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November 29, 2004

"SWT: A Developer's Notebook": Write Once, Run Natively

Sebastopol, CA--"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.

In the typical Developer's Notebook style, SWT: A Developer's Notebook bypasses what developers already know--the basics of user interface design, graphical components, and what a button does--and jumps right to the core of SWT. Each lab in the book details a specific task; readers can work from the first page to the last, look up just what they need to know, or carry the book as a quick reference for on-the-spot fact checking. No other resource delves so deeply into SWT so quickly or shows as effectively what SWT is capable of doing. Without wasted words or space, this lab-style guide covers:

  • Setting up an SWT-friendly development environment
  • Building interactive menus, complete with separators, shortcut keys, and event handlersAdding toolbars and SWT coolbars, and integrating them with existing menu systemsCreating text fields, lists, and combo boxesAdding sliders, dialogs, and progress bars to applicationsCreating advanced interfaces using trees, tables, and tabbed folders

    The new Developer's Notebooks series from O'Reilly covers important new tools for software developers. Emphasizing example over explanation and practice over theory, the books focus on learning by doing--delivering the goods straight from the masters, in an informal and code-intensive style that suits developers. Developers who have been curious about SWT, but haven't known where to begin, will find a perfect starting point in SWT: A Developer's Notebook.

    Additional Reources:

    SWT: A Developer's Notebook
    Tim Hatton
    ISBN: 0-596-00838-4, 297 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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