I've shown the UI Designer to a few people around the shop and while they think its interesting, they have quite a few questions. I have compiled those questions into a post so that someone (hopefully IntelliJ) can answer. I'm sure my folks aren't the only ones with these questions.
1) What role is the UI Designer supposed to have. When I build the form, what am I supposed to be able to do with it as it doesn't seem to do anything by itself (I've expressed this concern myself that the feature just doesn't stand well by itself).
2) What is the path for materializing these forms in an application? Are these forms a JPanel? If so should the class they're bound to extend JPanel or something similar? If so, why doesn't the UI Designer complain about that. If not, how do you make them appear?
3) (this one is mine) Since there doesn't seem to be a path for associating events with components as is the case with other IDEs - HOW does the UI designer get events from the form it creates to events that I may create. For example if I create a JButton on a Form and also in my class then add event listeners to that JButton in my class, what mechanism is being used to intercept events on the form and deliver them to my event listener?
4) How far is the UI Designer expected to go? It seems only logical that one do the Visual Basic route and put up a code window which contains a list of all of the events that a component (like a JButton) can have and then put that code in the bind class because there really is no separation between the UI and the code since sooner or later my events need to be called and this forced disconnect is confusing.
5) How can one determine the performance of the forms since one cannot get at the code? If they are slow to load or perform in some way, then what?
6) Is the UI Designer only restricted to Swing? If we're licensing GUI components from other sources, how do we plug them into the UI designer (and this one is incredibly important).
7) If we use the UI designer, aren't we vendor bound to IntelliJ since nothing else seems to use these .forms and there is no generated source for them?
8) Where is the sample code or tutorials that explain how this stuff is to be used? Hard to test the feature if I can't figure out what its supposed to do.
9) Is it stable enough to be used for a real test as it is? I can't preview or find help on it to use it.
10) How is this approach supposed to compare to other approaches? Seems to be clean with respect to data-hiding of the GUI, but you seem to lose control. Its nice that you can layout a competent UI with the given tools - that works really well. It just seems to fall apart when you need more components that aren't apart of the given Swing set. We've written a wide variety of components and several of our applications use JDesktop which doesn't seem to be well supported.