Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Java Foundation Classes
The Java Foundation Classes (JFC) are a graphical framework for building portable Java-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs). JFC consists of the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT), Swing and Java2D. Together, they provide a consistent user interface for Java programs, regardless whether the underlying user interface system is Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.
AWT is the older of the two interface libraries, and was heavily criticized for being little more than a wrapper around the native graphical capabilities of the host platform. That meant that the standard widgets in the AWT relied on those capabilities of the native widgets, requiring the developer to also be aware of the differences between host platforms.
An alternative graphics library called the Internet Foundation Classes was developed in more platform-independent code by Netscape. Ultimately, Sun merged the IFC with other technologies under the name "Swing", adding the capability for a pluggable look and feel of the widgets. This allows Swing programs to maintain a platform independant code base, but mimic the look of a native application.
See also: Standard Widget Toolkit
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