Abstract windowing toolkit
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Abstract Windowing Toolkit. Design Goal: allow the programmer to build o GUI that looks good on all platforms

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Abstract Windowing Toolkit

  • Design Goal:

    • allow the programmer to build o GUI that looks good on all platforms

    • provide a well-designed object-oriented interface to low-level services and resources (tracking the mouse, reading the keyboard, writing to the screen etc.) so programmers don't have to worry about the details

  • The user interface elements provided by the AWT are implemented using each platform's native GUI toolkit, thereby preserving the look and feel of each platform.

Abstract Windowing Toolkit

  • java.awt

    • Graphics

      • colors, images, fonts, polygons, e.t.c.

    • Components

      • GUI (graphical user interface) components (buttons, menus, lists, dialog boxes)

    • Layout Managers

      • classes which control the layout of components within their container objects

  • java.awt.datatransfer (classes for cut-and-paste)

  • java.awt.event (classes for event handling)

  • java.awt.image (classes for image manipulation)

Inheritance relationship between the user interface component classes

Component classes (detailed)

The basic awt components

Basic Applet

import java.awt.*;

import java.applet.*;

public class Example1 extends Applet {

public void paint(Graphics g) {

g.drawString("First applet", 10, 10);



HTML Code that contains the applet




<TITLE>Applet Test Page</TITLE>


<h1>Applet Test Page</h1>









Another Example

import java.awt.*;

import java.applet.*;

public class Example2 extends Applet {


b1 = new Button("Button 1"),

b2 = new Button("Button 2");

public void init() {





How AWT components draw themselves

  • programs can draw only when AWT tells them to

  • AWT orders drawing requests by making them run in a single thread

  • AWT orders a component to draw itself by invoking its update() method

  • The default implementation of the update() method clears the Component’s background and then calls the paint() method

  • The default implementation of the paint() method does nothing

  • AWT can call the paint() method directly (e.g. when an area of a Component is revealed after being hidden behind an other window)

  • a Graphics object is the only argument of paint() and update()

    • represents the context in which the component can perform its drawing

  • The Graphics class provide methods for drawing and filling lines, rectangles e.t.c., images, text, for setting and getting colors and fonts e.t.c.

Creating the components of a simple editor (a) The Menus

  • Create a new class which extends the Frame class

    • public class SimpleEditor extends Frame{ . . . }

      In the Constructor

  • Create a MenuBar object

    • MenuBar menubar = new MenuBar();this.setMenuBar(menubar); // this refers to the Frame object

  • Create and add the Menu objects (File) to the menu bar

    • Menu file = new Menu(‘’File’’);menubar.add(file);

  • Create and add the MenuItem objects to the Menu containers (Open, New, Save, Save as, Exit)

    • MenuItem open = new MenuItem(‘’Open’’);file.add(open);

Creating the components of a simple editor (b) The Panel

  • Create a new TextArea object and add it to the scroll pane

    • TextArea textArea = new TextArea();pane.add(textArea);

  • Set the frame size and pop it up

    • this.setSize(300, 300);

    • this.pack();

    • this.show();

java.awt.event - Events, Listeners, Adapters

  • Events

    • represent event occurrences

    • java.awt.AWTEvent is the superclass of all the awt events

    • ActionEvent, TextEvent, MouseEvent, KeyEvent e.t.c.

  • Listeners

    • extend the java.util.EventListener interface

    • provide methods that handle events

    • ActionListener, TextListener, MouseListener, KeyListener e.t.c.

  • Adapters

    • implement the corresponding listener, providing empty bodies for all the methods of it (it is useful when we don’ t want to implement all the methods of a listener).

    • MouseAdapter, KeyAdapter e.t.c.

Example withEvents

import java.awt.*;

import java.awt.event.*; // Must add this

import java.applet.*;

public class Example5 extends Applet {


b1 = new Button("Button 1"),

b2 = new Button("Button 2");

public void init() {

b1.addActionListener(new B1());

b2.addActionListener(new B2());




class B1 implements ActionListener {

public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

getAppletContext().showStatus("Button 1");



class B2 implements ActionListener {

public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

getAppletContext().showStatus("Button 2");




Adding events to our editor

  • Opening a document

    • open.addActionListener(new ActionListener(){ public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) { openDocument(); }});

  • Saving a document

    • save.addActionListener(new ActionListener(){ public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) { saveDocument(); }});

  • Handling window close requests

    • this.addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter(){ public void windowClosing(WindowEvent e){ System.exit(0); }});

Opening a file - File Dialogs

displaying an open file dialog

FileDialog dialog = new FileDialog(this, "Select a file", FileDialog.LOAD);


if(dialog.getFile() == null) return;

filename = dialog.getDirectory() + File.separator + dialog.getFile();

to display a save file dialog

FileDialog dialog = new FileDialog(this, "Select a file", FileDialog.SAVE);


Layout Managers

  • A Layout Manager is an object that controls the position and the size of components in a container

  • Every layout manager implements the LayoutManager interface

  • By default, every Container has a layout manager object that controls its layout

    • for Panel objects: instances of the FlowLayout class

    • for Window objects: instances of the BorderLayout class

  • There are five layout manager classes in AWT

    • FlowLayout

    • GridLayout

    • BorderLayout

    • CardLayout

    • GridBagLayout


  • It’s the default layout manager for all Windows (Frames, Dialogs, e.t.c.)

