So I'm currently on the fence, whether or not to purchase a licence of IDEA... So far I absolutely love the Editor, and good old Hector. If that were the extent of things, there would be no question. However as I'm a hobbyist, I've really gotta make sure that $250 is well spent.
As I'm more interested in Desktop apps, a nice Swing GUI layout tool is fairly important. I've been working through "IDEA in Action" to try and get a feel for things, as that book is a little old it mentions a few things which have been deprecated.. XY Layout being my current concern.. Upon reading about it.. My initial thoughts were, well it's not quite Matisse, but it'll work. However not only has it been deprecated, I can't seem to find anything which would allow me to prototype/draw my GUI's. Dealing with Table Layout's requires either a whole lot of fiddling, or an initial knowledge of what my Gui is going to look like.
As it stands, the only way I can see to develop a Gui solely with the IDEA designer is to first draw it out on a sheet of paper, grid it up, then apply the design in IDEA. Surely that's not what most people do? I'm guessing if you mess with tables enough you'll get a pretanatural ability to sense where things will go and be able to design solely in your head.. Much the same as Master Chess Players who can play the game without a board.. But alas, I'm a ways away from that level of expertise. I know a few people swear by JFormDesigner and their IDEA plugin, but I simply can't justify a $400 initial outlay even if IDEA is better than NetBeans or MyEclipse.
What are the other alternatives? Is there another way to easily design UI's with IDEA? Some one please help me out here.. I really want to Love IDEA, and aside from the GUI Designer I really do. I must be missing something, what are my options here?