If you’ve been experimenting with Matisse, the new GUI builder that comes with NetBeans 5.0, you’ve probably wanted to run your app outside of the IDE at some time.
The LayoutManager used in Matisse is held in a jar file called swing-layout-0.7.jar which is in the ide6/modules/ext directory of NetBeans 5.0
You just need to add this jar file to your classpath to run Matisse generated GUI apps outside of the IDE.
I blogged recently about the need for good GUI builders in Java.
Yesterday, I downloaded the latest daily release of NetBeans 5.0 and tried out Matisse. I’ve seen the demos of it being used, but never had the chance to use it myself.
I was very impressed with how it all worked and how easy it was to construct dialogs. There were a few stability issues with it, but thats to be expected from a daily build.
Not long now until there is a beta available!
There’s a lot of debate at the moment on the merits of GUI builders, in particular Matisse – the new GUI builder for NetBeans.
I’ve heard people suggest that GUI builders shouldn’t be used and all user interfaces should be manually coded. I don’t really subscribe to this line of thought. I can’t imagine that any serious GUI is completely manually coded nowadays – thats the sort of think I used to do in the mid-90s developing Windows 3.1 software. Surely things have moved on a lot since then?
When you’re considering GUI builders, I believe you have to think about how the “other side” (i.e. Microsoft) do things. Its impossible to deny that Visual Studio allows users to create fantastic looking GUIs in a fraction of the time that it takes to develop a similar Swing GUI. I’m not saying that you can’t develop professional looking GUIs in Swing (just take a look at IntelliJ IDEA for example), but that they take a lot longer to develop in Swing. I for one, am looking forward to Matisse. I think that Java is lacking in GUI support as compared to Visual Studio and completely welcome products like Matisse.
I’m thinking of starting to use Netbeans 4.1 full time for my Java devlopment. In no particular order, these are the reasons why.
- It supports JDK 1.5 out of the box.
Now that I use JDK 1.5 features, I wouldn’t like to give them up. Typesafe collections, enumerations, annotations. Without these Java would be a much weaker language.
- It’s fast.
Even on old machines I’ve tried it on, it works well. I’ve used it regularly on a Linux desktop with 256M of memory and its still responsive
- Developing Web Applications is very productive.
With the embedded Tomcat, its very quick to start Tomcat up and debug web aps by right clicking on a jsp and selecting “Debug”.
- Its got a good GUI designer.
You can design your GUIs within NB easily and then see what they look like. Maybe this isn’t as powerful as the GUI builder in IntelliJ IDEA 4, but its close. However, the upcoming GUI builder, Matisse, looks very promising.