What Java GUI development tool shoud I use?

In my previous post, I outlined the reasons why I was switching to Java as the programming language of choice for a football prediction system that I am developing. In this post, I try to decide what Java GUI development tool I should use? Should I use Swing or SWT as my Java GUI builder?

Getting to grips with Java

Eclipse IDE (Dowsnloaded from Google, vis Creative Commons - 06 Mar 2014)
Eclipse IDE (Dowsnloaded from Google, vis Creative Commons – 06 Mar 2014)

I still need to get my head around Java. As I said before, I have done some Java programming but I’ll need to get a lot more skilled with the language. But, as one of the key reasons for switching to Java is to try and find an easier way (for me) to develop a graphical user interface, I thought that I ought to try and make that decision now.


Digging around, there are some tools that I could use. Eclipse WindowBuilder seems to get a decent write up, so I decided to use that. At the time of writing, I have installed this as part of my Eclipse installation. So far, so good.

Swing or SWT as the Java GUI helper?

Once I started digging a little deeper, I found that I had to make another decsion, whether to use Swing or SWT as my Java GUI builder. This does not seem so easy to answer. Searching for comparisons (this one is typical) tends to brings up pros and cons for each, with the conclusion that there is no right or wrong answer, in the same way that there is not clear cut answer whether you should use Eclipse, NetBeans or IntelliJ as your IDE.

So, at the moment, I am still none the wiser whether to use Swing or SWT. Unless anybody has any insights (please feel free to leave a comment)  I think I might have to try both. Probably eaiser said than done, as I am no where near the stage where I can get a Window to display on the screen, let alone decide the best tool to do it!

I’ll try to report more later.

3 thoughts on “What Java GUI development tool shoud I use?”

  1. A few years back, I switched from Eclipse to NetBeans, primarily in order to use what was then Matisse (now Swing GUI Builder). I haven’t kept up on Eclipse developments, so I don’t know if they have improved their GUI design features. There’s a learning curve with any GUI designer, but Swing GUI Builder is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it.

  2. I’ve always used swing and I like it, however I’ve been hearing some of the new web frameworks compared to SWT, so if I was going to start from scratch I’d probably go with SWT — specifically I heard that Symphony II is like SWT.

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