Bob: A GUI Builder for Java/Swing

This is an internal development site for our new visual designer. If you give it a go and have some commnents/suggestions do please send them along to us at:

Bob (a placeholder name) is a GUI builder for creating user interfaces in Java/Swing. Our goal has been to come up with a tool that really does offer a practical alternative to coding Java UIs by hand. This is a hard problem and a solution as effective as VB or Interface Builder seems so far to have eluded the Java development community. This builder has been in development for over two years; we hope to conclude our first development phase in 2005.

Bob can load and save the designs you create with it in a variety of formats. The default format is the XML format used by the the long term persistence APIs that were introduced in SDK 1.4 (XMLEncoder/XMLDecoder). You can also save designs as Java source code and import/export .ser files too.

When Java source code is used as the output format, Bob uses very different techniques to those of conventional form designers. Most importantly, we do not use "back-parsing" at all. Instead, Java code is compiled and loaded into Bob as class files which are then simply run. Because of this you can refactor and edit the code that you are working on in the builder without being required to keep a separate copy of the design in a format the builder can understand.

Which ever format you use to save designs, you can always run them with a standard 1.4 JRE - you do not need to package Bob with it or include a Bob "runtime" as an extra jar file.


There's very little documnetation for Bob at the moment. What we do have is listed below:


If you have Java 1.4.1 or higher you can use JavaWebStart to run Bob using the following (free) demo by clicking here.

Join us!

Were keen to expand the team of people working on the builder's codebase so if you're a keen Java/Swing expert/enthusiast please get in touch with us at: We've not yet committed to taking either a commercial or an open source route with the product so salaried, partnership-based and traditional open-source development routes are all options at this point.