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Java™ Look and Feel Design Guidelines (2nd Edition) Paperback – March 19, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0201725889 ISBN-10: 0201725886 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, from Sun Microsystems, provides programmers with the requirements for creating user interfaces using the Java Foundation Classes (JFC). This handsomely printed book uses rich color on every page while demonstrating how you can create Java programs that will look great on any computer.

The book focuses on the built-in Java look-and-feel (called Metal). Early sections discuss the philosophy of Java user interfaces, which include excellent support for different languages and accessibility, keeping disabled users in mind.

Much of this text covers Java UI elements offering advice on creating more intuitive interfaces. Sections of the book look at the rudimentary, visual sensibilities needed for using colors and text appropriately, including how to design artwork (like icons and graphics) that fits in with the rest of the JFC interface. One example shows the step-by-step creation of a proper Java icon. Other sections propose standards for the number of pixels that should be used to separate onscreen elements. Sections on mouse, keyboard, and drag-and-drop user operations make clear how your Java programs should handle user actions.

Later this text surveys JFC components beginning with basic windows, dialog boxes, menus, and toolbars. Next it's on to individual components from basic controls (like buttons, checkboxes, and text controls) to more advanced components (like tables and tree controls). (This section, which lists the extensive options for selecting data and resizing table columns, shows the real sophistication of today's JFC package.)

Though it contains no actual Java code, Java Look and Feel Guidelines defines the visual design standard for the next generation of Java programs. It will useful for anyone who builds user interfaces during the software design process. --Richard Dragan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Overall impression: this is a lovely book. It's going to look very pretty sitting open on a desk. It will become a must-have for anybody developing Java GUIs. The material overall is very good. I particularly like the coffee-cup tips. I think that they are the most important part of the book. The list of suggested reading is _fabulous_. Also excellent is the listing of standard components, along with pictures, as an index. I'd like to see this reproduced in some prominent place, such as the inside covers. I really like the overall look of JLF. It's very clean. -- excerpt from review by Joshua Engel, Laurel, MD engel@knowledgebus.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (March 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201725886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201725889
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,140,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Whereas Windows developers usually have a copy of Microsoft's 'Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design' to turn to for advice on behaviour and usage of Windows elements, such a resource has been sorely lacking for developers of applications for the internet.
This book fills the gap admirably.
It provides a comprehensive set of guidelines on the use of the various components of an internet application (windows, dialogs, menus, buttons and so on), with detailed descriptions of their appearance and behaviour.
As with any set of guidelines, there are individual elements and recommendations with which one could disagree.
This is an eminently practical and useful book, and I believe it should be on the bookshelf of every developer of internet applications - whether using Java or another tool.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Creating clean, intuitive interfaces is a complex task using any set of tools. It is further complicated by the significant differences between the tools, both in appearance and performance, where a significant difference can be a rather small thing. The Java Swing toolkit and supporting classes differs from others and if it is your platform, then you should take a look at this book. Written by the interface experts at Sun Microsystems, this is as good as it gets.
At the meta-level, the guidelines are no different from those in any other language. The best designs are patterns that should be followed independent of the platform and some of the book is devoted to following those "universal" designs. From that perspective, the book is just another description of interfaces. However, the real value is at the specific level, where the reader is taken down to the point where Java differs from other platforms. All of the examples are demonstrated using a combination of point-by-point descriptions with supporting color figures.
I teach corporate training courses in Java, including one about designing interfaces and I write my own material for the classes. As I was reading the book, I went back through those lessons and made some alterations based on the guidelines. After following this up with a series of before and after contrast examinations, it was clear that the after was better than the before. I am confident that your experience will be the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Carpenter on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
One excellent feature of the book is that it and its code samples are available free online from Sun at java.sun.com/products/jlf/
This book is very specifically aimed at designers who want to lay out components that mesh visually with Java's Metal, a Swing-based (javax.swing) cross-platform look and feel. As another reviewer pointed out, it's not primarily about designing an interface for usability, but for look and feel. It doesn't completely ignore usability issues, but only covers the basics that are built into the platform. For instance, the book details how many pixels of space to use between buttons and how the text and image on the button should be placed and what it should look like in active/inactive/selected states. Another example is a detailed description of designing icon bitmaps for different color depths, platforms and internationalization.
This book's invaluable for the detailed description of the behavior of the Swing. A simple example is the description of selecting items in a JComboBox by (a) clicking the primary mouse button to activate the list and clicking on a selection, or by (b) depressing the primary mouse button, scrolling to the selection, and releasing.
This is not a book about Java programming per se, but contains many links to illustrative code examples for the look and feel. But you won't get a detailed description of event dispatching. (To the book's credit, it does examine which events are available per component.) Despite its wordiness, I like Kim Topley's book on JFC for the description of the event model and the components, but I haven't compared Topley's book to anything more recent.
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By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Overall the book is nice and was neccessary in the Java GUI space.
The only objection I have is invetion of Utility windows. The book says that utility windows should be used to hold palettes or tools and then goes on to say that utility windows do not close or minimize when the main application window is. Why would one want a utility window without the main application window. It also says that utility windows do not remain in front of application window. This is different than existing standards (look at standard tools like Photoshop) and is unneccesary. Imagine having to bring on the utility window to front everytime before being able to click on one of the palette buttons. It also says that the utility windows can be implemented using JDialog. However JDialogs close/minimize when the main application window is closed/minimized. Conventionaly tool palettes or floating toolbars are implemented using Dialogs (non-modal) which has a nice property of floating in front of the application window and minimizing with the application window.
There could have been more discussion on which control(s) should be chosen to represent real world concepts i.e. discussion on use of metaphors.
MDI design and other alternatives could have been discussed more.
Once again... Great initial effort. Keep up the good work...
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