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best GUI Development Tool these days

Yogesh Kodgule

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 29
Hi all!

I know this question must have been asked for many a times.

But still I wanna know that which is the best GUI (Swings) Development Tool available today in the market.
What are its features?

or u can help me by refering to some site where such kind of info is available.
So please let me know the earliest , which is the best buy?
plz reply soon.

thanks in advance.

"Thinking of doing something is also doing something don't just stop thinking!"
Yogesh Kodgule

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 29
I found out some of the IDEs but unable to find my answer.

There are some IDEs like Eclipse,JDeveloper,JBuilder,IntelliJ,NetBeans ...
..and many more from various Companies.

But still I am , which one best suites for GUI Development in Swings. As each of the IDEs have their own advtgs, i request the developer community over here to help me out to know their expiriences abt these all.

Scott Presley

Joined: Apr 15, 2003
Posts: 25
check out some of the eclipse plugins [] or [] - there are some commercial plugins that work pretty well - no gui tool is perfect, but they'll get you started at least...

- Cotfessi
Bjørn Børresen

Joined: May 03, 2004
Posts: 8
I have yet to find a good GUI design tool for java. If you're looking for a Visual Basic like tool, then I think you'll have to wait a couple of years.

I prefer the JGoodies framework ( .. it's not a visual builder, but it will ease gui development.

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Joe Ess

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 9189

My experience with gui design tools has been disappointing. They generate ugly and unmaintainable code. You end up restructuring your object model to accomodate the tool rather than the tool facilitating the implementation of your object model. The worst case scenerio is that the guy who developed the gui used one tool, you prefer another tool and the way the two tools store the layout information is incompatable. You will end up rewriting the gui or installing and learning the other tool. Not the kind of thing you want to be doing with a deadline looming.
Learn how the layout managers work and do the gui in a text editor. It's really not hard stuff. Even if you use a designer, you will need to understand how the layout managers work. If you don't, you will get some interesting behavior when your gui is displayed at different resolutions or is resized.

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Norm Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 21, 2002
Posts: 56
I know it isn't very popular to mention it at the ranch, but Netbeans is really pretty good at helping you do Swing. I tend to keep my frames and dialogs fairly simple and in those cases the code generated is more than "good enough". You really do have the drag-and-drop capability of Visual Basic.

One of the plusses is a nice graphical editor for GridBag layout which, for me, makes that layout actually usable. It supports all the layouts I ever needed (up through Java 1.3).

I follow the discussions on the newsgroup for Netbeans and there isn't a lot of complaining about the Swing support. (J2EE and the related technologies certainly have more issues.) The only minus I can think of concerning Swing is they haven't yet included support for the "Springs" layout of Java 1.4.

Now, on the other hand, I have a very involved main form with a complex menu structure. For that one I chose to use a mediator and a command pattern to separate the menu display from the rest of the program code as recommended in Fowler's book. Netbeans didn't interfere with me as I did that, but it certainly didn't help with the process either.

Also, like Java, it is free. I think the learning curve was reasonable. Recommendation -- take a look at it.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15302

Who's the best baseball team? You'll get more consistant answers to that question since you can look at statistic. You question is all a matter of opinion. One coders best is another coders worst.

I tend to agree with Joe on this one. However, if someone forced me to pick one I'd pick the Swing Designer in IntelliJ IDEA. Notice I said "Designer" and not "Creator". There is a difference. IDEA takes a different approach and it allows you to simply design your JPanels and then you add these JPanels to your code, well, using code. Whereas Netbeans wants to create the whole thing for you. But, since IDEA is not free, and if I were forced to choose a free one, Netbeans would be my choice.

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