Java™ Look and Feel Design Guidelines (2nd Edition)

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9780201725889: Java™ Look and Feel Design Guidelines (2nd Edition)

With Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, Second Edition, Sun's Java Look & Feel group delivers powerful guidance for building cross-platform Java applications and applets that are consistent, attractive, and offer outstanding usability and productivity. This brand-new, 4-color Second Edition is fully updated for Java 1.3 Standard Edition (Java 2), and contains a new CD-ROM packed with code developers can use to incorporate the design standards quickly and easily. Heavily endorsed and promoted by Sun, the book starts with a visual tour of a Java application and applet utilizing the Java Look and Feel and built with Java Foundation Classes (JFC) components. Next, it shows how to design user interfaces that work in heterogeneous environments, are easily internationalized, and offer outstanding usability. It includes detailed coverage of "look" issues (color, graphics, layout, typography and animation) and "feel" issues (how users and computers interact). It contains a detailed glossary of terms, JFC keyboard navigation and activation sequences, and more.The CD-ROM includes all samples from the printed book, 75 additional code samples, a repository of icon samples, plus electronic versions of the book in HTML and PDF formats.

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Review:

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, from Sun Microsystems, provides programmers with the requirements for creating user interfaces using the Java Foundation Classes (JFC). This handsomely printed book uses rich color on every page while demonstrating how you can create Java programs that will look great on any computer.

The book focuses on the built-in Java look-and-feel (called Metal). Early sections discuss the philosophy of Java user interfaces, which include excellent support for different languages and accessibility, keeping disabled users in mind.

Much of this text covers Java UI elements offering advice on creating more intuitive interfaces. Sections of the book look at the rudimentary, visual sensibilities needed for using colors and text appropriately, including how to design artwork (like icons and graphics) that fits in with the rest of the JFC interface. One example shows the step-by-step creation of a proper Java icon. Other sections propose standards for the number of pixels that should be used to separate onscreen elements. Sections on mouse, keyboard, and drag-and-drop user operations make clear how your Java programs should handle user actions.

Later this text surveys JFC components beginning with basic windows, dialog boxes, menus, and toolbars. Next it's on to individual components from basic controls (like buttons, checkboxes, and text controls) to more advanced components (like tables and tree controls). (This section, which lists the extensive options for selecting data and resizing table columns, shows the real sophistication of today's JFC package.)

Though it contains no actual Java code, Java Look and Feel Guidelines defines the visual design standard for the next generation of Java programs. It will useful for anyone who builds user interfaces during the software design process. --Richard Dragan

From the Inside Flap:

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines provides essential information for anyone involved in the process of creating cross-platform JavaTM applications and applets. In particular, this book offers design guidelines for software that uses the JavaTM Foundation Classes (JFC) together with the Java look and feel. (Unless specified otherwise, this book uses "application" to refer to both applets and applications.)

Who Should Use This Book

Although the human interface designer and the software developer might well be the same person, the two jobs require different tasks, skills, and tools. Primarily, this book addresses the designer who chooses the interface components, lays them out in a set of views, and designs the user interaction model for an application. This book should also prove useful for developers, technical writers, graphic artists, production and marketing specialists, and testers who participate in the creation of Java applications and applets.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines focuses on design issues and human-computer interaction in the context of the Java look and feel. It also attempts to provide a common vocabulary for designers, developers, and other professionals.They do not address the needs of software that runs on consumer electronic devices.

How This Book Is Organized

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines includes the following chapters:

Chapter 1, "The Java Look and Feel," introduces the design concepts underlying the Java look and feel and offers a quick visual tour of an application and an applet designed with the JFC components and the Java look and feel.

Chapter 2, "Java Foundation Classes," provides an overview of the Java Foundation Classes, suggests effective ways to use the JFC components, and describes the concept of pluggable look and feel designs.

Chapter 3, "Design Considerations," discusses some of the fundamental challenges of designing Java look and feel applications and offers recommendations for applet design, accessibility, internationalization, and localization.

Chapter 4, "Visual Design," provides suggestions for the use of the Java look and feel themes mechanism to change color and fonts in your application, provides guidelines for the capitalization of text in the interface and makes recommendations for layout and visual alignment.

Chapter 5, "Designing Application Graphics," discusses the use of cross-platform color, the creation of application graphics to fit with the Java look and feel, and the design of graphics to enhance corporate and product identity.

Chapter 6, "Behavior," tells how users of Java look and feel applications utilize the mouse, keyboard, and screen. It provides recommendations regarding user input and human-computer interaction, including a discussion of drag and drop operations.

