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Get your GUI Swinging!

Swing offers Java developers greater flexibility and control over the design of graphical user interfaces (GUI), as well as a suite of graphical components ranging from buttons to tables and trees. In this tutorial, we'll help you to put the GRR in swinger! Learn how to use Swing in your applications, to add that professional touch. By David Reilly.

What is Swing?

With the release of the Java 2 platform (and the Java Development Kit 1.2), developers now have access to a wider range of graphical user interface components, and greater flexibility and control over their appearance. The previous graphics toolkit, the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT), was sufficient for simple applets, but was a poor substitute for a commercial quality suite of components. As part of the Java Foundation Classes (JFC), the Swing library of components rectifies the shortcomings of AWT, and gives developers the ability to create professional graphical user interfaces that will be the envy of developers using other languages like Visual Basic or Delphi.

The Swing API isn't a replacement for the AWT. Swing is designed to be used in conjunction with existing AWT components, and to complement it.  Not only does Swing offer new components, but it also offers greater control over their appearance, and a customizable "look and feel" (L&F), that allows applications to swing from a "Java look and feel" to a "Windows look and feel" on-the-fly. Developers even have the ability to create their own L&F, for custom applications or games.

Getting started with Swing

Developing applications with Swing user-interfaces is actually quite easy. You can even convert your existing applications over to use the new Swing components. In this tutorial, we'll show how to get your applications swinging.

Learning about Swing

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Last updated: Monday, June 05, 2006