How to Convert Java Swing to a Web Application | Vaadin

Mikael Sukoinen
Mikael Sukoinen
On Nov 1, 2022 3:43:37 PM
In Product

Converting a Java Swing to a web application – or any legacy application for that matter  – can be a complex and time-consuming process. Despite the challenges, however, application modernization is more than worthwhile. And with the right tools, a Swing migration can be a relatively seamless process. 

Vaadin's Swing Kit makes it easier for you to create hybrid apps by combining desktop Swing views and Vaadin web views, allowing you to migrate your application to the web one view at a time. See it in action.

Why move away from Swing?

The shift from desktop to mobile caused the end of the desktop-only era. In 1999, a Swing application could work on almost any graphics-enabled computing device without having to be recompiled, yet today less than half of devices sold are able to run native Swing.

As the demand for Swing applications has declined, the technology has stagnated and is becoming increasingly isolated from today's technology. Although Oracle stated in 2020 that Swing would be supported indefinitely, there are fewer and fewer professionals with desktop development abilities available in the market. By staying with Swing, your IT infrastructure creeps in maintenance costs and lags behind the status quo of web applications.

Why migrate to the web?

  1. Device compatibility: Sun Microsystems (the company that released Java in 1996) trademarked the slogan “Write once, run everywhere” to describe the power of device compatibility. The slogan doesn’t hold for Swing applications that lack the mobile device compatibility of web applications.
  2. Upgrades and experimentation: Easy deployment means easy upgrades. Developers can deploy a new version of the application that updates for every user and roll back to the previous version with ease if something breaks.
  3. Web technologies: Single sign-on (or SSO) and other cloud-based technologies can improve the application with features beyond the reach of desktop applications.

How Vaadin helps

Vaadin enables developers to keep writing their applications 100% in Java. The transition is as easy as possible for developers when they can leverage their existing Java skills within Vaadin's full-stack Java web framework

Our Swing Kit simplifies the process even further by enabling you to embed Vaadin views into your Swing application for a gradual migration to the web rather than creating a new application from the start and maintaining the old one concurrently. 

We also provide up to 15 years of support for a Vaadin version, so you won't have to think about migrating to a new technology again any time soon!

How to convert Java Swing to web with Vaadin

The Swing Kit, in contrast to “big bang” modernization projects where you replace the legacy application in one big move, enables a gradual move without the need to maintain two applications simultaneously. 

It works by seamlessly embedding Vaadin-based web views into your Swing application. The views can communicate with each other, blurring the line between desktop and web.

You can access the potential of modern web technologies much sooner than with big-bang techniques, and your users can continue doing business as usual without having to make a sudden switch to the new application. 

The Vaadin views are also accessible through a browser, so you’ll have a web application as well as your Swing application available throughout the migration process.

Ready to get started? Read documentation →

Mikael Sukoinen
Mikael Sukoinen
Mikael has a passion for writing text, code and music. He’s currently utilising his skills to explain difficult concepts in plain language at Vaadin Ltd.
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