Hans Muller just announced the availability of the first prototype of the Application Framework for Swing. I had the chance to play with earlier version of this when I was at Sun and in late 2006 when I presented it at a French conference and I can assure you it’s good stuff.
The Application Framework is also the JSR 296. I presume that our comments are most welcome. There will also soon be a NetBeans module for visual support of JSR 296 in the GUI Builder.
JSR 296 does not intend to be yet another RCP like Eclipse’s or NetBeans Platform. It seems more like a good solid base to start new Swing applications easily. While it does not provide extensive features to create large scale applications, it does offer the most common requirements to quickly write an application. From what I have seen in the early NetBeans integration prototypes, it will also offer templates. For instance, you will be able to create a CRUD application by choosing the appropriate template when you click File > New Project in NetBeans.
Before delving into the code, you can take a look at the JavaOne 2006 and JavaPolis 2006 presentations, which introduce JSR 296 and its features. It provides a great overview that should make you want to try it.
Go take a look, it’s worth it!