Instantiations have released version 6.5.0 of WindowBuilder Pro their Eclipse based Java GUI builder. The new & noteworthy page describes some of the improvements available in this new version.
WindowBuilder Pro supports not only standard Swing GUIs but Eclipse’s Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) and Google’s Web Toolkit (GWT).
One of my favourite features of WindowBuilder’s Swing toolkit is support for GroupLayout a la Netbeans Matisse. WindowBuilder manages to do it without annoying proprietary .form files and is quite capable at reverse engineering existing GUIs for full round trip (bi-directional) capabilities meaning you can either edit the GUI in the graphical layout or in the code. Trying to jump back and forth between Netbeans and Eclipse with Matisse built GUIs is a pain as not only must the associated .form files be migrated back and forth but care must be taken not to edit the generated GUI code as it can get the code and .form out of synch. Also because of the reverse engineering of existing GUI code and support for all of the standard layouts, existing projects can be viewed and manipulated graphically regardless of layout or coding style.
Another cool feature (not mentioned in the New and Noteworthy) that I discovered playing with the product is that version 6.5 now has support for JSR 296 also known as the Swing Application Framework. Although it does not appear to come with a JAR to support it, a quick download (and build) is all it takes to start building Swing applications based on the new application framework. As far as I know this is the first non-beta product which support this new JSR.
The downside of WindowBuilder Pro is its cost. At $329 for a commercial license it certainly isn’t free like Matisse or the Eclipse Visual Editor but if you are designing GUIs with any regularity, the cost will quickly recuperated in time and frustration saved. Instantiations also offers a free trimmed down version of Window Builder as well as having discounts for academic and non-commercial uses.
Update: Instantiations has released WindowBuilder Pro 6.7.0