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Ivor Horton's Beginning Java™ 2, JDK™ 5th Edition by Ivor Horton

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17.1. Graphical User Interfaces in Java

There is a vast amount of functionality in the Java class libraries devoted to supporting graphical user interface (GUI) creation and management, far more than it is feasible to cover in a single book—even if it is big. Just the JFrame class, which you'll begin to explore in a moment, contains more than 200 methods when you include those inherited from superclasses! I will therefore have to be selective in what I go into in detail, in terms of both the specific classes I discuss and their methods. However, I will cover the basic operations that you need to understand to create your own applications and applets. With a good grasp of the basics, you should be able to explore other areas of the Java class library beyond those discussed without too much difficulty.

The fundamental elements that you need to create a GUI reside in two packages, java.awt and javax.swing. The java.awt package was the primary repository for classes you would use to create a GUI way back in Java 1.1—awt being an abbreviation for Abstract Windowing Toolkit—but many of the classes this package defines have been superseded in Java 2 by javax.swing. Note that I said many of the classes, not all. Most of the classes in the javax.swing package define GUI elements, referred to as Swing components, that provide much-improved alternatives to components defined by classes in java.awt. You'll be looking into the JButton class in the Swing set that defines a button, rather than ...

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