Matisse Is Miles Behind

Ryan Sonnek bio photo By Ryan Sonnek

I’m sick and tired of hearing how project Matisse is the best thing since sliced bread. What is really so new and innovative about it? It’s just another GUI designer with a new layout manager, nothing more. I find it increasingly frustrating to see blogs, like this one at, attempt to hype a broken development model.

My biggest complaint with most GUI builders is that they lock you into their tool. They generate a block of uneditable/unreadable code that forces you to continue using the tool for the life of your software. Vendor lockin is a term that’s often used (and loathed) in the J2EE world, but how is this any different?

I simply find it unresonable to require all developers to use the same IDE and believe we’ve come to an age of Java development where developers can mix and match tools to their heart’s content. In the end, the bytecode should be all that matters, and a project’s build tool is the common denominator that all developers are forced to use.

I’ve had my hand in swing development for a long time, and I’ve gone through my share of Java GUI builders. All of them have their pros and cons, but the Eclipse Visual Editor still stands out as the best GUI designer available. JBuilder, Netbeans, and even UIC fall short of the functionality that comes with Eclipse VEP.