UI designer is highly disappointing as its current status

Our company is a newcomer to J2EE technology, and I am the main
architect in charge of our company transition to J2EE development. So, I
have been evaluating J2EE tools for a while. After using JBuilder and
Eclipse for some time, I downloaded IDEA 3.x trial and, in a matter of
minutes, I noticed what a great tool it is. However, our projects certainly
will include Swing applications, so the lack of UI designer in IDEA was a
really major problem. After knowing that next version would include this
feature, I felt confident in IDEA adoption as the IDE of choice for our
(near) future projects.

What a disappointment to download and try Aurora! The UI designer is
there, but its integration with (source) code generation is almost none, and
the generated source looks like crap. I would certainly say that if the
final version will be like this, so the GUI designer will be completely
useless to production work. At least to my concept of production work,
which means rapid UI interface prototyping and development, total
independence of development tools (that is, standard source code, no
proprietary libs, etc.).

Intense and repetitive tasks demand highly productive tools. I don't
want to code UI by hand if I can do it using an adequate tool. It isn't a
matter of "knowing-what-you're-doing-and-doing-it-by-hand-if-necessary", as
some people enjoy to boast of. It's a matter of productivity demand.

IDEA has a lot of (very good) features related to code completion, for
example. But come on, let's face it: I can automatically generate a "public
static void main(String[] args)" method, so OK, I save 2 or 3 seconds each
time. However, whenever I'm developing a UI form, I spend a lot of the time
that I had previously saved, because I need to do manual operations in order
to get things running. And yes, I need the source code. Good source code.
I would certainly prefer not to have any code templates and to have
productive and clear UI design and development.

At anyway, I am a beginner to IDEA, and also to Aurora EAP. So I suppose
I could be missing something here. If anyone can clear up something that I
can have misunderstood, I would appreciate very much your help and comments.

Jeferson Charles Mayer
mailto:jeff.charles@terra.com.br
Porto Alegre-RS Brazil


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I admit to not being terribly thrilled with the UI designer either, but most of your rant seems somewhat abstract. Specifically what are your problems with it? All I could find in your message was

"However, whenever I'm developing a UI form, I spend a lot of the time that I had previously saved, because I need to do manual operations in order to get things running."

What do you mean?

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Kirk,

I mean that IDEA has a lot of time-saving productivity features, such as
plenty of code completion, refactoring, and such. But, on the other hand,
the new UI designer definity doesn't seem to fit as a productivity feature,
however.
Let me discuss just a few points:

1. In order to make a form to run, you have to write code by hand. That
is, IDEA has a lot of code completion and template based code generation
right-out-of-the-box, but has not the ability to automatically generate
code in order to make the UI design a quick task. It seems pointless to me.
You don't need to write "String" or "System.out.println(...)", since code
completion will do it for you, but on the other hand, you do have to write
a lot of UI code without any (time-saving) help. Event handling is not part
of the UI designer. You just use it to place your widgets, and almost
nothing more.

2. Source code generation: storing UI info into a XML file is not a bad
design by itself, but definitely that's not a standard. What if you have
to work on your IDEA generated project in another environment? How are you
going to modify your UI design in another IDE?

I hope that now you can understand what I mean. I am not one of those
destructive people. I think that IDEA is a great tool, but the UI designer
seems to be in a very primitive stage.

Jeferson Charles Mayer


"Kirk Woll" <kirk@digimax.com> escreveu na mensagem
news:8980480.1065816936722.JavaMail.itn@is.intellij.net...

I admit to not being terribly thrilled with the UI designer either, but

most of your rant seems somewhat abstract. Specifically what are your
problems with it? All I could find in your message was
>

"However, whenever I'm developing a UI form, I spend a lot of the time

that I had previously saved, because I need to do manual operations in order
to get things running."
>

What do you mean?



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On Fri, 10 Oct 2003 14:08:05 -0300, Jeferson Charles Mayer wrote:

What a disappointment to download and try Aurora! The UI designer is
there, but its integration with (source) code generation is almost none,
and the generated source looks like crap. I would certainly say that if


So don't generate the code and use the byte-wrangler method instead.


