Friday, December 03, 2004

SWT: A Developer's Notebook

SWT: A Developer's Notebook
"One of the most exciting trends in software development is the move toward the use of open source tools and components to assist developers in quickly and easily completing assigned programming tasks," observes Tim Hatton, author of the new "SWT: A Developer's Notebook " (O'Reilly, US $29.95). "One of the most successful of the open source platforms is Eclipse," Hatton adds, "an open source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which is designed to enable developers to write code in any language, for any platform, using a standardized IDE."

The Eclipse platform has rapidly gained popularity as both a Java IDE and a Java platform for application programming. One of its core underpinnings is SWT, the Standard Widget Toolkit. This set of components can be used to develop graphical user interfaces in Java. Incorporating the look and feel of whatever platform the code is run on, SWT offers a lightning-fast approach to building GUIs--all of which actually look like they belong on the platform on which they're run.

"Although Java itself has built-in capability to develop graphical applications using the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and the Java Foundation Classes (Swing) components, these toolkits have been tarred with the brush of sluggish performance and an inability to deliver user interfaces that appear to seamlessly integrate with the operating system for which the GUI was developed," notes Hatton. "Such is the price we pay for the promise of Java--write once, run anywhere." Hatton emphasizes that the advantage of SWT is that it provides the ability to write once, run natively.

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