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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org