What Is Swing

Swing is the next-generation GUI toolkit that Sun Microsystems created to enable enterprise development in Java. By enterprise development, we mean that programmers can use Swing to create large-scale Java applications with a wide array of powerful components. In addition, you can easily extend or modify these components to control their appearance and behavior.
 
Swing is not an acronym. The name represents the collaborative choice of its designers when the project was kicked off in late 1996. Swing is actually part of a larger family of Java products known as the Java Foundation Classes ( JFC), which incorporate many of the features of Netscape’s Internet Foundation Classes (IFC) as well as design aspects from IBM’s Taligent division and Lighthouse Design. Swing has been in active development since the beta period of the Java Development Kit ( JDK) 1.1, circa spring of 1997. The Swing APIs entered beta in the latter half of 1997 and were initially released in March 1998. When released, the Swing 1.0 libraries contained nearly 250 classes and 80 interfaces. Growth has continued since then: at press time, Swing 1.4 contains 85 public interfaces and 451 public classes.
 
Although Swing was developed separately from the core Java Development Kit, it does require at least JDK 1.1.5 to run. Swing builds on the event model introduced in the 1.1 series of JDKs; you cannot use the Swing libraries with the older JDK 1.0.2. In addition, you must have a Java 1.1-enabled browser to support Swing applets. The Java 2 SDK 1.4 release includes many updated Swing classes and a few new features. Swing is fully integrated into both the developer’s kit and the runtime environment of all Java 2 releases (SDK 1.2 and higher), including the Java Plug-In.