I used to work with Swing applications a few years ago but now I'm more focused in Web Applications. Some projects which use rich clients (Swing) are much more difficult to implement than web ones. At that time we didn't know JGoodies, which helps a little bit, but I believe it is still hard to make good rich client projects if you are not a experienced programmer. I think web applications have many frameworks available to make our life easier, like Struts, Spring, etc, and I don't see much alternatives if you want to use Swing. Is this book concerned to this point? I also realize that Java Web Start is not very well spread (at least for the projects I see around). Do you think that this technology will live when JavaFX becomes popular?
Swing's quite powerful and the effects you can achieve with it can create great applications. One of the common frustrations is that people feel they need to be experts in order to achieve this level of richness and functionality. The intention of Java FX is to provide a platform based on Swing/Java that allows for the rich feature set and functionality, while making it easier to develop the applications.