Eclipse 3.0 - New and Noteworthy in SWT

Milestone M1

Eclipse launcher for Mac OS X

The Eclipse Launcher has been ported to Mac OS X.
  • All Eclipse launcher arguments can be specified via the "Eclipse" section in Eclipse's Info.plist file. Please note that the standard "Java" section in Info.plist is ignored since we are no longer using the JavaApplicationStub. So if you want to run Eclipse on the 1.4.1 VM you will have to specify the path to the 1.4.1 binary with the "-vm" argument and not with the "JVMVersion" tag.
  • When specifying the workspace location via the "-data" argument, you can use tilde expansion as known from /bin/sh. So "-data ~/Documents/workspace" will put the workspace in your Documents folder.

Other Mac OS X improvements

Drag and dropping views and editors now works on the Mac, and UI performance is significantly better thanks to various SWT improvements. (Note that most of these Mac improvements will also be in the upcoming Eclipse 2.1.1 maintenance release.)

SWT support for right to left languages

SWT now provides for the mirroring of controls as required by right-to-left languages like Hebrew. The affected SWT API includes, SWT.LEFT_TO_RIGHT, SWT.RIGHT_TO_LEFT, SWT.LEAD, SWT.TRAIL, a new GC constructor, and GC.getStyle(). This is implemented on Windows at this point (but not on other window systems).

SWT supports multiple monitors

Multiple monitors are now supported by SWT. See the new Monitor class, Display.getMonitors(), and Display.getPrimaryMonitor(). SWT clients should use the new multi-monitor API when positioning and sizing dialogs, menus, etc. This code snippet shows usage: center a shell on the primary monitor.

SWT supports color cursors

SWT now support color cursors on Windows (on other window systems, the bit depth is reduced internally if necessary). These code snippets show usage: create a color cursor from a source and a mask; create a color cursor from an image file.

Improved SWT clipboard

SWT support for the clipboard has been improved by the addition of way to query whether a data type is available on the clipboard. SWT clients should use this API when deciding to enable or disable a paste menu or button (clients currently use Clipboard.getContent() which is slow and can have negative side effects such as deleting data from the clipboard in a cut operation). This code snippet shows correct usage: enable/disable menu depending on clipboard content availability

Added TIFF Image Decoding

SWT now supports TIFF image decoding for T4-encoding CCITT T.4 1D.

Added MenuDetect Event

You can now use the SWT MenuDetect event to determine when to show a context (pop-up) menu (instead of hooking MouseDown and testing the button). This code snippet shows correct usage: show a popup menu (wait for it to close)

Milestone M2

Accessibility on GTK

The SWT Accessibility API is now implemented for GTK using GTK's ATK.

Milestone M3

HTML browser widget

SWT has a new browser widget that can display HTML documents. This native widget is currently supported on Windows (using Internet Explorer 5.0 and above) and Linux GTK (using Mozilla 1.4 GTK2).

SWT window containing new browser widget

See the SWT browser snippet and the SWT FAQ for details. Please be aware that the Browser API is still in flux and may change before the end of Eclipse 3.0.

Tables with colored cells

The SWT table widget now supports setting the foreground and background colors of individual cells.

table widget with multi-colored cells

See the SWT colored table snippet to find out how.

Milestone M4

Non-rectangular windows

An SWT shell can now have an irregular shape defined by a region created from an arbitrary combination of rectangles and polygons.

Irregularly shaped SWT window

See the SWT non-rectangular window snippet for details.

Accessibility API for custom text widgets

SWT custom widgets that provide text editing capability must implement the new AccessibleTextListener to provide caret offset and selection range information. Custom text editor widgets must also notify the screen-reader of text-related events by calling Accessible.textChanged, Accessible.textCaretMoved and Accessible.textSelectionChanged when appropriate. This new accessibility extension is required for proper interaction with the native accessibility story on GTK. See org.eclipse.swt.custom.StyledText for an example implementation.

