So, I've built a very small application that interacts with a Derby database. In fact, it interacts with the MANUFACTURER table, which is in the SAMPLE database that you get when you install the Sun Java System Application Server 8.2, which bundles the Derby database server. (I'd first built the application to use PointBase, but then converted it to Derby, which was as simple as changing the database URL. Nothing more was needed.) Here is the application smoothly and simply designed in Matisse (it's a bit odd that you can't see the jTable, but only the jScrollPane, though):
And here it is in action:
And, if you register the URL to my Update Center (as described here)...
...then you can install the sample in your own IDE:
Note that I used a NetBeans IDE post-5.0 dev build (available from the NetBeans.org download page) to create the plug-in module that installs the sample. Therefore, there might be problems if you install the sample in an earlier version of the IDE. However, I doubt that there'll be problems. Try it out and see for yourself how easily your Matisse-designed desktop applications can interact with a database.
By the way, see this tutorial by Miki Shimizu if you want to understand the database connection stuff used in the sample!