Swing is a large set of components ranging from the very simple, such as labels, to the very complex, such as tables, trees, and styled text documents. Almost all Swing components are derived from a single parent called JComponent which extends the AWT Container class. Thus, Swing is best described as a layer on top of AWT rather than a replacement for it. Figure 1.2 shows a partial JComponent hierarchy. If you compare this with the AWT Component heirarchy of figure 1.1 you will notice that for each AWT component there is a Swing equivalent with prefix “J”. The only exception to this is the AWT Canvas class, for which JComponent, JLabel, or JPanel can be used as a replacement (in section 2.8 we discuss this in detail). You will also notice many Swing classes with no AWT counterparts.

Figure 1.2 represents only a small fraction of the Swing library, but this fraction consists of the classes you will be dealing with most. The rest of Swing exists to provide extensive support and customization capabilities for the components these classes define.


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