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In Java what is the difference between heavyweight and lightweight components?


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June 05, 2009 9:11AM

The basic difference between Swing and AWT is that Swing APIs are purely Java libraries i.e. they don't at all depend on the native libraries to draw graphical components. Because of this feature they provide a consistent look and feel on all platforms. AWT libraries require the support of native graphics libraries and some of their GUI components look different on different platforms. Moreover, Swing components are not inherently Thread safe, you explicitly have to write synchronized code to manipulate or redraw them whereas AWT components can be trusted in a multithreaded environment. AWT Components are called heavyweight components because of their dependency on native libraries. Swing components are called lightweight due to their independence of native libraries. Hence Swing operations are much faster because each and every operation is taken care by the Java runtime env and no delegation of events or commands to the native libraries is required.