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Deep Dive: Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT)

September 11, 2008


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Host: Ed Ort, Senior Staff Information Engineer, Sun Microsystems
Guest: Yoav Barel, Group Manager, Engineering Services Group, Sun Microsystems

Running Time: 22:27

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Last May I had the opportunity to attend a technical keynote session on mobility tools and technologies at the 2008 JavaOne Conference. There were a number of interesting demos, but the one that really caught my eye was a demonstration of the Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT) by Yoav Barel, the manager of the Sun group in Israel that developed the toolkit. LWUIT is a lightweight user interface (UI) library that developers can bundle with their applications. Significantly, LWUIT allows developers to overcome a lot of the challenges they face in creating compelling UIs for mobile devices and in making those UIs appear and act consistently across the range of mobile devices that run Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME). Think Swing for mobile devices and you'll come pretty close to the power and functionality of LWUIT. In fact, the development team was inspired by the Swing approach, even to the point of adopting Swing's MVC paradigm.

LWUIT Demo Screen
LWUIT Demo Screen

 

LWUIT offers a wide range of features for UI development including support for rendering, tabs, layouts, transition effects (even 3D rotation), as well as an easy to use theme editor targeted to graphic designers. But the really amazing thing is that the team was able to fit all this functionality in a footprint that's rightsized for small mobile devices.

I came out of that session inspired by the demonstration and when it came time to schedule a deep dive on a mobility-related topic, I lost no time in contacting Yoav Barel. As it happened, Yoav was scheduled to participate in some meetings in the San Francisco Bay area. This gave me and other members of the SDN team the opportunity to do a deep dive with him on LWUIT. We hope you enjoy it. We sure did.

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