Posted on Mar 23, 2007

Draft Nimbus Spec Released

I have put together a spec based on all the designs for the new Nimbus L&F. It is no where near complete yet but If you would like a glimpse at what all the components will look like when done then check out: Nimbus Spec

JProgressBar Gradients

JProgressBar Animations


  • This looks really beautiful – a neat, professional looking design with without elements that distract from the content.

    Apparently Nimbus borrows from Aqua (which is a good thing) but retains its own character.

    On the ‘Small’ versions of some components (JButton, JComboBox), the baseline is a little bit too high.

    I am noticing, that certain things in this design are probably not so easy to implement. For example having dark selection backgrounds with white text in some components, or having the selection background of a JTree extend to the left and right, or having focus rings that extend over the visual bounds of a component.

    Two thumbs up!


  • This look and feed looks makes swing apps really cool than any native application.

  • Carango says:

    Looks beautiful, amazing work! Thanks you.

  • aronsmith says:

    Damn, some nice looking stuff there. What tool did you put the %/color labels next to the gradients with? Those are nice.

    Window controls. The upside down triangle control, is that something I can add a popup menu to? That makes my mouth water (thinking Eclipse). If you could add that to a tab for a context specific menu – it would ROCK.

    Two thoughts.

    1) Buttons. When you are mouse is over the button you have it lighter but is there *any* way it can look slightly raised as in Internet Explorer toolbar as an example. The pressed looks ok, but having it raised on mouse over would create the world of difference.

    2) JOptionPane. You probably can’t do it but it would be so convenient to have an optional checkbox in the bottom left hand corner so I can add ‘do not prompt me again messsage’ checkboxes.

  • Augusto says:

    Very nice, and I love the format of the spec. Specially the details of the gradients.

    A couple of questions …

    I take it Nimbus won’t support configurable color themes?

    Any interesting ideas on the file chooser?

    When you are using this look and feel, is the recommendation to use windows undecorated so it uses these icons?

  • Matt Nathan says:

    The spec looks good, it’s good to see how much effort goes into outlining how these things look (I supose it’s good for unit testing too).

    For me I really want to see how you’re going to do the focused components bit at the bottom of the page, it looks like they’re be bleeding into their surrounding area?!

  • David Browne says:

    Do you have specs describing what things look like in Right-To-Left orientation?

  • Andrew McVeigh says:

    I’m really excited about the lnf — it looks great. i tried it with my UML case tool app, and the current implementation highlights around a canvas when it is selected, which looks quite odd. Will it be possible to turn this off for things like canvases, which shouldn’t really have highlight-upon-focus looks?

  • Christian says:

    Is it planed that colors can be changed?
    A simple theme support or something?

  • Nitin says:

    If this is going to be next attempt to swing default L&F, In my opinion, There is something missing as a theme here !
    for quick list :
    1) Interminate progressbar .. may be its too loud ! grabs all attention. leaving other details on screen unimportant.
    2) JComboBox and JSPinner looks almost same except fine devider!
    3) colors of windows butttons (close/min/max) doesnt match with theme colors (bg, gradients, progress bar colors etc…)
    4) Scroll Thumb looks fugly PHAT
    5) Clutters of lines (is it borders?) in TABs

    To be successful (this time) be practicle. windows is what most “users” (% wise) will compare to. BTW is there any professional hired for creating theme ?
    I think wise man will copy most / mix Apple / M$ / someother who invested a lot to design the UI and user feed back.

    I like the name Nimbus and appriciating the work :)

  • Carl Dea says:


    Great work…. I can’t wait….

    This may even be favored over native. Very clean…


  • Sermet Yucel says:

    Looks great. Looking forward to using it.

  • wahid says:

    great work,looking forward to this!

  • jasper says:

    Werner Randelshofer: I have noticed the text positioning on small versions. At the moment these images are just what the original designer has done, we will fix things like that when we implement it.

    aronsmith: The gradient images were done by the original designer of Nimbus and are just done by had in Photoshop, nice idea for little Java tool :)

    Augusto: There are no plans for themes, there is a branding issue as much a technical one here. FileChooser is a good question, it will depend on what is possible within the time available. I would like a native feel one with Nimbus look but it will probably end up being some variation on metal’s one.

    David Browne: There are no specs describing what things look like in Right-To-Left orientation that I have seen. Are there any specific cases you are interested in?

    Nitin: This was designed by professional UI designers and is already a GTK theme in the new Solaris. I am working on a Java version of the same design so am limited in what can be changed.

    FOCUS is a big question, we are experimenting with this now as it is problematic. So we are not sure how it will come out yet.

  • David Browne says:

    Well, I am just remembering some of Kirill Grouchnikov’s blog postings on the issue, on how most LAFs weren’t dealing very well with RTL.

    For menus, see

    For comboboxes, see

    In the link for comboboxes, in the comments, there are some pointers to examples of RTL controls.

    Anyway, just wanting to make sure that you have all the bases covered. Great work!

  • Mannix says:

    Looks good. Please give some consideration to Nitin’s point (2) – why should the Combo box have two little arrows instead of one pointing down? Confuses with JSpinner.

  • Saeven says:


    Work looks fantastic. I tried applying Nimbus to an existing app of ours for kicks, and unfortunately it fails on JTables with a :

    at javax.swing.JTable.setSelectionBackground(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.plaf.synth.SynthTableUI.updateStyle(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.plaf.synth.SynthTableUI.installDefaults(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.plaf.basic.BasicTableUI.installUI(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.JComponent.setUI(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.JTable.setUI(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.JTable.updateUI(Unknown Source)
    at javax.swing.JTable.(Unknown Source)

    Seems it’s still a ways away from completion, but I do look forward to the former! Good luck with the development!!


  • Thomas says:

    Where can I download Nimbus L&F

  • nr says:

    Inconsistency: according to the spec page

    Pressed command-JButton turns BLACK ON DARK GRAY
    Pressed default-JButton, JComboBox, JSpinner, JSlider all turn WHITE ON NAVY

    Makes me wonder if the command button failed (particularly if the command action isn’t obvious or not immediate).

    Also, which will be used for JToggleButton?

    The dark gray could be reserved for the ‘on’ JToggle button, and navy could be used for any control under mouse with selection button down, including the command-JButton.

  • Jaana says:

    But is it possible to change the orange color of progressbars at all?