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The Swing Architecture

When Java was first introduced, the only graphical user interface (GUI) available was the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT). Recall from the first section of this chapter, "Interacting with People by Using Java," that AWT components are considered to be "heavyweight" in that each Java component has a peer object from the native GUI.

Sun also offers "lightweight" components that don't have a peer object. Instead, they offer "pluggable look and feel." If the end user is running on a Windows 95 machine but prefers the look and feel of Sun's Motif interface, for example, the user can select that interface in the running application. When Sun developed these lightweight components, it did so as part of a project called "Swing," so the lightweight user interface components are usually called Swing components.


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