Nimbus is completely configured by properties in the UIManager defaults table. In my last blog I showed a simple example of how to skin a single component. This gave you a sneak peek into the power of these properties. Lots of people have asked for a complete list of properties that can be set, well its simple just grab UIManager.getLookAndFeelDefaults() and iterate over the contents of the map and print the keys and values and there you go. Well I am not that cruel so I did the work for you and will include a link to a complete table of them at the end. But before I get to that let me explain how they work.

Nimbus properties follow some rules and you can not only use the property keys that we have added in as default but you can create your own. Nimbus Look and Feel scans the UIDefaults table when ever you add a property with UIManager.put(<<key>>,<<value>>) then updates its internal state. When that new property matches the current state of the component it applies to then it will be applied to that component. Properties cascade like CSS and the most specific matching one is used.

  • foreground = Color.BLACK
  • Label.foreground = Color.BLUE
  • Label[Disabled].foreground = Color.GRAY
  • "SomeLabel"[Disabled].foreground = Color.WHITE

In these examples foreground applies to the foreground of all regions of all components, Label.foreground applies to only Label components, Label[Disabled].foreground applies to only Label components in the Disabled state. "SomeLabel"[Disabled].foreground applies to all components named “SomeLabel” that are in the disabled state. Hopefully that also explains the different ways you can write a rule to match a Component. The only 2 cases that are not covered here are Component.Region.foreground which lets you specify a sub-region of a component and ComponentA:ChildComponentB.foreground which lets you specify a ChildComponentB contained within ComponentA. You can see many examples of these in the complete table below and then play with writing your own. For example you can use the “name” property of a component in a similar way to “class” in CSS, say naming a bunch of buttons “hotButton” and then specifying new rules for them in the defaults table. I already explained in my last blog how you can override the global defaults on a single instance bases which matches the “style” attribute with HTML CSS.

Colors in Nimbus are derived, which means there are a core set of colors which are constants and all the other colors are calculated from those. This means you can simply change those and the 1000s of other colors that are related and used in the painters will update to reflect the new base color. These colors are shown in the “Primary Colors” section of the table. The colors in the “Secondary Colors” section are derived from those in the “Primary Colors” section but themselves are used as the base colors for other colors. You may need to change the secondary colors to tweak the results of changing the primary ones if you are not happy with the results. You can you derived colors in your own code as well so that you colors can change when the primary colors change. This will allow you to make your application color theme-able idea for white label branding etc. The method you need is on NimbusLookAndFeel called getDerivedColor :

 * Get a derived color, derived colors are shared instances and is color
 * value will change when its parent UIDefault color changes.
 * @param uiDefaultParentName The parent UIDefault key
 * @param hOffset             The hue offset
 * @param sOffset             The saturation offset
 * @param bOffset             The brightness offset
 * @param aOffset             The alpha offset
 * @param uiResource          True if the derived color should be 
 *                            UIResource, false if it should not be
 * @return The stored derived color
public Color getDerivedColor(String uiDefaultParentName,
               float hOffset, float sOffset, float bOffset, int aOffset,
               boolean uiResource)

Hopefully the rest will make sense as you read though the table and look at all the examples. After that its just a matter of try playing with some and see what you can do. I hope you see that power in this that Richard Bair and I designed and hoped would be useful. The complete defaults properties table is way to big to include in this post so I have put it on a separate page.

If you would like to see how I made this list, here is the code that creates the html.

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