The Secret Behind Nimbus

Jasper just posted a blog entry in which he explains that Nimbus is almost done. That is exciting. Even more exciting is how Nimbus was implemented. Nimbus was built entirely with shapes and vectors in a visual editing tool built as a NetBeans module. This let Jasper and Richard draw every single component, even the icons, rather than hand-coding them… and the tool simply generates the Java 2D code. As bonus, everything is based on Painters, so you can easily replace parts of the look and feel with your own painters. Or you can reuse the painters for totally different purposes. I’ve been hearing about this tool for a while now and it has lots of great features, like layers, layers effects (drop shadows or glows), and so on.

That means we will all soon be able to create look and feels from scratch without writing any line of code and still get resolution independence and great performance. I can only hope this will lead to the release of many high-quality look and feels.

10 Responses to “The Secret Behind Nimbus”

  1. Paul says:

    While that sounds very nice, and being able to switch between L&Fs is cool, do users want applications that look completely different from everything else on their system? It’s nice for little apps like Winamp, but if I’m sitting down to get some work done I don’t want 4 different types of buttons, lists, etc across 4 different applications.

  2. Romain Guy says:

    Here we go again… seriously I don’t know anyone who really cares about that. As long as the application is good, the UI well designed (easy to use and good looking), it’s fine.

  3. Patrick Wright says:

    I’m really glad to hear this. I don’t know that I agree with all their design decisions (for example the scrollbar) but it is a really nice looking look and feel. What’s more important to me is that the Swing team is trying to move forward with new technology rather than resting on their laurels. I know they are aware of the competition, it’s just good to see them taking active steps to keep their technology kit in the market. Good stuff, thanks for the update.

  4. Take a look to the “real world” as it shows within offices around the world. You will see that more often than not applications bring their own “look & feel”. Even these days there is great bunch of character based user interfaces around and noone really cares as long as the application does it’s job. Ever seen old buddy SAP R/3 ;)

  5. Duffman says:

    c’est moi ou on sent l’influence de Coda ;)

  6. Geertjan says:

    Where do I get that NetBeans module?

  7. Même remarque que Duffman sur l’influence de Coda que j’avais découvert suite à l’article de Romain.
    Je trouve très sympa l’aspect post-it (pour les preview de page); Dans le cas de Laffy,c’est fait très simplement avec deux images : celle de fond avec l’ombre arrière et celle de devant avec le scotch.

  8. Vinod says:

    Is that Netbeans module available publicly, if yes where?

  9. Pop says:

    Well, this (found on the page linked by Romain) should be a sufficient answer:
    “You should not have to wait to long for the first public alpha build”


  10. says:

    I’d love to see that Plugin.