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Java AWT

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11. Scrolling

Contents:
Scrollbar
Scrolling An Image
The Adjustable Interface
ScrollPane

This chapter describes how Java deals with scrolling. AWT provides two means for scrolling. The first is the fairly primitive Scrollbar object. It really provides only the means to read a value from a slider setting. Anything else is your responsibility: if you want to display the value of the setting (for example, if you're using the scrollbar as a volume control) or want to change the display (if you're using scrollbars to control an area that's too large to display), you have to do it yourself. The Scrollbar reports scrolling actions through the standard event mechanisms; it is up to the programmer to handle those events and perform the scrolling.

Unlike other components, which generate an ACTION_EVENT when something exciting happens, the Scrollbar generates five events: SCROLL_LINE_UP, SCROLL_LINE_DOWN, SCROLL_PAGE_UP, SCROLL_PAGE_DOWN, and SCROLL_ABSOLUTE. In Java 1.0, none of these events trigger a default event handler like the action() method. To work with them, you must override the handleEvent() method. With Java 1.1, you handle scrolling events by registering an AdjustmentListener with the Scrollbar.addAdjustmentListener() method; when adjustment events occur, the listener's adjustmentValueChanged() method is called.

Release 1.1 of AWT also includes a ScrollPane container object; it is a response to one of the limitations of AWT 1.0. A ScrollPane is like a Panel, but it has scrollbars and scrolling built in. In this sense, it's like TextArea, which contains its own scrollbars. You could use a ScrollPane to implement a drawing pad that could cover an arbitrarily large area. This saves you the burden of implementing scrolling yourself: generating scrollbars, handling their events, and figuring out how to redisplay the screen accordingly.

Both Scrollbar and ScrollPane take advantage of the Adjustable interface. Adjustable defines the common scrolling activities of the two classes. The Scrollbar class implements Adjustable; a ScrollPane has two methods that return an Adjustable object, one for each scrollbar. Currently, you can use the ScrollPane's "adjustables" to find out the scrollbar settings in each direction. You can't change the settings or register AdjustmentListeners; the appropriate methods exist, but they don't do anything. It's not clear whether this is appropriate behavior or a bug (remember, an interface only lists methods that must be present but doesn't require them to do anything); it may change in a later release.

11.1 Scrollbar

Scrollbars come in two flavors: horizontal and vertical. Although there are several methods for setting the page size, scrollbar range (minimum and maximum values), and so on, basically all you can do is get and set the scrollbar's value. Scrollbars don't contain any area to display their value, though if you want one, you could easily attach a label.

To work with a Scrollbar, you need to understand the pieces from which it is built. Figure 11.1 identifies each of the pieces. At both ends are arrows, which are used to change the Scrollbar value the default amount (one unit) in the direction selected. The paging areas are used to change the Scrollbar value one page (ten units by default) at a time in the direction selected. The slider can be moved to set the scrollbar to an arbitrary value within the available range.

Figure 11.1: Scrollbar elements

[Graphic: Figure 11-1]

Scrollbar Methods

Constants

There are two direction specifiers for Scrollbar. The direction tells the Scrollbar which way to orient itself. They are used in the constructors, as a parameter to setOrientation(), and as the return value for the getOrientation() method.

public final static int HORIZONTAL

HORIZONTAL is the constant for horizontal orientation.

public final static int VERTICAL

VERTICAL is the constant for vertical orientation.

Constructors

public Scrollbar (int orientation, int value, int visible, int minimum, int maximum)

The Scrollbar constructor creates a Scrollbar with a direction of orientation and initial value of value. visible is the size of the slider. minimum and maximum are the range of values that the Scrollbar can be. If orientation is not HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL, the constructor throws the run-time exception IllegalArgumentException. If maximum is below the value of minimum, the scrollbar's minimum and maximum values are both set to minimum. If value is outside the range of the scrollbar, it is set to the limit it exceeded. The default line scrolling amount is one. The default paging amount is ten.

If you are using the scrollbar to control a visual object, visible should be set to the amount of a displayed object that is on the screen at one time, relative to the entire size of the object (i.e., relative to the scrollbar's range: maximum - minimum). Some platforms ignore this parameter and set the scrollbar to a fixed size.

public Scrollbar (int orientation)

This constructor for Scrollbar creates a Scrollbar with the direction of orientation. In Java 1.0, the initial settings for value, visible, minimum, and maximum are 0. In Java 1.1, the default value for visible is 10, and the default for maximum is 100; the other values default to 0. If orientation is not HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL, the constructor throws the run-time exception IllegalArgumentException. This constructor is helpful if you want to reserve space for the Scrollbar on the screen, to be configured later. You would then use the setValues() method to configure the scrollbar.

public Scrollbar ()

This constructor creates a VERTICAL Scrollbar. In Java 1.0, the initial settings for value, visible, minimum, and maximum are 0. In Java 1.1, the default value for visible is 10, and the default for maximum is 100; the other values default to 0. You would then use the setValues() method to configure the scrollbar.

