Swing Sightings Volume 1

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Swing Sightings Volume 1

June 25th, 2001

One of the most exciting kinds of e-mail that the Swing/JFC team receive is a product announcement for a new JavaTM application that features a Swing GUI. A close runner-up is the URL for a new game or a compelling never-before-seen applet.

Over the years we've collected many links to this information. In fact, if you walked down the hallways here you would see the walls plastered with hundreds of screenshots from applications developed outside of Sun. Therefore, we have decided to launch a Swing Connection feature to share this bounty. Don't expect a comprehensive survey; these are applications that we bumped into or that found us.

This feature is called "Swing Sightings" and here are several new applications we've happened upon recently. Previous Swing Sightings are available in the numbered web pages listed below. These applications don't come with our special seal of approval (we don't have one) and, although we may have tried some of them out, we don't claim to have really tested any of them. They're here because, based on the descriptions and the screenshots on their web sites, they look like good examples of what is possible with Swing.

The button indicates that if you have Java Web Start installed, you can launch the appication by just simply clicking on the the button. Note: if you don't have Java Web Start installed, you can get it here.

If you know of an application that should be considered for this Swing Connection feature, we'd love to hear about it.

Java IDE: IntelliJ

Most IDEs for the Java development environment are general purpose -- they provide support for building GUIs and working with databases, as well as writing, executing, and debugging code. The IDEA IDE from IntelliJ is somewhat different. Its focus is just on the last three items with special emphasis on tools for refactoring your code. It's small, it performs very well, and it's very easy on the eyes. Take a look!

Check out IDEA.

(note: click on the images for larger views)


 XML Editor: Morphon Technologies

XML is everywhere!

It's an integral part of the new Sun TM Open Net Environment Webtop, and it's the preferred syntax for a seemingly endless stream of new standard data formats and protocols. There are several general purpose XML editors written with Swing, and here's one from Morphon Technologies, all the way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

(note: click on the images for larger views)

XML Graphics Editor: Apache

If you've ever wondered what kinds of on-screen magic can be created with Java2D TM package in the Java Foundation Classes, you'll want to check out the Batik SVG Tookit by the Apache XML Project. SVG stands for "Scalable Vector Graphics" (and occasionally "Something Very Good"). It's an XML format for artwork that can be nicely rendered by the Batik viewer. You can write SVG documents with an ordinary text editor or you can use a real graphics tool, like Adobe Illustrator.

And now you can launch the Batik viewer with Java Web Start.

(note: click on the images for larger views)

Personal Finance: Appgen

Here's an application for managing your money from the financial software company, Appgen. On June 8th 2001, they released version 3.1 which runs on the Mac OS, Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Windows, OS/2 operating environments. Moneydance has the honor of being one of the first applications to debut on OS X. In fact, a nice introduction to Moneydance on Apple's web site shows MoneyDance sporting the OS X Aqua look and feel for Swing.

Check out Moneydance, or see more Moneydance screenshots here.

(note: click on the images for larger views)


  Computer Music: Queensland University of Technology

JMusic is a programming library for musicians written at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). It includes broad support for creating sounds and compositions, and it comes with a set of GUI widgets based on Swing. Check out the screenshots and listen to some of the music composed with this impressive suite of software.

Check out jMusic, or see some jMusic applications.

(note: click on the images for larger views)

  Download Accelerator: SwarmCast

The SwarmCast Gateway application is not just interesting for its use of Swing and Java Web Start, it is also an interesting technical feat in the peer-to-peer space. The application supports fast downloads of very large files by finding nearby "peer" computers that are also running the application and have already downloaded the file, and then downloads pieces of the file in parallel from them. The application is in beta and they are presently serving up the movie trailer for the new science fiction movie, Final Fantasy.

Check out Swarmgate.

  Napster Client

One of the most widely discussed, you might even say notorius, applications on the web today is the Napster "file sharing" application. The standard client for Napster is a conventional PC desktop application. However, there is also a Java client that can talk to the Napster servers.

Check out the Java implementation of a file sharing application.

Unfortunately, this project appears to have been retired.

  Gnutella Client: LimeWire

If you've been following the debate about the future of Napster, you've probably heard about an alternative "peer to peer" file sharing system with a lower profile approach called "gnutella". There is a beautiful gnutella client available at LimeWire that sports a slick Swing custom look and feel. A clever animation of a cross-sectioned lime is used as an activity monitor in the download portion of the application.

(note: click on the images for larger views)

With the aggressive filtering going on a Napster, LimeWire appears to have become a huge hit!

  Graph Drawing : OpenJGraph and Tom Sawyer Software

There is an active open source project called OpenJGraph whose objective is providing support for creating and manipulating graphs.


A commercial package for graphs from Tom Sawyer Software provides comprehensive support for graphing. They've been writing graph software for about ten years now!

Check out the Graph Editor Toolkit.

(note: click on the images for larger views)

  Mars Settlement Simulation: Scott Davis

The Mars Simulation Project is a freeware project that creates a simulation of future human settlements on Mars. So, if you're thinking about moving there, or if you'd just like to play city planner, take a look. Interestingly, the site's home page notes that, although the simulation is intended to be realistic, it might be morphed into a game at some point.

(note: click on the images for larger views)


As promised, we'd also like to reveal some of our favorite applets. Here's one from a game development company called FriendlyGiants that consistently makes people's jaws drop. It's an an arcade style shoot-em-up scroller with a 640x480 fixed size window. It's very responsive, has a great audio track, and manages to put up about 50 frames a second. It's also loads of fun to play.

Blast 'em up with Blastian!



(note: click on the images for larger views)

 Java Toaster: Robin Southgate

Last, but most certainly not least (and to be truthful not exactly a Swing Sighting) is this Java powered toaster from Robin Southgate from Brunel University in England. The toaster burns the weather forcast into bread, all controlled by Java. The weather forcast is downloaded over a phone line.






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