Chapter 7, "Windows, Panes, and Frames," discusses and makes recommendations for the use of primary, secondary, and utility windows as well as scroll panes, tabbed panes, and split panes.

Chapter 8, "Dialog Boxes," describes and makes recommendations for the use of dialog boxes, the supplied alert boxes, and the color chooser.

Chapter 9, "Menus and Toolbars," presents details about and makes suggestions for the use of drop-down menus, contextual menus, toolbars, and tool tips.

Chapter 10, "Basic Controls," covers the use of controls such as command buttons, toggle buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, sliders, and combo boxes. It also describes progress bars and provides suggestions for their use.

Chapter 11, "Text Components," explains and makes recommendations for the use of the JFC components that control the display and editing of text.

Chapter 12, "Lists, Tables, and Trees," discusses and makes recommendations for the use of lists, tables, and tree views.

Appendix A, "Keyboard Navigation, Activation, and Selection," contains tables that specify keyboard sequences for the components of the Java Foundation Classes.

The Glossary defines important words and phrases found in this book. They appear in boldface at first occurrence.

Graphic Conventions

Screen shots in this book illustrate the use of JFC components in applications with the Java look and feel. Because such applications typically run inside windows provided and managed by the native platform, which might include, among many others, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or CDE (Common Desktop Environment), the screen shots show assorted styles of windows and dialog boxes.

Throughout the text, symbols are used to call your attention to design guidelines. Each type of guideline is identified by a unique symbol.

Java Look and Feel Standards

Requirements for the consistent appearance and compatible behavior of Java look and feel applications. These standards promote flexibility and ease of use in cross-platform applications and the creation of applications that support all users, including users with physical and cognitive limitations. These standards require you to take actions that go beyond the provided appearance and behavior of the JFC components.

Occasionally, you might need to violate these standards. In such situations, use your discretion to balance competing requirements. Be sure to engage in user testing to validate your judgments.

Cross-Platform Delivery Guidelines

Recommendations for dealing with colors, fonts, keyboard operations, and other problems that arise when you want to deliver your application to a variety of computers running a range of operating systems.

Internationalization Guidelines

Advice for creating applications that can be adapted to the global marketplace.

Implementation Tips

Technical information and useful tips of particular interest to the programmers who are implementing your application design.

Related Books and Web Sites

This book does not provide detailed discussions of human interface design principles, nor does it present much general information about application design. However, many excellent references are available on topics such as fundamental principles of human interface design, design issues for specific (or multiple) platforms, and the issues relating to accessibility, internationalization, and applet design.

Design Principles

The resources in this section provide information on the fundamental concepts underlying human-computer interaction and interface design.

Baecker, Ronald M., William Buxton, and Jonathan Grudin. Readings in Human-Computer Interaction: Toward the Year 2000, 2nd ed. Morgan Kaufman Publishing, 1995. A collection of research from graphic and industrial design, and cognition and group process, this volume addresses the efficiency and adequacy of human interfaces.

Hurlburt, Allen. The Grid: A Modular System for the Design and Production of Newspapers, Magazines, and Books. John Wiley & Sons, 1997. This is an excellent starting text. Although originally intended for print design, this book contains many guidelines that are applicable to software design.

IBM Human-Computer Interaction Group. "IBM Ease of Use." Available: ibm/ibm/easy.This web site covers many fundamental aspects of human interface design.

Laurel, Brenda, ed. The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Addison-Wesley, 1990. Begun as a project inside Apple, this collection of essays from computer industry experts explores strategies and reasoning behind human-computer interaction and looks at the future of the relationship between humans and computers. It surveys diverse design techniques and examines work in drama and narrative, industrial design, animation, and cognitive and interpersonal psychology.

Mullet, Kevin, and Darrell Sano. Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication-Oriented Techniques. Prentice-Hall, 1995. This volume covers fundamental design principles, common mistakes, and step-by-step techniques in several visual aspects of interface design: elegance and simplicity; scale, contrast, and proportion; organization and visual structure; module and program; image and representation; and style.

Nielsen, Jakob. Usability Engineering. Academic Press, 1994. This classic contains a substantial chapter on international user interfaces, including gestural interfaces, international usability engineering, guidelines for internationalization, resource separation, and interfaces for more than one locale.

Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. Doubleday, 1990. A well-liked, amusing, and discerning examination of why some products satisfy users while others only baffle and disappoint them. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations throughout complement the astute analysis.

Shneiderman, Ben. Designing User Interface Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. 3rd Edition. Addison Wesley, 1997. The third edition of the best seller, which provides a complete, current, and authoritative intro

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