I’m surprised by the number of folks who don’t realize that you can use Eclipse to build Swing-based applications. There’s no rule that says that you can only use Eclipse to build Eclipse plug-ins or RCP applications. There’s no rules governing the kinds of applications you can build with Eclipse at all (heck, you don’t even need to use Java).
In fact, one of the early criticisms of the Visual Editor Project was that you couldn’t use it to build SWT applications; it was originally authored only for building AWT and Swing applications. In recent years, it’s evolved quite a lot to become quite a useable tool for building all kinds of user interfaces using AWT, Swing, and SWT. It supports round tripping, so you can take your Swing user interfaces built using some other tool and work away at them without much fuss.
But there’s more… like other Eclipse projects, it’s intended to be extended. Extend away.
A lot of work has been put into Visual Editor. Give it a try. It’s part of the Callisto release train; you can install it as part of your Callisto testing.