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Thinking Out of the Box

Posts Tagged ‘Look and Feel’

Developing (a bit more) Look & Feel aware Java Swing code

Patrick Decker
May 30th, 2014


This article is intended for developers that are creating and/or maintaining applications with a Java Swing based GUI. Though JavaFX is being pushed as the “new Swing” nowadays, Swing is still around.
Look & Feels are inextricably linked with every Swing application. Even if none is used explicitly, every time, a Swing based GUI is created, a Look & Feel cares about the look and (you may guess it) the feel of what you see and interact with on the screen.

A Look & Feel – so its official title says – is pluggable. This means you can plug a new or different one to your application (strongly simplified, as this actually goes down to the level of a single JComponent). You may now ask: “But why should I care, if I do not change the Look & Feel now?” In an ideal world, you would not need to care. But, as often when using something, there are contracts.

This is what this article is about. I want to point out why you should care and develop or even maintain your Java Swing GUI or custom component with the pluggable Look & Feel technology in mind.

read more…

Desktop Modern UI

Jonas Stallmeister

Microsoft’s Modern UI design language has arrived in many applications with varying success. By now, almost everybody has seen Modern UI (formerly known as Metro), and Microsoft seems committed. Developers of Windows software have to think about the fact that a lot of established interfaces look out of place in a Modern UI environment. It needs to be adapted to the current state of interface design, even more with Apple similarly moving iOS 7 to a flat UI style. Working on such updates, we have collected a set of 10 design principles we call, for the sake of simplicity, “Desktop Modern UI”, and we want to share them with you. read more…

“Form Follows Function” – An unclear design principle


“Form Follows Function (FFF)” – You can think for hours about these three words and for their explanation quite some words are necessary, for it is a frequently misunderstood design principle. read more…

Writing and Styling Android™ Applications – Coming from Swing

Patrick Decker
April 28th, 2010

A Java™ developer who is used to developing GUIs with Swing and who is now trying to get into Android might be surprised: Java is not the same on Android.

The fact that Java is different on Android has been discussed in some blogs on the net already, so I just sum it up to this: Android applications can be written by any developer who knows the Java programming language. But the number of available runtime classes on Android is different: there are fewer classes in Android regarding package java.* compared to Sun Java Standard or Micro Edition. The most surprising fact for a Java GUI developer might be that there is no Swing on Android.

This article demonstrates some aspects of how a simple Java Swing application with a nice Look and Feel was transferred to Android. The main focus is set on how to write the application with the Android SDK and the styling and theming abilities of Android.
read more…

Frosted Glass on the Java™ Desktop

More and more operating systems use a border resembling frosted glass for their windows, like, e.g., the Aero Glass® decoration known from Windows Vista® and Windows 7®. Providing this ‘special effect’ on the Java™ platform is still not easy to realize. Most Look and Feels use opaque borders, which do not visually match the surrounding designs of these operating systems.
This article describes a pragmatic approach to solve to this problem.

read more…

Modern User Interface Design Tools – Part 3: Expression Blend vs. Flex Builder

David Patrizi
David Patrizi
June 26th, 2009

In the previous part I took a closer look at how and to what extent Microsoft Expression Blend and Adobe Flex Builder offer pixel-graphics and vector-graphics tools to enable GUI designers to create modern user interfaces. In addition I outlined the concept of 9-Slice-Scaling, a method to make pixel graphics scalable without any quality loss. In this last part of the series I’m going to give a short example of how the concept is implemented in both tools and finally provide an overall comparison of the two tools to point out their strengths and weaknesses.

read more…

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