Re: Good tool for developing Swing based GUI

Lew <>
Wed, 23 May 2007 11:39:36 -0400
Lew wrote:

Some people relate to code better, some to visual metaphors when writing GUI

Bent C Dalager wrote:

I am not sure what you are trying to say.

I am saying that some programmers are more comfortable with writing code in a
text editor and some with GUI tools. It's a matter of cognitive style. It's
not so much whether one is better but whether it's better for a particular

 Either way, doing it by hand first will teach you what's happening,
otherwise you have no control with either the hand-coding or the GUI-tool

If you are actually _trying_ to learn how it works, then using a GUI
editor is a perfectly good tool to do so. At least, it is if it does
what JBuilder does and produces source code that is somewhat readable
so you can see how it's doing its stuff. If you're not really trying,
of course, then you're not going to learn anything in any case.

I do agree with you. I think it's important to really understand code in the
editor and not just blindly rely on the GUI generator. Your example of a
"mess" is a reason - in your case understanding the GUI led you to use it less.

I see what you mean by GUI-generated code being messy.

Hand-coding GUIs isn't a lot of work, but depending on what layout

Nor is GUI-coding, if you have some hand-coding experience to inform your work.

I find GUI helpers to be more about fiddling around than about being
effecient. I get the same job done in either case, but writing by hand
takes me far less time than the point-and-click approach.

So the editor provides a better impedance match to your cognitive style.

For the record, I tend to be more comfortable in an editor than in a GUI tool

You need to know what you're doing to use any approach.

Not really. JBuilder lets you plonk down your components where you
want them to be and will do a semi-decent job of cleaning up your GUI
and converting it to the layout manager of your choice. The result may
not be the image of perfection (if memory serves, the result doesn't
always resize very gracefully), but depending on your requirements it
can be perfectly servicable.

It is dangerously irresponsible to advocate that programmers not understand
what they're doing.

It isn't about whether GUI tools let you ignore what you know but whether you
have the knowledge in the first place. I have far too much experience working
with so-called "developers" who know a tool (like Matisse [in NetBeans,
another fine IDE] or Struts) but are clueless when it comes to what the tool

Knowledge is power and deliberate ignorance in this profession is a sin.

People content to use GUI tools to write Swing apps without knowing what is
going on are certainly not programmers, and should not be permitted to collect
paychecks as programmers.


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