The easiest way to explore Nimbus with 6u10beta (Java SE 6 update 10)

Nimbus is the new, really slick, look and feel for JDK 1.6 applications. It comes with Java 6 SE update 10.

You can activate the new Look And Feel with the following line of code: UIManager.setLookAndFeel("");

It is possible as well to set up it from the command line: However some applications (like Netbeans :-)), still have problems with the nimbus l&f.

The fastest way to create a mock-up UI I know is with the Netbeans 6.0/6.1 "Matisse" designer running on JDK 1.6_update_10. Just create a project (New Java Project), then a "JFrame Form", or "OK / Cancel Dialog Sample Form". After this step you should find a designer pane, in which you can compose the components visually. The JFrame comes already with a main-method, so you can easily start it. However it will start with the default l&f, which isn't nimbus. To correct that, just add the bold-marked line below:

   public static void main(String args[]) throws ClassNotFoundException, InstantiationException, IllegalAccessException, UnsupportedLookAndFeelException {
        java.awt.EventQueue.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
                NewOkCancelDialog dialog = new NewOkCancelDialog(new javax.swing.JFrame(), true);
                dialog.addWindowListener(new java.awt.event.WindowAdapter() {
                    public void windowClosing(java.awt.event.WindowEvent e) {

It is actually a great way to play around with the components and explore nimbus. You can create an even complex mock-up in minutes. So Drag And Drop and enjoy!

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A thought for a simpler way to explore the new L&F -- does Sun still bundle demos with the JDK? I haven't tried them in ages, but I believe they had demo applets that covered Swing fairly well, with L&F selectable.

Posted by Rob Whelan on April 22, 2008 at 04:00 PM CEST #


sure - there is SwingSet3 bundled. So you can play with a ready to use application. With matisse you can build your own and test how it "feels" from the developer perspective,



Posted by Adam Bien on April 22, 2008 at 10:51 PM CEST #

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