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Part I: Overview
1: The Java Look and Feel
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1: The Java Look and Feel

As the Java platform has matured, designers and developers have recognized the need for consistent, compatible, and easy-to-use Java applications. The Java look and feel meets that need by providing a distinctive platform-independent appearance and standard behavior. The use of this single look and feel reduces design and development time and lowers training and documentation costs for all users.

This book sets standards for the use of the Java look and feel. By following these guidelines, you can create Java applications that effectively support all users worldwide, including those with physical and cognitive limitations.

Fundamentals of the Java Look and Feel

The Java look and feel is the default interface for applications built with the JFC. The Java look and feel is designed for cross-platform use and can provide:

  • Consistency in the appearance and behavior of common design elements
  • Compatibility with industry-standard components and interaction styles
  • Aesthetic appeal that does not distract from application content

Three distinctive visual elements are the hallmarks of the Java look and feel components: the flush 3D style, the drag texture, and the color model.

In the Java look and feel, component surfaces with beveled edges appear to be at the same level as the surrounding canvas. This "flush 3D" style is illustrated in the following figure.

Figure 1   Consistent Use of the Flush 3D Style


Flush 3D Style

The clean, modern appearance reduces the visual noise associated with beveled edges. Flush 3D components fit in with a variety of applications and operating systems. For details on the flush 3D style, see Producing the Flush 3D Effect.

A textured pattern, used throughout the Java look and feel, indicates items that users can drag. Such an indication cues cross-platform users in a reliable way. The following figure demonstrates several uses of the drag texture.

Figure 2   Consistent Use of the Drag Texture


Drag Texture

A simple and flexible color model ensures compatibility with platforms and devices capable of displaying quite different color depths. The default colors provide an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable scheme for interface elements, as shown in the following figure. For more on the Java look and feel default color theme, see Themes.

Figure 3   Consistent Use of Color Across Design Elements


Color Use

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