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Chapter 3. Swing Programming Topics

The last chapter provided an architectural overview of AWT and Swing; it explained how to create a graphical user interface by placing components inside containers, arranging them with layout managers, and handling the events that they generate. This chapter builds on that architectural foundation and introduces many other important features of Swing. Most of the topics discussed herein are independent of one another, so you can think of each section as a short essay on a particular topic, where the sections can be read in any order.

This chapter introduces many of the new components and features of Swing, but it cannot cover them in full detail. For more information on the topics covered herein, see Java Swing, by Robert Eckstein, Marc Loy, and Dave Wood (O'Reilly).

3.1. Versions of Swing

Swing is a core part of the Java 2 platform, so many developers will simply obtain the Swing libraries when they download the Java 2 SDK. Swing is also available as a separate download for use as an extension to Java 1.1. When you download Swing independently of the SDK, you must pay attention to the Swing version number. Swing 1.0.3 is an early version of Swing that was released before Version 1.2 of Java 2. It is now outdated and is not documented in this book. Swing 1.1 is the version of Swing that is being bundled with Java 1.2. You can download a version of it for use with Java 1.1 from http://java.sun.com/products/jfc/.

As this book goes to press, the most recent version of Swing is Swing 1.1.1. This version of Swing is bundled with Java 1.2.2 and is also available for use with Java 1.1 from the web site mentioned in the previous paragraph. Swing 1.1.1 fixes many bugs in the initial release of Swing 1.1 but does not change the Swing 1.1 API in any way. Its use is strongly recommended. Swing 1.1.1 is the last release of Swing that will be available for use with Java 1.1.

Development of Swing continues, and Java 1.3 will ship with a new version that includes a number of minor changes and improvements to the Swing API. This future release will focus on improving the existing APIs and should not add many new APIs.

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