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Java Swing for desktop - Dying and Decaying ?

Pamela Hendersen
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Joined: Mar 13, 2013
Posts: 13
I have not come across any famous and popular software which uses swing for its front end or GUI. Is it even used by any useful and significant software? I am not talking about small or obscure projects. I am talking about software like Microsoft Office, Android OS, Google Chrome etc. Additionally, its not even a requirement for almost 99% of the java jobs. Looks like its a dead and decaying technology.

Is there any replacement or alternative to swing for Java ?

Steve Myers
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Joined: Dec 08, 2012
Posts: 47
According to Oracle, JavaFX is replacing Swing as the desktop UI of choice. Swing was never widely used for big name desktop applications, but there have been some exceptions -
I believe LimeWire was one. Eclipse is written in Java but I believe uses the SWT toolkit. I have heard that Swing is used extensively in "Enterprise" applications.

One word of caution - I don't believe JavaFX has a native look and feel yet, so your app will look like it came from outer space on all platforms if you go that route.
It does look like it has more of a future though, there are ports for Android/iOS coming.
Ulf Dittmer
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I don't think JavaFX has any more of a future than Swing, which is neither framework's fault. It's just that desktop Java in general hasn't exactly taken the world by storm, and has recently gotten even more of a bad rep due to all the security problems. So, Swing and JavaFX work fine, but don't bank on them getting you any paid work.


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Bear Bibeault
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I agree with Ulf. It can't really be "dying and decaying" if it never really lived at all.


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Pamela Hendersen
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Joined: Mar 13, 2013
Posts: 13
So why does Java even have swing in the first place ? Only so that java developers can have something besides the console to control their programs ? Looks like Java itself was meant to be an ONLY back-end language.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Pamela Hendersen wrote:So why does Java even have swing in the first place ? Only so that java developers can have something besides the console to control their programs ? Looks like Java itself was meant to be an ONLY back-end language.

Three to eight years ago, the financial industry was writing Swing UIs for the traders. I don't know if they still do.


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Bear Bibeault
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No one (at least that I know) has a crystal ball. I'm sure that the originators had high hopes for it.

Besides, it's hard to cut off a limb, even if it's dying and gangrenous.
Pamela Hendersen
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Joined: Mar 13, 2013
Posts: 13
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Pamela Hendersen wrote:So why does Java even have swing in the first place ? Only so that java developers can have something besides the console to control their programs ? Looks like Java itself was meant to be an ONLY back-end language.

Three to eight years ago, the financial industry was writing Swing UIs for the traders. I don't know if they still do.


Probably replaced by a web based front end.

I did a search on Indeed, Simply Hired and Dice. Surprisingly, a lot of jobs require Swing. However, after a quick glance at some of them, I noticed that they require many other skills also. I suspect that Swing is only a small part of these jobs.
Unless legacy swing code is the issue, why do people want to use Swing and hire people for Swing ? Are these employers merely including Swing only because they use a job requirement creation template from 5 years ago ?

Why people, why do you want to use swing ?
Ulf Dittmer
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Pamela Hendersen wrote:So why does Java even have swing in the first place ? ... Looks like Java itself was meant to be an ONLY back-end language.

Java started its life on the client-side; the server-side came later.

However, after a quick glance at some of them, I noticed that they require many other skills also. I suspect that Swing is only a small part of these jobs.
Unless legacy swing code is the issue, why do people want to use Swing and hire people for Swing ?

The main use for Java GUIs at this point is probably specialized in-house GUIs, for which it's hard to gauge how wide-spread thy are (somewhat similar to the niche Motif used to inhabit). Those would generally use some network technology to access server-side resources, so Swing would be used alongside JAX-RS, JAX-WS, sockets, RMI, EJB etc. If for some reason companies want to build a desktop app instead of a web app for some of their systems, there's value in using the same programming language.
Pamela Hendersen
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Joined: Mar 13, 2013
Posts: 13
Ulf Dittmer wrote:
The main use for Java GUIs at this point is probably specialized in-house GUIs, for which it's hard to gauge how wide-spread thy are (somewhat similar to the niche Motif used to inhabit). Those would generally use some network technology to access server-side resources, so Swing would be used alongside JAX-RS, JAX-WS, sockets, RMI, EJB etc. If for some reason companies want to build a desktop app instead of a web app for some of their systems, there's value in using the same programming language.


Agree. If most of your tools are based on java, then why hire another person just for non-java UI ? Use the existing employees to do it.
Looks like swing is just piggybacking on the need for other "tools" like JAX-RS, JAX-WS, sockets, RMI, EJB etc.

Maneesh Godbole
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Like Jeanne mentioned, trading/financial applications are still being developed using Swing. Netbeans itself is written in Swing.
I think the main reason for Swing popularity going down is a major shift to web based UIs.


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Joe McTigue
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Joined: Mar 05, 2012
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Hey now... some of us old timers here really like tinkering around with swing. :-)
Mack Wilmot
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Joined: Jul 27, 2011
Posts: 88

NetBeans is a platform as well as an IDE and some people are using it for their in-house applications too. You can see a list of applications here:

http://netbeans.org/features/platform/index.html
 
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