Joshua Marinacci, whom I worked with when I was at Sun, is in the Bay area this week and we had dinner together tonight. He told me more about Flying Saucer, a project he’s been working on for a few years now.
Flying Saucer is an XHTML/CSS renderer written in pure Java that can be easily embedded in Swing applications. The latest version, R7, is quite impressive. The support for XHTML and CSS 2.1 is great and the rendering very fast. I was particularly surprised by the quality of the rendering of filthyrichclients.org, which caused many troubles to IE, Firefox and Safari:
Flying Saucer can do much more, like PDF and SVG rendering. While it would be foolish to write a full-fledged web browser upon this library, this project is extremely interesting and useful for regular desktop applications. Writing help screens or even complicated layouts becomes so much easier with Flying Saucer. The ability to embed any Swing component within a web page leads to countless wonderful user interfaces.