Monday, November 01, 2004

Learning a GUI API

I've been playing around with Java UI and Swing some over the past week trying to get some traction on a little strategy game I've started working on. The last time I did any significant Java UI was on Java 1.1 with the simple awt classes. This time I figured I'd give Swing a try.


So far learning what I need to know has been both fun and a bit annoying. I really want the game to paint very cleanly so I've been doing a lot of experimentation in order to see what helps and what doesn't. The Javadoc is pretty good but sometimes it only tells you things in very narrow terms and you need to really experiment with it to grasp the hidden deeper reality. I wont go so far as to say this is unique to GUI apis but it does seem to be characteristic of them. I remember doing a lot of the same experiments when I started developing for Windows.


I think some of this extra effort can be explained by the extra feedback loop a GUI has. With a GUI it's not just about getting it working, it's getting it working crisply. When working on backend code it's so much easier to live with good enough.



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