Making Java apps look good in Mac OSX

Mac OS comes bundled with Java already installed by default and strives to make the user interface easy for users.

However, for those that like coding Java applications it might seem like a daunting task to make it look user friendly. If we were coding a platform specific application, we'd just select an icon to include at runtime and be done with it.

But in java - it's just too complicated and most pages about this topic that I stumbled upon were not really shedding much light on the matter.

Eventually, I discovered that Mac OS by default also includes some nifty tools to solve this matter.

There is a life-saver application called "Jar Bundler" and you can find it inside the /Developer/Applications/Utilities folder within the Mac OS. I've found it on this page:


Using this tool is a snap, open it up, select the Jar file that you intend to run and select an icon.

Before clicking on "Create application", you will need to choose a folder that will serve as base for your application. My advice is to pick an empty folder inside the desktop.


Other tweaks:
You can click on the "Set working directory to inside application package" to ensure that any files that your jar creates are kept inside the package (to keep it nice and tidy).

The icon format used by this tool is .icns but don't worry, you can use the online service at to convert the file without any pain. If you want to make your image transparent, just open it on gimp, click on "Colors" --> "Colors to Alpha" and then "Ok". If you save the image as .png then it will be lossless and preserve transparency.

That's all. Hope this tip help others creating good looking apps with Java for OSX.


Over the last years I've been a sort of doom's day prophet in claiming that MS will eventually acquire Ubuntu sooner or later.

The reason why I claim such statement is mostly because Ubuntu is really good at what they do and the desktop/server editions just get better and better at each 6 months.

Many people think that Microsoft is the all-time enemy of Linux but in reality Microsoft was once the biggest provider of Unix operative systems even before Linux was born.

This was at the time of Xenix, a licensed Unix version that was leased to other companies for deployment in organizations. In many ways, MS contributed to make Unix better and later went to write their own history with MS-DOS and Windows (all genres).

Now, Ubuntu seems to pick on the same characteristics that made windows a platform that everyone could use for their daily work along with any other enterprise tasks.

They're quite different from any of the other Linux flavors in the sense that the focus is given on making a pleasant desktop for users and instead of pleasant users to desktop.

I can't forget the endless times when I needed to edit a pesky xorg.conf to try getting my display to work correctly. In Ubuntu you see no such thing and that can only be a good thing for those who worked with older versions of linux.

Microsoft cannot compete against an operative system that is provided at free of charge for their users but it can certainly acquire the company and profit from a leading position on the linux platforms as Canonical does at the moment.

At the moment that a MS Ubuntu version appeared, in true fact I'd see many organizations adopting linux as their default server configuration just because of the MS label posted on the box.

Inside a big organization, MS knows how to provide outstanding tools but let's face it: many times we need a simple server and paying a costly license is not a good motivator to use MS software.

Maybe this would even become a good way to refresh MS's image from a monolithic empire that is falling down against other rivals such as Apple and Google to an open company that is embracing the future and human innovation.


So, I'm going one step further with my prophecy and acquired the domain to post my thoughts and hopes for this future to occur one day.

Perhaps more people out there also think this might become a real scenario some day and join me there, would be nice to see this happen.

Crossing my fingers..


yEd - a hidden gem for those who need a simple and free diagram editor

I've been a long time fan of Dia.

Both the Windows and Ubuntu version worked good enough to suffice my diagram needs.

I just turn it on and place all the diagrams into position to later paste them onto any document. Some people like Visio better and I'm sure it is, but my interest was in using a freeware tool that didn't required a license for something that I deemed as very simple.

Well.. there is no Dia for Mac. There is an expensive replacement for Visio on OSX but I'm still interested in good and free solutions.

Looking around the web I've stumbled on a very neat application: yEd.

This graph editor is simply perfect for my needs. Runs in Java and I could start right away for a try without installing it on my machine. The design is very intuitive and thought there are some things that might take one hour or two to get used - it is very easy to use without the need to read any sort of manual.

That's the type of program that I like, free and simple.

This editor can handle UML and a lot of goodies that someone in software development will surely enjoy.

If you're in need for a simple diagram editor, you find it here: