Recent Antialiasing Changes in Editor

We've made several changes in the code handling font antialiasing inside editor. I've tested these changes on most widely used platforms with JDK 5 and it seems that everything works fine. This fix can improve performance on some platforms where antialiasing was previously slow. I've seen quite visible performance improvements on Solaris.

Please let me know through the blog comments or via in case you will encounter any issue with antialiasing. I also encourage people who previously had issues with antialiasing (mainly ATI cards on Linux and Solaris) and disabled it to try to turn it on and let us know if the peformance got better, remained the same or got worse (should not happen). The best way is to test it is to compare 4.1 final and current daily build. Thanks!

Update: As pointed out by Vincent, there were also changes in antialiasing outside editor on WinXP platform. To try them you need to set ClearType in WinXP (Display Properties | Appearance | Effects | Smooth Edges -> ClearType, Apply). Then if you restart the recent daily build of NetBeans menu and dialog fonts become antialiased. This was set experimentally to get feedback from users, so if you like it or dislike it, please express your opinion through comments or at

I will try it tonight at home and let you know. But I noted that with last week daily build (monday), the antialiasing was enabled for all the IDE (I noted that in menus). And personnally I don't like the way somes letters are displayed (like a). I will certainly send you by mail somes screenshots. Vincent

Posted by vbrabant on květen 30, 2005 at 05:32 dop. CEST #

I've just checked and my menus are not antialiased. On which OS did you see it? I know they wanted to change it in such a way that the IDE would be using antialiasing if the OS is using it and vice versa. This is another change, separated from editor antialiasing improvements I've described. I'll resend the screenshots to the core guys if there's anything wrong.

Posted by Roman Strobl on květen 30, 2005 at 07:49 dop. CEST #

Hi, this is probably off topic comment, but I would like to ask. I have got TFT LCD, and I am using ClearType on Windows. Fonts seams to look mouch more readable. But in Java, there is probably some other method used to do font antialiasing. Simply I am trying to say that Java's font antialiasing isn't as good as ClearType. In fact it is bad. I know it's JRE thing, but I would like to Java have ClearType. Winc

Posted by Wincent on květen 30, 2005 at 01:32 odp. CEST #

Yes, it's a Java thing - I know from Dmitri Trembovetski that there are some improvements being done, see section "Improved text quality and capabilities" in here:
Maybe Dmitri can tell you more about ClearType. You can also try to run NetBeans with dev mustang build. I agree Java's antialiasing needs to be improved - see my comments here.

Posted by Roman Strobl on květen 30, 2005 at 01:40 odp. CEST #

I can confirm Vincent's observation. If you run NetBeans on Windows with ClearType fonts on, text anti-aliasing is automatically turned on for all Swing components. This is the default in the current trunk builds. Based on the feedback we can turn it on or off. Windows native ClearType technology does produce better looking results than anti-aliasing in Java. I still find it nicer than the standard non-anti-aliased fonts, but YMMV. To disable anti-aliasing, run NetBeans with swing.aa_text=false.

Posted by honza on květen 30, 2005 at 02:26 odp. CEST #

or just set Windows antialiasing to standard one. Then anti-aliasing of menus is disabled in NetBeans. (Just strange because antialiasing is always well enabled under windows). Roman, I sended a mail to you with somes screenshots.

Posted by vbrabant on květen 30, 2005 at 03:27 odp. CEST #

Oh I see now, I need to enable ClearType in WinXP and then restart the IDE. Then the menus get antialiased in recent dailies. My personal opinion is that the menu fonts still look better without AA (on my LCD), but as Honza pointed out, this may differ for individual people. Let's hope that with JDK 6 Java's antialiasing will look more like native ClearType.

Posted by Roman Strobl on květen 30, 2005 at 03:52 odp. CEST #

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