Help me find a good IDE for gui development in Java
April 14, 2011 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a good IDE for gui development in Java.

Okay, so I hate guis and it really annoys me that our final project in comp sci II pretty much has to be gui-intensive, but here goes. Anyway, the IDE I normally use is JCreator, which I have used since I was a senior in high school last year in AP computer science. What I want is an IDE that will display a palette of various stuff (menus, buttons, text fields, etc), that I can easily drag and drop onto a JFrame or JDialog. I've worked with this kind of thing before that was for Visual Basic, and it would allow to to drag and drop labels and buttons onto whatever the Visual Basic equivalent of a JFrame is and type whatever text you wanted to be there directly onto the gui, and pretty much the only thing you really had to program were the event listeners (the interesting stuff). I know Netbeans and some other IDEs for Java have this capability, but does anybody have any recommendations as to which have the best combination of power, ease of use, and ease of learning it quickly (and of course, freely available to download)? Thanks.
posted by bookman117 to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't use an IDE but I'm pretty sure Eclipse can do this.
posted by Loto at 1:12 PM on April 14, 2011

Eclipse and IntelliJ are the two we use professionally here. Eclipse is the cheaper option by far. There are countless plugins for doing this. Rather than mention the dozens I've never tried, I'll point out a discussion on stackOverflow seems to have selected Window Builder Pro from google as best answer.
posted by pwnguin at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2011

You might take a look at NetBeans, when I was in college I did some things from my Java class in NetBeans. Here is the page from my instructor where he had some decent info on NetBeans as well as some good code examples and reference cards.
posted by deezil at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2011

If you're doing GUI work, NetBeans is a good alternative to Eclipse.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2011

Since IntelliJ is made by the people who do Resharper, I'd look into them first (unless someone comes along and says it is shit for GUI work).
posted by geoff. at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2011

IntelliJ seemed really good when I tried it. I mostly hardcode because of university requirements, but give the Community Edition a go and see if you like it?
posted by ElliotH at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2011

Be careful with NetBeans. By default, it uses a LayoutManager that is defined by NetBeans code itself. This means that you'll need to include their JAR file in your distribution. Or, give up a great deal of NetBeans' power in building layouts. I learned this after submitting a project for a class.

Disclosure: It's been several years since I used NetBeans. I'm an eclipse man, myself.
posted by Netzapper at 5:21 PM on April 14, 2011

JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA! Please make your life easier and download the trial. It has the best code-and-documentation integration, the best code sensing and autocompletion, and the refactoring is ... wow. The refactoring.

And then on top of that, the GUI drag & drop editing is just really really solid.
posted by krilli at 11:26 PM on April 14, 2011

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