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When we began this book, our Grand Vision was to create a complete reference for every aspect of SWT. It was not until we began identifying the range of topics that we would need to cover that we realized that SWT is big—not big in size but big in terms of features, uses, and the energy that is behind it. The community that has built up around SWT has pushed it in many directions, everything from PDAs, to stand-alone desktop applications on several platforms, to Eclipse[1] and the many commercial IDEs that have been built from it. We had to narrow the focus.

[1] See the Introduction for more on Eclipse.

We decided to cover only those aspects of SWT that every developer would need to know.

  • How to get and install SWT and how to invoke it from your programs.

  • The fundamental systems that make up SWT: mouse and keyboard handling, graphical user interface components, drawing routines, etc.

  • The native operating system-based user interface controls.

These topics, covered in depth and with many examples, are exactly what you will find on the following pages.

To give you some idea of the scope of the original problem, here are some of the topics that we are not going to cover in detail.

  • Frameworks built from SWT (e.g., JFace and GEF)

  • Coding patterns specific to using SWT in Eclipse

  • The custom widgets package created for Eclipse

  • Drag-and-drop and clipboard support

  • Platform-specific features, such as OLE support on Windows

  • Building your own new widgets, dialogs, and layouts

  • Bidirectional language (BIDI) support

  • Implementation strategies used by SWT

  • The HTML browser widget

  • Printing

  • OpenGL support

We touch on these topics when they come up in context and attempt to provide pointers to more information, but as one of our reviewers said, “It cries out for a Volume 2.” We are aware of this. Once we get this one out the door and have enough time to remember who our families are again, we will start thinking about it.

Another very interesting element of this book is the inclusion of some of the history behind SWT and the design decisions that led to it having the shape that it does. We felt that, as two of the original designers, we could provide a better insight into this than you are likely to find elsewhere. Although this content represents only a small portion of the total, we hope that you find it interesting.

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