  • the layout is divided into five areas: North, South, East, West and Center

  • Using BorderLayout

    • setLayout(new BorderLayout());add(“North”, new Button(“North”));add(“South”, new Button(“South”));add(“East”, new Button(“East”));add(“West”, new Button(“West”));add(“Center”, new Button(“Center”));

  • to insert gaps between the components we use the following constructor:

    • public BorderLayout(int horizontalGap, int verticalGap)


  • It’s the default layout manager for all Panels

  • It simply lays out components (at their preferred size) from left to right, starting new rows if there is not enough space

    • setLayout(new FlowLayout);add(new Button(«This is a long-named button»));add(new Button(«Hello»));

  • Within each row the components are centered (by default), left-aligned or right-aligned

  • Constructors

    • public FlowLayout()

    • public FlowLayout(int alignment)

    • public FlowLayout(int alignment, int horizontalGap, verticalGap)

    • alignment: FlowLayout.LEFT, FlowLayout.RIGHT, FlowLayout.CENTER


  • Arranges components into a grid of rows and columns

  • The cells are equal size based on the largest component in the grid

  • Adding components

    • setLayout(new GridLayout(0,2));//construct a GridLayout with two //columns and unspecified number of rowsadd(new Button(“Button 1”));add(new Button(“2”));add(new Button(“Button 3”));add(new Button(“Long-Named Button 4”));add(new Button(“Button 5”));

  • At least one of the rows and columns must be non-zero


  • Helps to manage two or more components that share the same display space.

  • Adding componentsPanel cards = new Panel();cards.setLayout(new CardLayout());...//Create a Panel named p1. Put buttons in it....//Create a Panel named p2. Put a text field in it.cards.add("Panel with Buttons", p1);cards.add("Panel with TextField", p2);

  • Showing its components((CardLayout)cards.getLayout()).show(cards, “Panel with Buttons”);

  • Choosing a componentpublic void first(Container panel)public void next(Container panel)public void previous(Container panel)public void last(Container panel)public void show(Container panel, String name)


  • The most flexible and complex layout manager

  • Places components in a grid of rows and columns

  • the applet specifies the size and position characteristics of its components is by by means of GridBagConstraints

  • GridBagLayout gridbag = new GridBagLayout();GridBagConstraints c = new GridBagConstraints();setLayout(gridbag);//...Create the component...//...Set instance variables in the GridBagConstraints instance... gridbag.setConstraints(theComponent, c);add(theComponent);

GridBagConstraints instance variables

  • gridx, gridy : Specify the column and row of the upper left of the component

  • gridwidth, gridheight : Specify the number of columns or rows in the component's display area

  • fill : how to resize the component when its display size is larger than its requested size

  • ipadx, ipady : how many pixels to add to the minimum size of the component

  • insets : the minimum amount of space between the component and the edges of its display area

  • anchor : where to place the component when it’s smaller than its display area

  • weightx, weighty : how to distribute space among columns (weightx) and among rows (weighty)

Absolute Positioning

  • we do not use any layout manager

    • setLayout(null);

  • adding the components

    • Button b1 = new Button(«one»);

    • add(b1);

  • specifying the exact size and position

    • We overwrite the paint(Graphics g) method and specify the position and size of each component:

      • b1.reshape(70 + insets.left, 35 + insets.top, 50, 20);

  • We should avoid using absolute positioning in order to guarantee a platform-dependent component appearance

Example withlayouts/panels (1)

import java.applet.*;

import java.awt.*;

public class Example6 extends Applet


public void init()


Panel p;

setLayout(new BorderLayout());

p = new Panel();

p.add(new TextArea());

add("Center", p);

p = new Panel();

p.add(new Button("One"));

p.add(new Button("Two"));

Choice c = new Choice();





add("South", p);



Example withlayouts/panels (2)

public static void main(String [] args)


Frame f = new Frame("Example 6");

Example6 ex = new Example6();


f.add("Center", ex);





Common problems

  • when a window never shows up

    • set the window size or pack it

  • when the component never shows up

    • if the container is already visible call validate() on the container after adding the componenô

  • How can I specify a component’s exact size?

    • standard components size depends on the platform and the fonts that are used. You don’t need to specify their exact size.

    • for custom components you need to override getMinimumSize() and getPreferreSize() methods.

    • component sizes are subject to the layout manager you use

Shapes, Text, Images

  • The class Graphics provides methods for drawing Lines, Rectangles (simple, 3D and round-edged rectangles), Ovals, Arcs and Polygons.

    • g.drawLine(10, 10, 120, 100);

  • drawing text

    • g.drawString(«Hello World», 50, 50); //g: instance of Graphics

  • setting fonts

    • g.setFont(new Font(new Font(«Helvetica», Font.ITALIC, 14)));

  • loading Images

    • Image image = getImage(URL); //in an applet

    • Image image = Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().getImage(filenameOrURL);

  • displaying Images

    • g.drawImage(image, 0, 0, this);

Extending AWT – JFC Swing

  • a new GUI API based on AWT

    • new visual components (tables, split panes, toolbars, trees, progress bars e.t.c)

    • drag and drop support

    • pluggable Look & Feel support

  • two releases

    • JFC 1.1 (for use with JDK 1.1)

    • JDK 1.2

  • For each AWT component there is a equivalent Swing component (JButton, JLabel, JFrame, e.t.c.)

    • Swing components are implemented with absolutely no native code

    • They have much more capabilities than AWT components

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