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FortKnox's Journal: Java Question 21

Journal by FortKnox
This is interesting. I'm usually answering the java questions, but today I ask one.
I'm writing my first SWING app. My java experience is J2EE webapps, no swing experience.
In fact, I haven't done much of any windows app...

Anyhow, I'm looking for a good IDE to create an app. I tried JBuilder8 (personal), and the designer is very difficult to understand, and I can't seem to get my mellon around how it works. I'd prefer something VB-ish. I'll draw out the app, and plug the code into the events.

Any ideas/help out there?
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  • by cyranoVR (518628) <cyranoVRNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @11:57PM (#5698840) Homepage Journal
    The thing is, Sun is still working on it [eweek.com].

    You might want to check out the SunONE studio (formerly Forte for Java) Community Edition (free download) which is itself based on NetBeans.
  • I've never used an IDE for my GUI development - always have gone straight to the code. Then again, my GUIs have never been too terribly complex, so coding manually would be easy. Yours, if complex enough, may be easier to go through an IDE.

    If you need a good place to start - the Java Tutorial on Sun's website is a good starting point, as is just about any book on Swing. There may have even been a few reviewed on slashdot.
    • I have always done the opposite.

      I use an IDE to put together demos and simple GUIs and I do the complicated ones by hand. That way I have greater control over their behavior. A simple GUI isn't worth the effort of coding by hand though. I have done a lot of both and found that complex GUIs require you to get your hands dirty almost every time.

  • VAJ (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Harrison (223649) <johnharrisonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @11:58PM (#5698849) Homepage Journal
    Use VisualAge for Java. I think that you can still download an evaluation copy for free. It is my favorite development environment ever. It is great for quickly throwing together a Swing based gui. If you need something fancier you might want to do some coding by had, but for most of my needs the gui builder has been more than adequate. You just grab components off the palette and put them on the window. It takes a little while to get used to the way the code for classes is displayed in the editor, but now I think it is superior.

    Of course I am biased since I work for IBM. :) Then again, IBM is sort of getting rid of it in favor of the Eclipse based tools. Too bad...

    http://www7b.software.ibm.com/wsdd/zones/vajava/ [ibm.com]

    • Re:VAJ (Score:2, Informative)

      by jawtheshark (198669)
      No way! Visual Age is a fine IDE (I love the Repositories and the version management), but really, as a code generation for GUI building it absolutely sucks. I've used tons and tons of different IDE's, and the only thing I can say is: they all suck for GUI building (with JBuilder sucking the least).
      I reverted back to the good old times coding my GUI by hand. It's the only good way to learn what is actually happening. You won't understand a GridBagLayout by drag 'n dropping components. Anyways for a g
      • Re:VAJ (Score:3, Interesting)

        by John Harrison (223649)
        Um, please tell me how it sucks at code generation. I find the code that it generates to be clean and readable. Even when I first started using it I never looked at the code and thought, "Crap, what does that do?" It was plain from the beginning. If you want to use a fancy layout that adjusts nicely when resized I agree that you should code it by hand. I think I stated that in my original post. That is certainly what I do. If you don't need that as a feature then I don't see what is wrong with VAJ.
        • What I hate about the generated GUI code was the enormous amount of useless getters and setters it made. Heck, this is a GUI, I'm going to have to use the declared datamembers in local. It did it even for labels. While you might find that elegant, I'm more in the camp of the minimalist coders and find it complete bloat.

          Apart from that: VAJ is a fine tool, just not for GUI generation. Besides, I still have to find a GUI builder that does JTables right. Neither VAJ nor JBuilder apply for that one.

          • You are right, I think that is the right way to do it. I used to think that it was clutter and that I could do a better job by initializing everything in a single method. Then I kept running into situations where even if I was coding by hand I found that the VAJ way saved work. Now I do it that way by default.
            • Strange... I never had any problems doing it the normal way. Honestly, if I have 50 components on my panel (which happens), I don't want 100 getter and setter methods.
              But, hey, no problem... If you like it that way, VAJ must be paradise for you.
  • Better off by hand. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Randolpho (628485) on Thursday April 10, 2003 @12:10AM (#5698888) Homepage Journal
    IMO, you'd be better off learning to code the aps by hand, and using Eclipse [eclipse.org] to do it. You may also want to consider using SWT rather than Swing if you haven't learned Swing yet. Native gui components are a good thing. :)
    • I agree. If you are going to do Swing components, learn GridBagLayout and code it by hand. Having said that, as someone else pointed out, VAJ is good for generating UI code for you, in a very Visual-Studio-ish manner. I used it at work for about a year and after figuring out where to inject my code and how VAJ layed out their automated code, I was able to crank out UIs quickly. One catch, since VAJ has been discontinued, the last version (that I know of) uses the 1.3 version of the Java APIs (you cannot
  • JBuilder is good as well (less code muck) but I found VA to be fairly handy.
    Have not tried eclipse yet. Will look into it.
    BTW, I would have posted this to you yesterday (but /. was dead in the water), did you see this article on wireless game development on JavaSoft? http://wireless.java.sun.com/midp/articles/game/
    Don't know if this would help you at all (or if you already knew about it) but I thought you should see it.

    -J
  • Give Eclipse a whirl - I'm a former Visual Age fan, spent time with SunOne, and eventually landed on Websphere Studio, which is an IBM variant of Eclipse rev 2. Very polished. I've never tried JBuilder...
    • Re:Try Eclipse... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Randolpho (628485)
      Just to note: Eclipse does not have a GUI builder at the moment (and no plans to build one that I'm aware of). GUI coding *must* be done by hand with Eclipse.

      It's still the best Java (and pretty much anything else) editor our there, bar none, IMO. Er, best *free* editor, that is. I can't afford the commercial ones, so can't comment.;)

      However, be careful of the newest version (2.1). On the whole it's a good update with some useful features, but it's got a few minor bugs that need to be ironed out. The one
      • I'm using Websphere studio 5 - which may be Eclipse ++. I do so little client side swing/swt stuff, but you sure it does not have a builder? Thought it did. The websphere studio does.

        I'll poke around...
        • It's not available with Eclipse directly, no. I understood that IBM made a GUI builder but shipped it only with their commercial product; you've just confirmed it for me. :)

          There are, apparently, GUI builders available as plugins for Eclipse, but I've yet to download one.
          • Look for the SWT stuff - I pulled all the info I got for it from their site rather than IBM. I think it is driven by Eclipse rather that websphere, so it is probably just a plug-in away.

            Easy to get spoiled....
  • Netbeans or IntelliJ Idea?

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