Milestone M5

Printing for Mac OS X

SWT for Mac OS X now supports the Quartz-based Mac OS X Printing Manager. This allows SWT applications to print high-quality output on all classes of raster and PostScript printers, to generate PDF files, or to use the standard previewer.

Print preview

Improved native tab folder

The SWT native tab folder (TabFolder) can now be created with tabs located on either the bottom or the top, just like the emulated tab folder (CTabFolder).

Improved keyboard support

SWT keyboard support has been improved. There are now key events for keys like Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, and Pause. And it is now possible to distinguish key events coming from the numeric keypad.

Milestone M6

Embedding Swing widgets inside SWT widgets

SWT now supports embedding Swing/AWT widgets inside SWT widgets. Until now, this support was internal and only worked on Windows. It is now working on Windows with JDK 1.4 and above, and on GTK and Motif with recent early access versions of Sun JDK 1.5.

This screen shot shows an SWT Shell containing a Swing JTable to the right of an SWT Tree:

(SWT snippet showing how this screen shot was created.)

Multiple sizes of shell images

Images are displayed by the window manager in the trim as well as other locations like the program switcher (Alt+Tab) and the task bar. Depending where a shell's image is displayed, the platform chooses the image with the best size. SWT now allows the application to provide images of varying sizes for the operating system to choose from.

(SWT snippet showing how to do this.)

Milestone M7

Table and Tree widget improvements

The SWT Table widget now allows a column to be scrolled into view by calling Table.showColumn(TableColumn). TableCursor uses this new method to ensure that the current cell is scrolled into view.

Also, both the Table and Tree widgets now let you set the font for a row or an individual cell.

table and tree widget with multiple fonts

Browser widget improvements

The SWT Browser widget has new methods to determine if the receiver can navigate backward or forward. See Browser.isBackEnabled() and Browser.isForwardEnabled().

Also, it now provides notification when the title of the document changes. See Browser.addTitleListener(TitleListener).

Milestone M8

New Look for CTabFolder

CTabFolder now supports a simple look (default) and a curved look.

Virtual Table

Table now supports the SWT.VIRTUAL style. This allows you to create tables with large amounts of data quickly. When TableItems are needed, they are created on-demand. (Note: The API to do this may change between M8 and M9).

A Table with 1,000,000 items

(SWT snippet showing how to do this)

Tray & TrayItem

You can now place icons in the System Tray. The System Tray is usually a row of small icons located somewhere on the Task Bar on some operating systems.

An SWT TrayItem in the Windows XP system tray

(SWT snippet showing how to do this)

TextLayout & TextStyle

StyledText has been rewritten to use the new classes TextLayout & TextStyle. This means that it will now correctly render complex scripts, BIDI, and baselines for bold fonts. TextLayout styling includes font, color, line wrap, alignment, line spacing, hit test, measuring, caret navigation, bidi reordering, and more. The TextLayout classes are available for general use however the API will change between M8 and M9.

Draw internationalized styled text on a shell

(SWT snippet showing how to do this)

SWT now lets you generate low level keyboard and mouse events to enable automated UI testing tools.

Post a mouse event to a Button

(SWT snippet showing how to post mouse events)

Post key events to a Text widget

(SWT snippet showing how to post key events)

64 bit Linux GTK port (AMD)

SWT now runs on 64 bit AMD processors running GTK Linux.
Eclipse on 64 bit GTK Linux is not yet production quality, and the Browser widget is not implemented, however we would like people to go ahead and use this platform and report bugs against it.

Milestone M9

Browser widget on Mac OS X

The SWT Browser widget is now available on the Mac. It uses Safari, the Mac OS X default web browser.

Safari browser embedded in SWT application

Italic Fonts in StyledText

The SWT StyledText widget now supports italic fonts.

StyledText displaying italic text

System Images and System Cursors

You can now access the native images that appear in message dialogs and use them in your own dialogs.

System images as they appear on Windows XP