Java News from Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kirill Grouchnikov has released the Substance Look-and-Feel 3.2. This release adds two more skins, Challenger Deep and Emerald Dusk, both of which look hideous and unreadable. There is also now a "SubstanceLookAndFeel.OVERLAY_PROPERTY client property (currently supported only on scroll panes) specifies that a component should have overlay functionality. In case of scroll pane marked with this property set to Boolean.TRUE, the contents of the viewport are painted 'beneath' the scroll bar area (scroll tumb, scroll track and scroll buttons)." This is a good idea why?

This project should be a cautionary tale for people who think programmers should be interface designers. Apple and Microsoft at least recognize that these are different skill sets, and that looks and feels should be created by a team of programmers, graphic designers, and interaction designers. Sadly the Linux and Java communities haven't really figure this out yet, and are still trying to have programmers do it all, with predictable results. The bottom line is that we don't really need different look-and-feels in Java. The best Java can or should do is faithfully mimic the native user interface. Unless your name is Bruce Tognazzini or Kai Krause, you almost certainly won't do better than that; and you'll be very. very lucky if you don't do worse. Pluggable look-and-feels are necessary in Swing only because Swing apps have to run on multiple platforms. They should be changed only from operating system to operating system, not application to application. The goal of a Java application is to fit in with other native applications, not to stand out.

Java 5 or later is required. Substance is published under a BSD license.

Michael Allan has posted Rhinohide 0.1.8, a Java library that exposes the browser's DOM to applets. (Why this functionality isn't a standard part of the JDK I've never understood.) Java 5 or later is required.

The Big Faceless Organization has released the Big Faceless PDF Library 2.7.7. This release improves performance. The library costs $700 (more if you want support)s. The $1300 Extended Edition adds the AcroForms support, digital signatures, and the ability to import and edit and existing PDF documents.

TMate has released SVNKit 1.1.1, a pure Java Subversion client library formerly known as JavaSVN. Version 1.1.1 fixes bugs and adds some commands and OpenVMS support.

Enterprise Distributed Technologies has released edtFTPj/Pro 1.3.3, a $299 payware FTP library for Java that supports FTP over SSL. Version 1.3.3 fixes bugs.