Java Swing (Java (O'Reilly))

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9781565924550: Java Swing (Java (O'Reilly))

The Swing classes eliminate Java's biggest weakness: its relatively primitive user interface toolkit. Swing provides many new components and containers that allow you to build sophisticated user interfaces, far beyond what was possible with AWT. The old components have been greatly improved, and there are many new components, like trees, tables, and even text editors. It also adds several completely new features to Java's user interface capabilities: drag-and-drop, undo, and the ability to develop your own "look and feel," or the ability to choose between several standard looks. The Swing components are all "lightweight," and therefore provide more uniform behavior across platforms, making it easier to test your software.All these new features mean that there's a lot to learn. Swing is undoubtedly way ahead of AWT -- or, for that matter, any widely available user interface toolkit -- but it's also a lot more complicated. It's still easy to do simple things. But once you've seen what's possible, you won't want to do the simple things.Java Swing gives you in-depth coverage of everything you need to know to take full advantage of Swing, providing detailed descriptions of every class and interface in the key Swing packages. It shows you how to use all of the new components, allowing you to build state-of-the-art user interfaces. It also discusses how the components implement the MVC (Model View Controller) architecture, so you can understand how the components are designed and subclass them intelligently. Finally, it shows how to create your own "look and feel." Throughout, Java Swing focuses on giving you the context you need to understand what you're doing. It's more than documentation; Java Swing helps you develop code quickly and effectively.Whether you're a serious Java developer, or just trying to find out what Java can do, you'll find Java Swing an indispensable guide.

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Review:

Java Swing is an excellent introduction to the latest developments in Java-interface technology. The authors explain how (and why) to use Swing components, and meanwhile proceed to document the entire Swing API with the thoroughness and accuracy programmers have come to expect from O'Reilly & Associates.

Eckstein, Loy, and Wood start with an architectural overview of Swing and its relationship to the Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) and the rest of Java. They talk a little bit about converting programs from the old AWT to the Swing-enhanced AWT, and explain how Swing manages components' "look and feel" characteristics. There's also coverage of actions, which are among Swing's handiest new features.

From that point, they proceed to guide readers through the Swing forest, pointing out all the important stuff along the way. Mostly, this tour takes the form of graphical user interface (GUI) component documentation, with chapters devoted to buttons, lists, tables, panes, and the other thingamajigs you can put on-screen with Swing. All the classes in each category get entries, many of which include good commentary and some examples. The authors give some attention to the Accessibility API and its associated utilities, too.

A detailed chapter that walks the reader through the process of creating a custom look and feel distinguishes Java Swing from its competitors--this potentially confusing process is explained clearly and thoroughly. --David Wall

About the Author:

Robert Eckstein, an editor at O'Reilly, works mostly on Java books (notably Java Swing) and is also responsible for the XML Pocket Reference and Webmaster in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition. In his spare time he has been known to provide online coverage for popular conferences. He also writes articles for JavaWorld magazine. Robert holds bachelor's degrees in computer science and communications from Trinity University. In the past, he has worked for the USAA insurance company and more recently spent four years with Motorola's cellular software division. He is the co-author of Using Samba.

Marc Loy is a senior programmer at Galileo Systems, LLC, but his day job seems to be teaching Java and Perl to various companies -- including Sun Microsystems. He has played with Java since the alpha days and can't find his way back to C. He is developing an interactive learning application at Galileo written entirely in Java. He received his master's degree in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and still lives in Madison with his partner, Ron Becker. He does find time to relax by playing the piano and/or throwing darts, depending on how successful the day of teaching or programming was.

David Wood is Technical Director of Plugged In Software in Brisbane, Australia, where he works with a wonderful team producing Java custom software. In his eclectic career he has been a ship's navigator, deep sea salvage engineer, and aerospace project manager for the U.S. Navy, and consulted to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Netscape. David enjoys hiking and sailing with his very patient wife and teaching his son Perl before he goes to kindergarten. David holds degrees in mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and the Virginia Military Institute.

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