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Precise micro-design in modern look and feels

Posted by kirillcool on September 8, 2006 at 10:41 PM PDT

JGoodies Looks was and undoubtedly remains the pioneer and the leader in the precise micro-design of Swing forms. It's easy to see but hard to achieve, and this comes at cost of elaborate manipulations with insets, borders, preferred sizes and custom layout managers. This entry by Joshua shows the same improvements applied to the Windows LAF in Mustang (at least for the text components, combo boxes and spinners).

Let's see a few screenshots from the core LAFs in Tiger and Mustang. First, we have Metal / Ocean under Tiger 5.0_08 with the combo box much higher than other controls and the bottom spinner button sticking out on the bottom side:

Now, we have Metal / Ocean under Mustang b96 with the same visual problems + grown password field (described here):

Next stop is Windows LAF. Under Tiger in Windows 2000 it looks even more inconsistent. Text field and spinner are 20 pixels high, combo and formatted text field are 22 pixels high, password field is 24 pixels high:

Under Mustang in Windows 2000 we have less inconsistency. Text field, formatted text field and password field are 20 pixels high, combo is 22 pixels high, spinner is 18 pixels high:

Under Tiger in Windows XP we have a total new set of incosistencies. Text field is 19 pixels high, formatted text field and combo are 22 pixels high, password field is 16 pixels high and spinner is 20 pixels high:

Under Mustang in Windows XP we have perfect consistency (everything is 20 pixels high) but somehow the combo text has been truncated:

Only recently one of the Substance users (thanks Raj) pointed my attention to the inconsistency in all the available Substance releases. The text fields and the spinner were 18 pixels high and the combo was 24 pixels high:

This has been fixed in the latest drop of the next version (3.1 code-named Honolulu), so that all the controls are 20 pixels high:

If you are highly concerned about precise micro-design, i highly recommend using the JGoodies look and feel and layout. Thanks to Karsten for his continuing efforts in this area (the rest of us are trying to catch up). By the way, you are welcome to read this entry on my blog that dates back more than a year ago. Frankly, i have absolutely no recollection of having written that (almost), and i start to think that i might have been wrong back then :)

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