Tools of the Trade, Part 3: Using the JGoodies Animation Library
Splash screens, warning dialog boxes, and other user-interface elements can benefit from appropriate animations. Not only do animations entice users, they can also highlight important information that users might otherwise miss.
Have you ever wanted to embed an animation into a splash screen or another Swing-based user-interface element, but were frustrated by Swing’s lack of a high-level animation infrastructure? Thanks to the JGoodies animation library, you might never again experience this frustration.
This article wraps up the Tools of the Trade series by introducing you to the JGoodies animation library (the previous two articles in this three-article series explored the iText and JGraph open-source tools for creating PDF documents and building graphs, respectively). After showing you how to obtain and install the animation library, I take you on a tour of that tool. During the tour, I present one console application and two Swing applications that illustrate important library features.
JGoodies Animation Library Intro
JGoodies, a product development, software consulting, and design company that was founded by Karsten Lentzsch, focuses on improving Java’s look, UI design, and usability (from a Swing perspective). To achieve these objectives, JGoodies offers animation and four other libraries that you can freely download and incorporate into your commercial products, provided that you abide by the terms of the BSD open-source license.
You can obtain the animation library (and the other JGoodies libraries) by pointing your Web browser to the Downloads || Libraries page and downloading the appropriate zip file(s).
After downloading and unzipping the animation library’s animation-1_1_3.zip file, I recommend that you install this library by first moving its animation-1.1.3 subdirectory to the root directory on your c: drive, which results in c:\animation-1.1.3 as your animation library’s home directory.
The c:\animation-1.1.3 directory contains an animation-1.1.3.jar file. To complete the installation, add this Jar file to your CLASSPATH environment variable. For example, set classpath=%classpath%;c:\animation-1.1.3\animation-1.1.3.jar adds this Jar file to CLASSPATH on Windows 98 SE. If you are using a different version of Windows or a non-Windows operating system, study your OS documentation to find out how to set this environment variable.