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Look and Feel Options
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Look and Feel Options

You, the designer, have the first choice of a look and feel design. You can determine the look and feel you want users to receive on a specific platform, or you can choose a cross-platform look and feel.

Java Look and Feel--the Recommended Design

With a cross-platform look and feel, your application will appear and perform the same everywhere, simplifying the application's development and documentation.

  Do not specify a look and feel explicitly. This way, the Java look and feel, which is a cross-platform look and feel, is used by default.

  If an error occurs while specifying the name of any look and feel, the Java look and feel is used by default.

Supplied Designs

If you do not specify the Java look and feel, you can specify another look and feel--one that ships with the JFC or one that someone else has made. Note, however, that not all look and feel designs are available on every platform. For example, the Microsoft Windows look and feel is available only on the Microsoft Windows platform.

Because there is far more to the design of an application than the look and feel of components, it is unwise to give end users the ability to swap look and feel designs while working in your application. Switching look and feel designs in this way only swaps the look and feel designs of the components from one platform to another. The layout and vocabulary do not change. Since layout conventions vary from platform to platform, this situation can result in an interface that looks inappropriate. For instance, swapping look and feel designs does not change the titles of the menus. (If you must provide users with the ability to switch look and feel designs, see Appendix D.)

The look and feel designs available in the Java 2 SDK are:

  • Java look and feel. (Called "Metal" in the code.) The Java look and feel is designed for use on any platform that supports the JFC. This book provides recommendations on the use of the Java look and feel.
  • Microsoft Windows. (Called "Windows" in the code.) The Microsoft Windows style look and feel can be used only on Microsoft Windows platforms. It follows the behavior of components in applications that ship with Windows NT 4.0. For details, see Microsoft Windows User Experience, which is described in Microsoft Windows.
  • CDE. (Called "CDE/Motif" in the code.) The CDE style look and feel is designed for use on UNIX ® platforms. It emulates OSF/Motif 1.2.5, which ships with the Solaris TM 2.6 operating system. For details, see the CDE 2.1/Motif 2.1--Style Guide and Glossary, which is described in CDE.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, second edition.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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