AWT and Swing Improvements in Mustang



Scott Violet visited Prague this week and he had a tech talk about improvements of AWT and Swing in Java SE 6 (Mustang). Some of these are pretty interesting and it wouldn't be me if I would not share the information (yes, I asked for permission first). Most of these features are already done, some are still being finalized for final release of Mustang.

Major news in AWT:
  • Desktop related APIs - these enable you to execute native actions such as to launch a browser, open a mail composer, open the file or print the file - all these actions are processed by applications which are associated with the file type. Thus you can easily print a PDF from Java using Adobe Acrobat.
  • Tray icon improvements - tray icon of your Java application becomes native-like, it gets a pop-up menu, tooltip, image and you can add listeners for various events.
  • Instant splash screen - a splash screen can be launched even before the VM machinery starts, it can be either specified on command line or launched programatically - and it can be dynamic (e.g. including a progress bar)
  • New modality API - modal dialogs are handeled in a better way - java help can be non-blocking, each document can have it's own modal dialogs, modal dialogs always stay on top, etc.
Major news in Swing:
  • Look and feel improvements - great look of Java on the upcoming Windows Vista and better GTK (with more general support for themes)
  • SwingWorker - utility which makes Swing threading easier, now a part of Swing
  • Layout enhancements - most of the stuff comes from Matisse - baseline support supported on almost all components
  • True double buffering - no more "gray rect" bug - the second buffer is used for repainting, so Java apps look more native
  • More: drag and drop enhancements, text printing with formatting, JTable sorting and filtering, tabs treated as components, etc.
Alltogether, there are many nice improvements for Java desktop applications. Scott has also shown us the APIs and they seem pretty simple to use. I hope that the AWT & Swing developers won't slow down, now that Swing is the dominant GUI toolkit - I hope to see even more in Java SE 7 - Dolphin.
Comments:

So JDIC is getting integrated with SE6 cool!

One thing i will hate is wend the Eclipse dudes get the layout stuff for free, there go some bragging rights, just kidding, i hope everybody gets this as fast as possible.

SE7 - Dolphin will be a kick ass release, because that's my nickname ;)

P.S: What happened to Duke with Megaphone? I miss those, you should make them daily

Posted by Daniel MD on říjen 21, 2005 at 04:00 odp. CEST #

Yep, parts of the JDIC project will be available via Mustang.

Well, this thing with Duke was just an experiment... I guess this is a kind of feedback I needed to have to get back to it. My plan is to do Duke once or twice a week, well, as long as I get enough inspiration to come up with anything I consider as least a bit funny.

Posted by Roumen on říjen 21, 2005 at 04:34 odp. CEST #

I added a new stripe. It only makes sense if you know Star Trek :-)

Posted by Roumen on říjen 21, 2005 at 04:56 odp. CEST #

Is there an 'unoffical' date for Mustang ? (Java 6) The font, synth(l&f), grey rect etc.. Are the main fixes I am after... I just hope its not held till MID 2006.. If it is. A 1.5_06 ? With font, synth, rect fixes would be nice..

Posted by Andrew Tierney on listopad 09, 2005 at 07:24 odp. CET #

I do not know the unofficial date, but it's definitely sooner than MID 2006... I am now using b59 which is actually a beta, so fcs is relatively close.

Posted by Roumen on listopad 10, 2005 at 04:07 dop. CET #

Hope so.. I am now using B59 also.. :-) Any idea when NetBeans 5.0 will go final ? The Matisse Layout is GREAT (better than anything even in VS2005 :-) ) Can't understand why Oracle/Borland/Business Objects/IBM etc are behind Eclipse ? Netbeans is much nicer... My XMAS wish list: a) Java 6 b) NetBeans 5.0 (RTM/Final) c) Sun to buy JIDESoft and offer the Swing components for free.. (one can dream). :-)

Posted by Andrew Tierney on listopad 10, 2005 at 05:56 dop. CET #

NetBeans will have beta2 available in few weeks. I don't think you'll get NetBeans 5.0 as an XMAS gift, but it should be out very soon after XMAS. I understand why IBM is behind Eclipse btw :-)

Posted by Roumen on listopad 10, 2005 at 06:06 dop. CET #

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