hope they got my request otherwise I will move it myself on kenai. By the way, do you know if kenai will continue to live or discontinued as advertised by Oracle earlier this year?


  • Jesse Glick Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    [infrastructure] The deadline for moving https://koalalayout.dev.java.net/ to the new java.net was yesterday, but "stragglers" can get migrated upon request with some delay.

    [MigLayout] IMHO Matisse support for MigLayout is a bad idea. The layout is specifically designed to be comfortably edited by hand, unlike GroupLayout which is impenetrable to diff/merge tools. Useful IDE support for this class of layout manager would probably consist of (1) a one-time import tool that converts a form from some other layout as best it can, with the understanding that manual correction will surely be necessary; (2) some sort of live preview so you can make changes in the Java editor but still get a visual overview of the effect, possibly with a delay of a few seconds but more quickly than running the whole program.


  • Jean-Marc Borer Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Hi Jesse,

    I requested the migration of my project before the deadline. However the request form was a bit strange: type project name, then a comment. No way to have feedback about the request and I received no acknowledge. So now I have no idea if my request was actually received and will be processed.


  • Jesse Glick Thursday, December 2, 2010
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