SWT: A Developer's Notebook
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2004
Pages: 320

The Eclipse platform continues to gain tremendous popularity as both a Java IDE and a Java platform for application programming. One of the core underpinnings of Eclipse is SWT, the Standard Widget Toolkit. This set of components can be used to develop graphical user interfaces in Java,and offer a native-code alternative to Java's Swing and AWT components. 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 are run.But you already know what you want to do--so wading through the basics of user interface design, graphical components, and what a button does is simply a waste of time. Enter SWT: A Developer's Notebook. In typical Developer's Notebook style, you'll learn how to take SWT out for a spin, make it work for you, and turn it upside down, all without wasted words or space. Each lab in this notebook details a specific task; you can read from the first page to the last, look up just what you need to know, and even squeeze this book into your laptop bag as a quick reference when you forget how to create a multi-tabbed view.This book covers:

  • Downloading and configuring Eclipse and SWT
  • Menus, toolbars, and buttons
  • Building tabbed layouts and folders
  • SWT's unique coolbar control
  • Adding listeners and responding to events
  • Building a complete SWT-based application
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oreillySWT: A Developer's Notebook

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


This got me going with SWT

By Dave

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly SWT: A Developer's Notebook:

I have just learned SWT in an afternoon from this book, but did have the advantage of being reasonably proficient with Swing. I was provoked to write a review as I thought that one of th existing reviews was unfair in saying that the code examples did not work. I was happy to provide my own ico files etc. and would not have expected these to be provided by the author, and the examples worked for me. I typed them into an Eclipse IDE rather than downloading them from the O'Reilly site.

I then checked out where SWT is today and there are now quite a few more widgets than described in the book, but at least I came away with a new skill set in a remarkably short time and I am grateful to Tim Hatton for that.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)



By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly SWT: A Developer's Notebook:

I tried this book while being a novice on both Java and SWT. I found it great to design quicly IHM. I understand that Java expert may be disapointed by this book, but if you are a novice and want to go quicly on designing SWT... this is the book



By JavaCoder

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly SWT: A Developer's Notebook:

Very disappointed.

The included code doesn't all work for two reasons

1) basic code flaws that the compiler flags, and once you fix these, 2) none of the graphics (ico) files needed to run many of the examples are included in the companion files on the web site.

Hard for a relative newbie to Eclipse and the SWT to learn when these obstacles are encountered.

All in all, as it stands, this book is extremely frustrating and a waste of money.

If the code and graphics problems were fixed, it could be a great book.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Author is incredible blithering

By Pico

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly SWT: A Developer's Notebook:

Series creator promising reader is learning something from a master, but all I can see is he repeat telling you how to create a widget with almost same sentance.

Author is repeat same task using same clause over and over again.

He using boring words with no insignt to reapeat same thing over and over again.

You can find author is bang on same topic (how to create widget instance to add to the shell) over and over again.

Reader will see author is repeat...do you see some pattern here? I see the same thing happen on this poor written book too.

I'm very disappoint about this book and feel sorry to the author-you spent 300 pages to discuss only one thing: how to create widget instance and add to the shell, aren't you?


It's a notebook alright, where's the rest of it ?

By marcelol

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly SWT: A Developer's Notebook:

It's a little difficult to place this book. I came away with the sense that while the goals were well intentioned, and the coverage of SWT itself left me feeling a little...wanting.

The ordering of the chapters were a little hop-scotched. While "Shells" are a good place to start, and menu's are a logical follow-on, jumping to toolbars as the third chapter does, leaves you with a feeling of "Huh?". I think the layout chapter should've come much earlier in the book, perhaps after introducing a couple of the more basic controls.

Before even discussing shells, I think a bit more introduction on a couple of topics was warranted. Since these topics have more to do with Eclipse than SWT, I ask your indulgence. While you CAN develop for SWT without Eclipse, frankly how many of us don't take maximum advantage of the facilities of the IDE's to do much of the tedium in creating the infrastrcture of our projects. This is where the SWT Developer's Notebook falls a little short.

Yes, to the purist, thinking of the "Notebook" series as being a sequence of notes and clear cut examples for how to do things, this might sound like a departure from the intended form. But, it's one that I think would've been well suited here. As an example, I point out the Eclipse Cookbook ( also from O'Reilly press, released just a few months ago ), which does go into this topic, if not in depth, just enough to help the novice get going. It's not like there was NO information, but rather that what little there was ; was just plain disjointed. Sure, it's nice to be shown how you can have the path to the SWT jar's to the libraries added to your build libraries ( and the where the SWT DLL's are for the classpath ), but there's no mention of how to kickstart your first SWT project.

There was also simply NO mention of any of the available visual editors: Jigloo by CloudGarden, SWT Designer by Instantiations, SWT Workbench, and the Eclipse Project's own Visual Editor, most of which have been around for quite a while. Some Java purists will surely decry, "I do my UI in code, by hand". Apparently those dinosaurs haven't

been exposed to other RAD-based development environments ( or they're simply not doing that much UI-based work ). However, for those who are, and have been, having a UI design tool these days, is almost indispensible. Sure, this book isn't meant to be an ad for any of those products, but since this book is about the UI library provided by Eclipse, it bore mentioning.

I also felt strongly that anyone who wants to make use of the samples in this book, should've had a them available for download. As of writing of this review ( 10/31/2004 ), they're still not up on the O'Reilly site.

Now that I've thrashed about those points that I didn't like, let me tell you what I did like. I likes that the chapters, in and of themselves, were streamlined, and not full of fluff. The examples were succcinct and to the point.

This Developer's Notebook ( of the three that I own so far, the Mono Developers Notebook, and Tiger 1.5 Java Notebook being the other two ) is the only one that left me with the feeling of a spy novel that leaves you wanting. It's a good start for a series, and I think it's laid down reasonable ground to develop an "SWT Developer's Second Notebook". Topics as the custom controls library ( and a little JFACE wouldn't hurt ), such as the TableTree, CLabel, and CCombo controls, just to name a few, come to mind. Another area just waiting to be explored is the interopability layer built into SWT ( SWT_AWT ) which allows you to embed SWING/SWT controls, within an SWT composite ( also briefly discussed in the Eclipse Cookbook ). Perhaps the authors will consider this, and expand this series. In summary, it's a good primer despite it's rough edges, let's just hope there's a sequel.

Marcelo R. Lopez, Jr.


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