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Swing Hacks: Tips and Tools for Building Killer GUIs by Joshua Marinacci, Chris Adams

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<pre>
Author/s : Joshua Marinacci, Chris Adamson
Publisher : O'Reilly
Category : Swing, AWT, and Graphics
Review by : Ernest J. Friedman-Hill
Rating : 8 horseshoes
</pre>
Most Java programmers, if they use Swing at all, use it in a fairly superficial way, accepting default configurations for most components and letting the built-in "look and feel" supply the appearance and behavior. The more knowledgeable programmer might know how to adopt the platform-specific look and feels on each platform. But it's quite rare for a Swing programmer to customize things much beyond that.

All of which is really a shame. Swing is like that cliched iceberg: just the top of it floats above the surface, with the vast bulk of possibility submerged in the depths. In this clever book, Marinacci and Adamson show you how to mine those depths and come up with GUIs that don't look like Java applications at all.

The book is a collection of recipes for achieving spectacular effects. A lot of thought seems to have been put into making the examples small enough for a book. There are only a few multi-page listings among the 100 recipes between these covers.

If I have a complaint, it's that the book has a fairly obvious slant toward the Mac OS X platform. Many of the hacks are devoted to making your application emulate a Macintosh feature. In a way, this is justifiable -- after all, OS X's GUI includes many innovations not included in Swing by default -- but it's likely to leave those folks primarily interested in making Swing fit in better on Windows a little jealous.


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