--
"It's all in the heat of the moment, it's all in the pain..." Devy.
Mark Derricutt @ mark@talios.com @ talios.blog-city.com
Now Playing: %s

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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 01:20:45 -0300, Jeferson Charles Mayer wrote:

1. In order to make a form to run, you have to write code by hand.
That
is, IDEA has a lot of code completion and template based code generation
right-out-of-the-box, but has not the ability to automatically generate


Right out I'd like to see JetBrains concentrate on the bugs in IDEA than
these niceties. From what I can see of the code-templates, it probably
wouldn't be hard to knock up some templates pretty quickly to automate
these things. I don't think you can have a template that's in two files
so you can't currently have one template that generaes a .form and .java
file.

However, you could easily write a few custom templates for JFrame,
JDialog or whatever other you use. I'm sure these niceties will come in
time.

2. Source code generation: storing UI info into a XML file is not a
bad
design by itself, but definitely that's not a standard. What if you
have to work on your IDEA generated project in another environment? How
are you going to modify your UI design in another IDE?


Not standard no - but times are moving. Everyone likes abstractions, and
not having your Java code messing up your logic is a good thing.

If not using IDEA elsewhere, you can still compile and build the forms
using the Ant compiler task, and edit the XML by hand if you're
masochistic.

That being said, the way JBuilder handles its forms and the way Netbeans
handles them are different also. and interchanging both could be really
messy.

What could be cool is to put forward the DTD for the forms definition to Sun/JCP as a JSR standard. Then we could have a nice standard definition of a GUi form thats NOT cluttering up code, that would be guaranteed to work with other IDEs that support it. ]]>

The UI designer is breaking the mold and moving in new directions, which
is what JetBrains do well.

--
"It's all in the heat of the moment, it's all in the pain..." Devy.
Mark Derricutt @ mark@talios.com @ talios.blog-city.com

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Right out I'd like to see JetBrains concentrate on the bugs in IDEA than
these niceties.


Yes, if the trade-off lays between "no bugs" and "niceties", I must agree.

However, you could easily write a few custom templates for JFrame,
JDialog or whatever other you use. I'm sure these niceties will come in
time.


That would be an adequate solution. But just let me say that if someone
can really do it quickly, I think JetBrains (not everyone) must do it soon.
I hope they do it soon. Really hope.

If not using IDEA elsewhere, you can still compile and build the forms
using the Ant compiler task, and edit the XML by hand if you're
masochistic.


:))) I could even do it, but (sometimes) 'time is money'.

<dreaming>
What could be cool is to put forward the DTD for the forms definition to
Sun/JCP as a JSR standard. Then we could have a nice standard definition
of a GUi form thats NOT cluttering up code, that would be guaranteed to
work with other IDEs that support it.
</dreaming>


THAT would be nice! Unfortunately, I guess your ]]> tags are not yet
supported!

Jeferson Charles Mayer
jeff.charles@terra.com.br
-


"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
Anais Nin.


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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 11:47:16 -0300, Jeferson Charles Mayer wrote:

That would be an adequate solution. But just let me say that if someone
can really do it quickly, I think JetBrains (not everyone) must do it
soon. I hope they do it soon. Really hope.


Maybe we write them, then give them to JB to include. Or post to the
wiki. The beauty of an extensible IDE is that - well, we -can- extend its
functionality ourselves when we find it lacking.

>> and edit the XML by hand if you're masochistic.

:))) I could even do it, but (sometimes) 'time is money'.


Thats why we use IDEA in the first place :)

--
"It's all in the heat of the moment, it's all in the pain..." Devy.
Mark Derricutt @ mark@talios.com @ talios.blog-city.com

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On Fri, 10 Oct 2003 14:08:05 -0300, Jeferson Charles
Mayer wrote:

What a disappointment to download and try

Aurora! The UI designer is

there, but its integration with (source) code

generation is almost none,

and the generated source looks like crap. I would

certainly say that if

So don't generate the code and use the byte-wrangler
method instead.


Or use the UI Designer to define the screens and use the GuiSourcePlugin to generate decent looking GUI source code.

http://www.intellij.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/GuiSourcePlugin

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