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Java Swing, 2nd Edition by Brian Cole, James Elliott, Marc Loy, Robert Eckstein, Dave Wood

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Creation of a Custom Look-and-Feel

Everything we’ve covered in this chapter up to this point has been useful background information for the ultimate application customization strategy: creating your own L&F. As you might guess, this is not something you’ll do in an afternoon, nor is it usually something you should consider doing at all. However, thanks to the L&F framework, it’s not as difficult as you might think. In a few instances, it actually makes sense, such as when you’re developing a game. You’ll likely find that the most difficult part is coming up with a graphical design for each component.

There are basically three different strategies for creating a new L&F:

  • Start from scratch by extending LookAndFeel and extending each of the UI delegates defined in javax.swing.plaf.

  • Extend the BasicLookAndFeel and each of the abstract UI delegates defined in javax.swing.plaf.basic.

  • Extend an existing L&F, like MetalLookAndFeel, and change only selected components.

The first option gives you complete control over how everything works. It also requires a lot of effort. Unless you are implementing an L&F that is fundamentally different from the traditional desktop L&Fs, or you have some strong desire to implement your own L&F framework from scratch, we strongly recommend that you do not use this approach.

The next option is the most logical if you want to create a completely new L&F. This is the approach we’ll focus on in this section. The BasicLookAndFeel has been designed as an abstract framework ...

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