Swing can be oh so sweet

March 23, 2009

If you had any doubts that Swing could deliver truly beautiful apps, then check out Dirk Lemmermann’s latest endeavor below, which is using Mac Widgets for Java. Dirk is working on a product to enable collaborative enterprise project and issue management, called “Planner’s Workbench”, which he’s aiming to release this summer. He’s really helped refine and improve the Mac Widgets for Java API, as he’s really using this stuff.

By the way, if Dirk’s name sounds familiar, that’s probably because your familiar with his powerful FlexGantt UI Framework (another really nice piece of work).


Dirk has posted more information about his app here.

30 Responses to “Swing can be oh so sweet”

  1. Mikael Grev Says:

    Hey, I can see a really nice Calendar Component in the fourth screen shot! :D


  2. Ken Says:

    I was impressed with the visual look of the calendar – nice work on that Mikael!

  3. Dan Howard Says:

    I don’t want to be a wet towel here but these are just screen shots. The only real way to judge this would be to run the app.

    How does it perform? Is drag & drop seamless? Do screen changes refresh nicely?

  4. Dan Howard Says:

    I take it back FlexGantt demo was sweet.

  5. Alan Hogan Says:

    I assume this is all faking the Mac UI? As in, if/when Apple changes Cocoa and Carbon from, say, gray gradients to slate blue gradients, these apps get frozen with the current look?

  6. Alan Hogan Says:

    (signing up for comment subscription)

  7. jaydfwtx Says:

    Looks awesome. I especially like the 2nd screenshot!

  8. Ken Says:


    Mac Widgets for Java is 100% Swing and Java 2D, so any changes to Cocoa will result in a Mac Widgets for Java update.


  9. bob Says:

    Absolutely beautiful! But if my app is cross platform do I have to develop multiple GUIs?

  10. Rajesh Says:

    Very cool Apps. Gr8 work :)

  11. Ken Says:


    Mac Widgets for Java looks the same across platforms for the most part.


  12. FYI: the Planner’s Workbench will use the MacWidgets together with the Nimbus look and feel when running on non Mac platforms. These two look and feels have enough in common so that it will look almost as good when running on Windows. However, I have to have a talk with Jasper Potts on how to create segmented buttons, though. I know that Nimbus already supports several of the Mac client properties (e.g. the different sizes) but not the ones for segmentation (first, middle, last button).

  13. Wow, that looks nice! How does it look on Windows?

  14. Thanks for the eye candy!

    Inspires one to write beautifully looking apps!

    Now, if also the code to create this was as beautiful (I sure hope it is).

  15. Ken Says:


    Dirk’s helped mature the API quite a bit, so I’m hoping you find it “beautiful”! There’s always more refactoring to be done though!


  16. hendrik Says:

    That calendar component sure looks great!

  17. Actually, there is quite a bit of the app that is already functional. As Ken said, we’re shooting for a summer release, but I guess that depends on how much of our time we can invest in it.

    Re: cross platform: yes, if you’re using platform-specific widgets, you’ll look weird on other platforms. Dave Thomas (the founder of OTI, not the Wendy’s guy) once said: you can have a strong specific solution, or you can have a weak general solution, but not both (at least it’s hard).

  18. Ken Says:


    Yeah, I really like Mikael’s calendar component – very high fidelity!


  19. Eli Says:

    How can I get my hands on the Calendar component?

    I have an app that could really use that.

  20. Ken Says:

    Hi Eli,

    You’ll find Mikael’s calendar component here:



  21. Eli Says:

    $795!! No thanks.

  22. ArAsh Says:

    amazing post, many thanks

  23. […] Swing can be oh so sweet If you had any doubts that Swing could deliver truly beautiful apps, then check out Dirk Lemmermann’s latest […] […]

  24. Harald K. Says:

    Looks really nice!

    Of course, it has to work as good as it looks, but seems that is taken care of as well.

    It seems that quite a few apps these days pops up with OS X look and feel, even on Windows (Apple’s Safari, iTunes and lately Spotify). Maybe a cross platform Aqua LAF (like Quaqua) might work?

    PS: As the extreme attention to detail guy I am, the following hack will make the split pane dividers look more OS X (assuming Aqua LAF):

    public void updateUI() {
    // Mac OS X fix
    setUI(new BasicSplitPaneUI() {
    protected void installDefaults() {
    BasicSplitPaneDivider divider = getDivider();
    if (getOrientation() == JSplitPane.VERTICAL_SPLIT && divider.getBorder() == null) {
    Border border = UIManager.getBorder(“SplitPaneDivider.horizontalGradientVariant”);


  25. Ken Says:

    Hi Harald,

    I hadn’t seen Spotify, but it looks like it has a well designed UI (albeit in C++). I think a good look and feel can transcend a platform. That is, if someone came up with a better look and feel for their app than Aqua on the Mac, I think users would be OK with it.


  26. […] Orr posts about an application developed by Dirk Lemmermann which looks very polished . It makes use of the Mac Widgets for Java project , and the post includes a number of screenshots […]

  27. SteWgosse Says:

    nice, really nice!

  28. […] Link: Swing can be oh so sweet « Exploding Pixels […]

  29. […] post is an update because Collapp has been featured before on Ken Orr´s blog. Ken is the author of MacWidgets, a framework for creating Swing clients that […]

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