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Matisse - The New NetBeans GUI Builder

By: Admin, 06 Jun 2005

Developing a graphical user interface (GUI) used to be a tricky part of Java programming. Developers old and new to Swing often spend countless frustrating hours poring over layout code. Even with the help of advanced GUI builders such as the NetBeans IDE 4.1 Form Editor, designing professional-looking, cross- platform GUIs can be a tedious and error-prone task.

The Matisse project solves the core problem of Java GUI creation by making the layout design of visual forms much easier. The project extends the current NetBeans IDE 4.1 Form Editor to support a brand new "Free Design" paradigm that exposes simple layout rules that are easy to understand and use quickly. It lets you lay out components freely, providing visual guidelines for optimal spacing between components and alignment of components. Matisse infers the appropriate resizing behavior -- and more, freeing the developer from the complexities of Swing layout managers. The developer just uses an intuitive visual form builder to produce a professional GUI easily and in the background Matisse produces the correct implementation using a layout manager and other Swing constructs.

The new design capabilities of the NetBeans Form Editor will be in the next release of the IDE, with a preview development version coming out for JavaOne 2005.

If you want to get a feel for what Matisse will look like, try the interactive demo by Roman Strobl.

Be sure to check out the activities taking place at NetBeans Software Day and from the various NetBeans Sessions at JavaOne.

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