Four toolkits for Java to develop excellent GUI

GUI plays a important role in every application you develop. The application could be developed through different programming languages but the presentation has only one language that is GUI – it symbolizes ‘Look n Feel’ as far as programmers are concerned.

Being a professional JAVA many developer fail to present their application as desired, am I right? Don’t worry, we have many toolkits to develop an excellent GUI which really sells your application in no time. Among the many, here are the four (Pivot, Thinlet, Swing, SWT) GUI toolkits, which are quick and easy to develop the best GUI for your applications.

1. Pivot, a new GUI toolkit for Java.

Pivot GUI Toolkit - JAVA

Pivot is an open-source framework for building high-quality, cross-platform applications that are easily deployable both via the web and to the desktop. It began as an R&D effort at VMware and is now being made available to the community as an option for developers who want to build rich client applications in Java.

Pivot GUI Toolkit for JAVA References:
Pivot GUI Toolkit

Demo: Run the Pivot Demo application. This is a basic “kitchen sink”-style demo that showcases many of Pivot’s available features.

Stock Tracker Example Application

Tutorials Pivot.Java Version 1.2

2. Thinlet – GUI toolkit for J2SE and Personal Profile

Thinlet GUI Toolkit - JAVA

Thinlet is free and open-source and a complete GUI toolkit for J2SE and Personal Profile. The original Thinlet GUI toolkit is a single Java class, thus it is extremely small (only 39KB) and the hierarchy and properties of the GUI is described by an XML file instead of the usual JavaBean components.

Thinlet GUI Toolkit for J2SE References:
Official Thinlet Site

A very simple Thinlet demo including most of widgets and events.

Thinlet Overview

Building Easy Java GUIs with Thinlet, Part 1

Skinlet project – skin support for Thinlets!

3. Swing GUI Toolkit

Swing GUI Toolkit - JAVA

Swing is a widget toolkit for Java. It is part of Sun Microsystems’ Java Foundation Classes (JFC) — an API for providing a graphical user interface (GUI) for Java programs.

Project Swing is implemented entirely in the Java programming language, and is based on the JDK Lightweight UI Framework. The pluggable look and feel lets you design a single set of GUI components that can automatically have the look and feel of any OS platform (Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Macintosh). Project Swing components include both 100% Pure Java certified versions of the existing AWT component set (Button, Scrollbar, Label, etc.), plus a rich set of higher-level components (such as tree view, list box, and tabbed panes).

Swing GUI Toolkit References:

Official: Swing is the Dominant GUI Toolkit

JDK 5.0 Swing (Java Foundation Classes (JFC))-related APIs & Developer Guides — from Sun Microsystems

Tutorials – Creating a GUI with JFC/Swing

The Swing Connection

The Swing API documentation

The Swing architecture

The Java Swing Website

Another Swing Tutorial Site

Swing Explorer – tool for debugging and researching Swing applications

Swing Testing and debugging

4. SWT – Standard Widget Toolkit

SWT GUI Toolkit - JAVA

The Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) is a graphical widget toolkit for use with the Java platform. It was originally developed by IBM and is now maintained by the Eclipse Foundation in tandem with the Eclipse IDE. It is an alternative to the AWT and Swing Java GUI toolkits provided by Sun Microsystems as part of the Java Platform, Standard Edition. More from Wikipedia – Standard Widget Toolkit

SWT – Standard Widget Toolkit References:

Official Website – SWT

Swing and SWT: A Tale of Two Java GUI Libraries

SWT Javadoc API documented at

Published by Sravan Kumar

A Creative Web Designer, Developer, User Interface and User Experience Expert.

Join the Conversation


  1. Paulo,

    Swing not looking its best was due to most applications using the default Look and Feel Metal. For many years, there have been LaFs that can look more native and/or more polished than the default. You can override a couple files in your Java installation to override the LaF choice.

    Here are a couple links to make Swing apps look better:

  2. Pingback: 4 Toolkits Java para el desarrollo de GUI’s que deberias conocer | Seraphinux
  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the nod. Just wanted to point out that the last Pivot link doesn’t actually have anything to do with our Pivot UI project! :-)

  4. Pingback: Bookmarks about Eclipse
  5. Java is a very powerful language,it Recently using j2me i.e java to mobile edition there are bunch of mobile application following this language,..also it is powerful than c++,.sum micro system,..are dealing completely with java,..where as windows are following c,c++,c sharp and so on,..but in security wise and vast features java is the best among all,..It is good to hear more features about java for gui application..
    ecommerce developer ecommerce development

  6. A Java GUI application uses the standard Java components GUI basic set, Swing, and is deployed to the desktop. This version uses the Java Foundation Classes including Swing.

  7. To be honest I didn’t know that this kind of tools even exist but now they will really much help in learning to create great looking GUI

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