Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jigloo for Eclipse?

I've been using Eclipse now for a few months. Originally I started out with the Jigloo form builder tool which I found quite useful. From an earlier post:

Building GUIs for rich client apps in Eclipse is not the easiest thing in the world. I'm looking for windows builders comparable to the Net Beans GUI builder.

I am downloading the Jigloo GUI builder which sounds pretty good but that is coming from company who made it.

What about WindowsBuilderPro? This is a commercial product, not free like Jigloo. How is it better?

I'll try both and see for myself...

On the install, Jigloo is very simple and is just like any other Eclipse plugins. Just copy to the features and plugins directories and your done. WindowBuilder on the other hand has you walk through a install wizard which took only a couple minutes to run through. (Make sure you don't have Eclipse running during the install).

WindowsBuilder has several example apps you can try. In 5 minutes of testing this builder I found it very user friendly. I liked the "quick view" feature where without even compiling you can get a feel for how your app will look during runtime. Now on to Jigloo.

After the few minutes I found it easy to create a basic app. Nothing difficult. I liked the two screen (code/app) view that shows the two-way changes so if you edit the GUI the code changes or you edit the code and the GUI changes.

So far they are both comparable products and I'll spend a bit more time using each on an actual application to see which is the better product.
However, once I found my feet in making Swing applications, I found using a GUI builder to be more of a pain in the neck than a help. I see these GUI builders like training wheels when learning to ride your bike. It is really not that difficult once you get the hang of it, and those training wheels sure get annoying when trying to speed down that big hill...