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Swing seems to be en vogue at the moment, whereas not long ago it was SWT that was fashionable.

I’ve never developed with SWT before, but I’m finding that there’s less reason to do so now that before. JDK1.5 enhanced the Windows look and feel to make Java apps look more like Windows native apps. If you want to take it a step further, you can use something like the Plastic L&F which will give you excellent results.

Taking it one step further again, Romain Guy explains how to get more from the Plastic L&F.

I’ve no doubt you can get similar results with SWT, but is it worth it? I’d be interested in other peoples opinions. Do you develop with Swing or SWT?

I’ve just taken my first steps in EJB3 and started writing some small sample applications so that I can get up to speed on it.

I’ve been doing J2EE for some time now so I thought I’d have a look at the new EJB 3 stuff and see how it differs. I’m a fan of JBoss, which provides a version of EJB3 on JBoss 4.0.3RC1. The EJB3 support can also be ported to run on JBoss 4.0.2.

Installing JBoss with EJB3 support is a doddle. I used the webstart installer on the JBoss website and installation proceeded smoothly without any problems. During the installation, you are asked which configuration of JBoss you want (all, default, ejb3 etc.). Both the all and ejb3 configurations provide EJB3 support.

So far, I’ve primarily been looking at Session beans. I’m impressed at the lack of verbose XML that needs to be written to deploy the beans (i.e. there was none!). The lack of boilerplate code required to develop these beens is very impressive, in fact my ant script was by far the most complex thing in my sample project.

I’ll post some more comments as I delve deeper, but so far I’m impressed and I think EJB3 is a large leap forwards in J2EE.

I’ve just come across this tip over on listing JDBC drivers and their connection strings for many different database vendors.

It may come in handy someday so I’ve bookmarked it here.

I was surprised though that it doesn’t contain details of the jTDS driver for SQL Server.

There’s a lot of debate at the moment on the merits of GUI builders, in particular Matisse – the new GUI builder for NetBeans.

I’ve heard people suggest that GUI builders shouldn’t be used and all user interfaces should be manually coded. I don’t really subscribe to this line of thought. I can’t imagine that any serious GUI is completely manually coded nowadays – thats the sort of think I used to do in the mid-90s developing Windows 3.1 software. Surely things have moved on a lot since then?

When you’re considering GUI builders, I believe you have to think about how the “other side” (i.e. Microsoft) do things. It's impossible to deny that Visual Studio allows users to create fantastic looking GUIs in a fraction of the time that it takes to develop a similar Swing GUI. I’m not saying that you can’t develop professional looking GUIs in Swing (just take a look at IntelliJ IDEA for example), but that they take a lot longer to develop in Swing. I for one, am looking forward to Matisse. I think that Java is lacking in GUI support as compared to Visual Studio and completely welcome products like Matisse.