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  [Swing] Can swing look sexy?  (Read 2168 times)
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Offline Jacob Pickens
« Posted 2014-05-07 16:49:59 »

I want to make more of a UI based program but I don't know what to use to make the UI.

I was going to use Slick2D since I knew it already except I don't want to have to code my own text boxes from scratch.

So, then I though: OOOOH Maybe I could use Swing. (Since I already have a little experience in it)

But then I started thinking about Swing and I started to worry about how they look so boring and formal.

So, my question is how do you make Swing sexy? How do you give it your own style instead of it's boring and basic style it has now? Or can I even use Swing at all?
Offline princec

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-05-07 17:27:19 »

Take a look here: http://www.javasoft.de/synthetica/themes/

Cas Smiley

Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-05-07 19:40:02 »

To expand on what princec hinted at, Swing supports different Look and Feels, which can customize the, uh, look and feel of your interface. The default Look and Feel of Swing is pretty flat, and in fact the Java developers suggest you at least use the Nimbus Look and Feel, which comes standard with every version of Java after 6u10. The only reason they didn't change the default is to preserve backwards compatibility.

There are a bunch of downloadable Look and Feels, and you can even create your own!

Edit: You might also want to check out a book called Filthy Rich Clients by Romain Guy and Chet Haase.

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Offline SilverTiger

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-05-07 19:52:27 »

Instead of Swing you could also use JavaFX, there you could even do some 3D Graphics an such.
And you can style your GUI like you want with Cascading Style Sheets. Wink
A easy start would be this tutorial Pointing

I actually think that Oracle wants JavaFX to replace Swing someday... in every Swing-Tutorial there's something about learning JavaFX.
Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-05-07 20:12:40 »

I actually think that Oracle wants JavaFX to replace Swing someday... in every Swing-Tutorial there's something about learning JavaFX.

Agreed. Although hopefully Oracle treats JavaFX better than they've treated the rest of client-side Java!

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Offline kpars

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-05-07 20:15:24 »

I have no idea why you would even want to use Swing for your game's GUI.

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Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-05-07 20:34:34 »

I have no idea why you would even want to use Swing for your game's GUI.

He said he wanted to make a GUI program, not a game.

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Online BurntPizza
« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-05-07 20:39:31 »

Sure. Another example is the original libGDX project setup tool, it's Swing.
Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-05-07 20:49:33 »

Sure. Another example is the original libGDX project setup tool, it's Swing.

So is the new libGDX setup tool: https://github.com/libgdx/libgdx/blob/master/extensions/gdx-setup/src/com/badlogic/gdx/setup/GdxSetupUI.java

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Offline Cero
« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-05-07 23:31:16 »

is javafx a standard part of the jdk now ?

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Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-05-08 00:57:26 »

is javafx a standard part of the jdk now ?

Yup. "As of JDK 7u6 JavaFX is included with the standard JDK and JRE bundles."

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Offline princec

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-05-08 10:11:02 »

I must learn JavaFX.... making GUIs in OpenGL and strangely designed XML is getting less and less appealing...

Cas Smiley

Offline gimbal

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-05-09 12:59:12 »

I've always liked Substance:

http://insubstantial.github.io/insubstantial/substance/see.html

Different skins, easy to use and it looks and animates incredibly slick.
Offline erikd

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-05-23 19:53:32 »

JavaFX is nice for that, but to be honest I don't think there's really a future for JavaFX.

JavaFX was originally designed for rich web applications, but there's really no point in going there anymore.
So both Swing and JavaFX are for desktop applications now, and while JavaFX has the potential to make things look very slick, being slick and sexy is usually not really what you want from a desktop GUI.

I've done a few projects with JavaFX, and there is a lot to say for it (I think it's quite well designed), but at the end of the day I still prefer Swing. 
And I even prefer Swing with plain Metal L&F (and I probably tested all 3rd party L&Fs). It's clean and fast, and can still look quite slick. Especially if you put a little effort in to set a nice font, remove the ugly borders, enable AA in custom components etc.
The main problem I had with JavaFX is that it might enable slick 'web-like' looking stuff relatively easily, but Swing always felt much more responsive in more complex GUIs.

Desktop applications typically need to be totally responsive, clean and productive, and I think being 'sexy' usually doesn't make a whole lot of sense there.
OTOH if you're making GUI-heavy game for the desktop (or some other desktop application that needs to look exotic) for whatever reason and you don't want to go OpenGL, JavaFX might still be a better option though.

Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-05-23 19:58:45 »

JavaFX is nice for that, but to be honest I don't think there's really a future for JavaFX.

The fact that you can deploy JavaFX to desktop, Android, *and* iOS is pretty exciting for the future of the project. Not everything has to be a web app.

Desktop applications typically need to be totally responsive, clean and productive, and I think being 'sexy' usually doesn't make a whole lot of sense there.

I agree with the first half, but not the second half. Applications also have to be "engaging" and "intuitive", both of which roughly translate into "sexy".

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Offline Cero
« Reply #15 - Posted 2014-05-23 20:13:31 »

Desktop apps are sexy. Example: latest Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max and all of the Adobe Creative Suite

Offline erikd

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2014-05-23 21:10:23 »

I agree with the first half, but not the second half. Applications also have to be "engaging" and "intuitive", both of which roughly translate into "sexy".

I think we're debating semantics here.

I agree applications have to be engaging and intuitive most of all, but I took "sexy" to mean things like "cool graphics and animations".
"Engaging and intuitive" means something else to me (even if there is some overlap). To me that mostly means "going from idea to result as best as possible".
Cool graphics and animations isn't the most important thing there, but the feeling of having an application that is focused to enable your ideas is.
To me Swing (or SWT) just works better there on the desktop, but YMMV.

