GUI in Java

What is GUI?

GUI is the acronym of Graphical User Interface. It is a popular term used in all programming languages that support the development of graphical user interfaces. It presents a simple and easy to use display to the user. GUI is made up of graphical components such as windows, labels, and buttons. These components enable the user to interact with the application or page.

In Java, programmers use either JavaFX or Swing (for older applications) to make graphical user interfaces.

Typical elements of GUIs in Java

GUIs have an array of elements that display when you are working with a page or application. They include:

  • Input controls like text fields, dropdown lists, checkboxes and buttons
  • Elements for navigation like breadcrumbs, sidebars, and menus
  • Information features such as notification dialogs, banners, labels, icons, etc.

GUI Frameworks in Java: JavaFX and Swing

Ever since 2007 or the inception of the Java 1.2, the language has included Swing in its standard edition. Swing is an API used in GUIs development that is designed with a modular architecture to enable easy plug-and-play of elements and customization.  Since its creation, Swing has long been the API of choice for creating GUIs.

JavaFX is the other framework provided in Java. It has also been around for more than a decade. Its first version was released by the Sun Microsystems (previous owners of Java) in 2008. However, it didn’t make any serious inroads until Oracle purchased Java. The new owners intended to replace Swing with JavaFX eventually. In 2014, Java 8 was released, and it had JavaFX in the core distribution

Our Java assignment help professionals recommend that you should learn JavaFX instead of Swing if you are new to Java. However, many developers are still actively using Swing. This is because the GUIs of several applications have been developed and incorporate Swing.

JavaFX boasts of an entirely different graphic components and new terminologies. It has many features like support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that interface with web programming. This feature can be used to embed a web page inside an FX application and has the functionality of playing web multimedia content.

JavaFX and Swing: Head to head comparison

  1. Components

JavaFx has fewer components compared to swing APIs

  1. User Interface

Java swing can be used to design standard UI components. On the other hand, JavaFX supports the creation of rich GUI components with advanced look and feel

  1. Development

The APIs of Java swing are used to write UI components. JavaFX supports fast UI development with its screen builder.

  • Functionality

Java swing has no new functionality. We do not expect an introduction of any feature soon. JavaFX, on the other hand, has a rich and new toolkit, which we expect to be even better in the future.

  1. MVC Support

JavaFX is friendly with MVC pattern while Swing has inconsistent MVC support across components

Significant differences between JavaFX and Java Swing

No. JavaFX  Java Swing
1. Offers platform support for developing desktop applications Regarded as the standard toolkit used by Java developers to create Graphical User Interfaces
2 Has a decent number of UI components Boast of a more sophisticated set of GUI components
3 JavaFX components are still evolving. Has a legacy library with pluggable UI components
4 JavaFX guide document is available in various formats with file support and comprehensive detailing. Swing classes are available in Java API guide with complete documentation
5 Initially used a declarative language called  JavaFX script In its advent, Swing used  Java component classes to create UI components


6 Has several components built over Swing Act as a legacy and has a UI component library


7 Not as mature as Swing but also has support from various IDEs It has a full range of IDEs with tools that support rapid development


Design and Usability

Applications developers must consider both the tools used for programming and the user. A good developer will take into account how the user will interact with the application. Some of the questions that a developer should strive to answer include:

  • Can the user find what he/she needs in familiar places?
  • Is the application easy to navigate?
  • Is the application intuitive?

Being predictable and consistent is a good thing in development. An application should have a look and feel feature. This will make it more useful and attractive to the users. The basics are as important as mastering the tools for creating GUIs.

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