Re: Creating a simple visual user interface

Knute Johnson <>
Fri, 08 Aug 2008 12:29:37 -0700
Danger_Duck wrote:

Right now, I have a program that you run off command prompt by typing:
java progName arg0, arg1, .....

like many homemade programs out there. Fine and terrific for me, but
not for the average joe who doesn't know how to access a file

So, are there any recommendations of how to make a more user-friendly
graphical interface that can consist of a form and input entries? Like
java.util.form or something?

I also use eclipse, but creating an entire view/plugin takes up a lot
more space/time than I want for simple programs.

So, I'd just like to hear suggestions on your favorite ways to make
simple programs accessible to non-technical users. Til then, I will
continue to use command prompt as I always have...


Simple GUIs are very easy to do. Just create a frame, add your
components and the code to populate and depopulate the fields. Learn
how to use GridBagLayout. You can make very simple GUI programs that
way. I don't use an IDE, I just use vim for an editor. I'll even write
you a simple sample.

import java.awt.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;

public class SimpleGUI extends JFrame implements ActionListener {
     JTextField tf;

     public SimpleGUI() {

         setLayout(new GridBagLayout());
         GridBagConstraints c = new GridBagConstraints();

         c.gridy = 0; c.gridwidth = 2;
         tf = new JTextField(20);

         ++c.gridy; c.gridwidth = 1; c.weightx = 1.0;
         c.anchor = GridBagConstraints.EAST;
         JButton getButton = new JButton("Get Data");

         c.anchor = GridBagConstraints.WEST;
         JButton processButton = new JButton("Process Data");

         // make the buttons the same size
         Dimension d = processButton.getPreferredSize();


     public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) {
         String ac = ae.getActionCommand();

         if (ac.equals("Get Data")) {
             // get the data from somewhere
             // put it in the JTextField
             tf.setText("New Data");
         } else if (ac.equals("Process Data")) {
             // process data
             String str = tf.getText().toUpperCase();
             // put result in JTextField

     public static void main(String[] args) {
         // Swing components must be created and accessed on the EDT
         EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
             public void run() {
                 new SimpleGUI();


Knute Johnson
email s/nospam/knute2008/

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