Offline Nate

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2014-05-24 09:46:29 »

I must learn JavaFX.... making GUIs in OpenGL and strangely designed XML is getting less and less appealing...

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Offline princec

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2014-05-24 16:34:56 »

It's improved vastly in the last 7 days since I finally, after 10 years, got around to hot-updatable XML/textures/shaders/etc. We can just edit files and bingo! They update instantly in the game. That's rather nice. Could still do with a visual UI editor though. And a Spine importer...

Cas Smiley

Offline gene9

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2014-05-25 00:24:58 »

JavaFX was originally designed for rich web applications

JavaFX is basically a Swing competitor... It was publicized as a Web-centric RIA platform, which was a failure, but the technology itself isn't tied to the web in any way.

The main problem I had with JavaFX is that it might enable slick 'web-like' looking stuff relatively easily, but Swing always felt much more responsive in more complex GUIs.

I don't believe this at all.

OTOH if you're making GUI-heavy game for the desktop (or some other desktop application that needs to look exotic) for whatever reason and you don't want to go OpenGL, JavaFX might still be a better option though.

Swing and JavaFX are widget frameworks with data grids and buttons and checkboxes; that really doesn't make sense for the majority of games.

If you are making some odd game that uses lots of checkboxes and radio buttons and data app GUI stuff, then sure, go for it, but otherwise, you should use a more appropriate tool.
Offline erikd

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« Reply #20 - Posted 2014-05-25 19:17:39 »

JavaFX is basically a Swing competitor... It was publicized as a Web-centric RIA platform, which was a failure, but the technology itself isn't tied to the web in any way.
I know it's not tied to the web in any way, I just meant that it was mostly made to compete with popular RIA platforms.
My understanding is that it now sort of became the successor of Swing and that Swing won't get more attention than bug fixing.

I don't believe this at all.
Believe what you will, but I'm just telling you real-life on-the-job experience there.
JavaFX is great for most things, but we did run into performance issues when dealing with things like rich-text editing and really large documents where Swing still performed very well.
This was a few years ago, so things might have improved.

Swing and JavaFX are widget frameworks with data grids and buttons and checkboxes; that really doesn't make sense for the majority of games.

If you are making some odd game that uses lots of checkboxes and radio buttons and data app GUI stuff, then sure, go for it, but otherwise, you should use a more appropriate tool.
Oh I agree, and I wouldn't personally choose Swing or JavaFX for any game but I could imagine that there are some sorts of games where it could be usable. I suppose JavaFX would be useful for things like these typical free-to-play citybuilders and such, or football manager, that kind of thing. Games that are basically a traditional GUI dressed up with pretty graphics.

Anyway, I like JavaFX. I think it's nicely designed and more flexible than Swing with much less of the pitfalls.
Still I find myself usually going for Swing anyway. The things that JavaFX is particularly good at aren't important to me when making a desktop app.

Offline AllanM

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« Reply #21 - Posted 2014-05-28 15:58:28 »

Swing vs JavaFX is a bit like Flash vs HTML5. One on it's way out and the other is the future. Mind you Flash hasn't exactly died a death yet. But i would never go back to Swing now and haven't bothered with it since JavaFX 2.0 launched.
Offline Riven
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« Reply #22 - Posted 2014-05-28 16:25:47 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?

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Offline SilverTiger

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« Reply #23 - Posted 2014-05-28 19:24:06 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?
I'm making a WM 2014 Live Ticker for a lecture project... then again, it is a trivial application... Roll Eyes
It probably won't even be completed because my teammates are rather lazy... I neither have the will nor the time to program their parts too Emo

In the end I still prefer Swing over JavaFX.
Offline KevinWorkman

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2014-05-28 22:31:26 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?

I would bet that any GUI application development companies currently using Swing will start using JavaFX for their new projects. Source: my job.

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Offline erikd

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« Reply #25 - Posted 2014-05-28 22:33:08 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?

Nail on the head.
Proven technology (or 'legacy' if you will) is worth more if the new alternative is both 'bleeding edge' and 'already irrelevant'.

Offline erikd

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« Reply #26 - Posted 2014-05-28 22:37:55 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?

I would bet that any GUI application development companies currently using Swing will start using JavaFX for their new projects. Source: my job.

I can honestly say that I'm surprised that JavaFX is generating jobs today. Not unpleasantly surprised, but still surprised.

Offline AllanM

Junior Newbie





« Reply #27 - Posted 2014-05-29 12:19:59 »

JavaFX is supposedly the future, but so far it's a *tumbleweed* - who's making anything beyond trivial demos with it?
Have seen some stuff being developed with it but it is mostly on the Netbeans Platform. NASA seem to like it too. They are doing some interesting stuff with JavaFX 3D.

I can honestly say that I'm surprised that JavaFX is generating jobs today. Not unpleasantly surprised, but still surprised.

Where? I have yet to find any.  Cheesy
Offline princec

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« Reply #28 - Posted 2014-05-29 13:04:02 »

I've been watching it with more than a keen interest as a way to do really fancy game GUIs overlaid on top of a "traditional" LWJGL display. We have a tedious time of it creating GUIs in XML and wiring up all the events and animation and so on, and it'd be nice to have... someone else have done it all for us Smiley

The only other technology that interests me in this area is HTML5/CSS/JS rendering/processing overlaid on a Display, for which there are loads of tools and Chaz has tons of experience but we're just missing the crucially simple "missing link" library. badlogic was working on something along those lines, and there was Awesomium too but nothing seems to have quite come together. Yet.

Cas Smiley

Offline Cero
« Reply #29 - Posted 2014-05-29 15:15:19 »

Exactly, CSS.
That would be awesome if we could just use CSS to create a UI. Instead of hundreds of lines of code that are so also UI lib specific.

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