REVIEW - The JFC Swing Tutorial - A Guide to Constructing GUIs


The JFC Swing Tutorial - A Guide to Constructing GUIs


Kathy Walrath, Mary Campione




Addison-Wesley Professional (1999)




Ian Bolland


April 2000



JFC Swing is Sun's new GUI toolkit for Java. While the older AWT uses the components of the native window system and so is restricted to lowest common denominator functionality, Swing is implemented without any native code. This allows it to provide more functionality (such as tables, tree views and image buttons) and more choice of look and feel (Windows, Motif or the cross-platform default).

This book is closely based on the Swing section of Sun's on-line Java tutorial. It starts with sections showing how to build and run JFC programs and introducing the basic concepts. The largest section (300 pages) describes each component in detail, by working through a set of small sample programs. The remaining sections cover layout managers, event handling, graphics and converting from AWT. A 300- page appendix contains the complete source code for the sample programs.

The writing and organisation are excellent. Descriptions are clear and concise. Topics are presented in a logical order, if you want to read it from cover to cover. If you prefer to dip in, it is easy to locate individual topics and most sections contain cross-references to pre-requisites and any related topics. It gives a good coverage of the basic and intermediate-level features and a good flavour of the advanced ones.

The companion CD contains:

  • the HTML version of the complete Java Tutorial (including the language and other APIs)
  • JDKs (1.2,1.1,1.0) and other development kits
  • API documentation and specifications
I would recommend this book to any Java programmer who wants to start using Swing. If you want to try before you buy, you can find the on-line version at

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.