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Eclipse WindowBuilder. This tutorial describes the usage of WindowBuilder for creating user interfaces.

1. Using the SWT Designer (WindowBuilder) for visual UI design

1.1. What is SWT Designer?

SWT Designer is a visual editor used to create graphical user interfaces. It is a two way parser, e.g., you can edit the source code or use a graphical editor to modify the user interface. SWT Designer synchronizes between both representations.

SWT Designer is part of the WindowBuilder project. WindowBuilder provides the foundation and SWT Designer adds the support for working with SWT based applications.

1.2. Using SWT Designer

SWT Designer provides a special editor. This editor can work with Eclipse 4 parts, SWT and JFace dialogs, JFace wizards, etc.

The following screenshot demonstrates what the editor looks like.

Showing SWT Designer main perspective

SWT Designer allows you to drag-and-drop SWT components into an existing layout. You can configure layout settings and create event handlers for your widgets.

SWT Designer contributes additional SWT and JFace templates to the Eclipse IDE. For example you can use it to create Composites and add these to the Eclipse user interface. To create a new Composite select File  New  Other…​  WindowBuilder  SWT Designer  SWT  Composite.

SWT Designer in Action

SWT Designer has support to establish data binding via the JFace Data Binding framework.

2. Install SWT Designer

To use the SWT Designer for designing SWT user interfaces use Help  Install New Software and enter the following update site to use it. https://download.eclipse.org/windowbuilder/latest/

Install SWT Designer

The following WindowBuilder download site lists the available SWT designer releases. Typical the latest release is the best as the software is not actively enhanced so the latest release contains mainly bug fixes.

3. Exercise: Getting started with SWT Designer

3.1. Building a user interface

The following exercise assumes that you have SWT Designer already installed.

Right-click on your PlaygroundPart class and select Open With  WindowBuilder Editor.

WindowBuilder uses the @PostConstruct method to identify that a class is an Eclipse part. This method needs to specify at least a Composite as parameter.

package com.vogella.tasks.ui.parts;

import jakarta.annotation.PostConstruct;

import org.eclipse.swt.widgets.Composite;

public class PlaygroundPart {

    // the WindowBuilder / SWTDesigner tooling
    // uses the @PostConstruct method to figure out
    // that the class is an Eclipse 4 part

    // one method must be annotated with @PostConstruct and
    // must receive at least a SWT Composite

    public void createControls(Composite parent) {
        + " @PostConstruct method called.");

Switch to the Design tab in the WindowBuilder editor. This selection is highlighted in the following screenshot.

Switch to design tab in the SWT Designer

Use the SWT Designer to change the layout of the Composite of the part to a GridLayout.

Changing the layout with WB

Click in the Palette on Button and add a few buttons to your user interface.

Adding buttons

Add a Label and a Text field.

Adding label and text

3.2. Add a SelectionListener to your button

Assign an SelectionListener (event handler) to one of your buttons for the widgetSelected. You can to this via a right-click on the button. Select Add event handler  selection  widgetSelected.

Assign an EventHandler to your Button

3.3. Review the generated code

Switch to the Source tab and review the code generated by the SWT Designer.

4. Learn more and get support

This tutorial continues on Eclipse RCP online training or Eclipse IDE extensions with lots of video material, additional exercises and much more content.

Nothing listed.

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