Finally a version you can all go and play with. Nimbus is coming out as part of “Java SE 6 update N” formerly known as the “Consumer Release” and “Project Hamburg”. Well whatever it is called it contains a decent version of the new Nimbus look and feel. You can go and download it from Java SE 6 Update N Early Access Program. Its is definately not 100% finished yet, there are a few areas that we are still working on:

  • Tabs
  • Focus handling is missing from Spinner,Slider, Tree, Table and List
  • FileChooser has a lot of issues
  • Right to Left for international language support
  • 3rd party component theming
  • Color theming
  • Lots of minor things like table gridlines or setContentAreaFilled() support on buttons
  • Exceptions are thrown if the window or some components get too small

Most of these will be fixed in the next EA release or the first beta release. A few of them have been fixed in the last couple weeks, I have just been working on color theming. All colors in Nimbus are derived from a set of UIDefault colors with Hue, Saturation and Brightness offsets. This gives you reasonable control over changing the colors of the Nimbus Look and Feel.

Dark NimbusDarker Themed Nimbus

Using Nimbus

There are 3 easy ways to use the Nimbus look and feel:

  1. If you query UIManager for a list of available look and feels then Nimbus will show up in the list
  2. Add UIManager.setLookAndFeel(""); to your application before creating any Swing components
  3. To specify the L&F from command line, use the following when running your Java application:

The reason Nimbus is in the sun.swing… package is it is not possible to add new API to the javax.swing… package in a update release. We hope that we can move Nimbus to javax.swing in Java 7 and if it turns out to be popular then we push to make it the default look and feel in 7. Before 6 update N is final we will work out some way for you to be able to use it now and when it is potentially moved without changing any code.

If you Find Bugs

You can search to see if there is an existing at Sun Bug Database or you can view a List of open Nimbus Bugs. You are welcome to post bugs here as comments and I will file them if they are not known bugs.

Other Cool Features of Update N

Improved performance

  • The Quick Starter feature will prefetch portions of the JRE into memory, substantially decreasing the average JRE cold start-up time (the time that it takes to launch a Java application for the first time after a fresh reboot of a PC).
  • Hardware acceleration support: Java SE 6 Update N introduces a fully hardware accelerated graphics pipeline based on the Microsoft Direct3D 9 API, translating into improved rendering of Swing applications which rely on translucency, gradients, arbitrary transformations, and other more advanced 2D operations.

Enhanced JRE installation experience 

  • The Deployment Toolkit takes the guess work out of determining what versions of the JRE end users have installed on their PC. It supplies Java based web applet/application deployers with a simple interface to accomplish Java detection and installation.
  • The Kernel installation mode lets first time Java users run applets and Web Start applications without waiting for the whole JRE download. While the default Kernel installation will work with existing Java applets, application developers have the ability to select libraries that should be installed with the kernel, before the rest of the JRE is installed on the end user’s system.
  • For current users of Java SE, the JRE update mechanism has also been improved, using a patch-in-place mechanism that translates in a faster and more reliable update process (the patch in place mechanism will take effect for end users who upgrade from this update release or later to a new update release). As an added benefit, follow-on update releases will no longer be listed as separate items in the Windows “Add or Remove Programs” dialog.
  • A new Java update download engine provides end users with the convenience of pausing and resuming the JRE download, and relies on a more reliable download mechanism.