Figure 11.2 shows both vertical and horizontal scrollbars. It also demonstrates a problem you'll run into if you're not careful. If not constrained by the LayoutManager, scrollbars can get very fat. The result is rarely pleasing. The solution is to place scrollbars in layout managers that restrict width for vertical scrollbars or height for horizontal ones. The side regions (i.e., everything except the center) of a border layout are ideal. In the long term, the solution will be scrollbars that give you their maximum size and layout managers that observe the maximum size.

Adjustable Methods

public int getOrientation ()

The getOrientation() method returns the current orientation of the scrollbar: either Scrollbar.HORIZONTAL or Scrollbar.VERTICAL.

public synchronized void setOrientation (int orientation) (New)

The setOrientation() method changes the orientation of the scrollbar to orientation, which must be either Scrollbar.HORIZONTAL or Scrollbar.VERTICAL. If orientation is not HORIZONTAL or VERTICAL, this method throws the run-time exception IllegalArgumentException. It was not possible to change the orientation of a scrollbar prior to Java 1.1.

public int getVisibleAmount () (New)
public int getVisible () (Deprecated)

The getVisibleAmount() method gets the visible setting of the Scrollbar. If the scrollbar's Container is resized, the visible setting is not automatically changed. getVisible() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

public synchronized void setVisibleAmount (int amount) (New)

The setVisibleAmount() method changes the current visible setting of the Scrollbar to amount.

public int getValue ()

The getValue() method is probably the most frequently called method of Scrollbar. It returns the current value of the scrollbar queried.

public synchronized void setValue (int value)

The setValue() method changes the value of the scrollbar to value. If value exceeds a scrollbar limit, the scrollbar's new value is set to that limit. In Java 1.1, this method is synchronized; it was not in earlier versions.

public int getMinimum ()

The getMinimum() method returns the current minimum setting for the scrollbar.

public synchronized void setMinimum (int minimum) (New)

The setMinimum() method changes the Scrollbar's minimum value to minimum. The current setting for the Scrollbar may change to minimum if minimum increases above getValue().

public int getMaximum ()

The getMaximum() method returns the current maximum setting for the scrollbar.

public synchronized void setMaximum (int maximum) (New)

The setMaximum() method changes the maximum value of the Scrollbar to maximum. The current setting for the Scrollbar may change to maximum if maximum decreases below getValue().

public synchronized void setValues (int value, int visible, int minimum, int maximum)

The setValues() method changes the value, visible, minimum, and maximum settings all at once. In Java 1.0.2, separate methods do not exist for changing visible, minimum, or maximum. The scrollbar's value is set to value, visible to visible, minimum to minimum, and maximum to maximum. If maximum is below the value of minimum, it is set to minimum. If value is outside the range of the scrollbar, it is set to the limit it exceeded. In Java 1.1, this method is synchronized; it was not in earlier versions.

public int getUnitIncrement () (New)
public int getLineIncrement () (Deprecated)

The getUnitIncrement() method returns the current line increment. This is the amount the scrollbar will scroll if the user clicks on one of the scrollbar's arrows.

getLineIncrement() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

public void setUnitIncrement (int amount) (New)
public void setLineIncrement (int amount) (Deprecated)

The setUnitIncrement() method changes the line increment amount to amount.

setLineIncrement() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

Changing the line increment amount was not possible in Java 1.0.2. This method acted like it returned successfully, and getLineIncrement() returned the new value, but the Scrollbar changed its value by only one (the default) when you clicked on one of the arrows. However, you could work around this defect by explicitly handling the SCROLL_LINE_UP and SCROLL_LINE_DOWN events: get the correct line increment, adjust the display appropriately, and then set call setValue() to correct the scrollbar's value. This workaround is not needed in Java 1.1.

public int getBlockIncrement () (New)
public int getPageIncrement () (Deprecated)

The getBlockIncrement() method returns the current paging increment. This is the amount the scrollbar will scroll if the user clicks between the slider and one of the scrollbar's arrows.

getPageIncrement() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

public void setBlockIncrement (int amount) (New)
public void setPageIncrement (int amount) (Deprecated)

The setBlockIncrement() method changes the paging increment amount to amount.

setPageIncrement() is the Java 1.0 name for this method.

Changing the paging increment amount was not possible in Java 1.0.2. This method acts like it returns successfully, and getPageIncrement() returns the new value, but the Scrollbar changes its value only by 10 (the default) when you click on one of the paging areas. However, you can work around this defect by explicitly handling the SCROLL_PAGE_UP and SCROLL_PAGE_DOWN events: get the correct page increment, adjust the display appropriately, and then set call setValue() to correct the scrollbar's value. This workaround is not necessary in Java 1.1.

Miscellaneous methods

public synchronized void addNotify ()

The addNotify() method creates the Scrollbar's peer. If you override this method, call super.addNotify() first. You will then be able to do everything you need with the information about the newly created peer.

protected String paramString ()

Scrollbar doesn't have its own toString() method; when you call the toString() method of a Scrollbar, you are actually calling the method Component.toString(). This in turn calls paramString(), which builds the string to display. For a Scrollbar, paramString() puts the scrollbar's value, visibility, minimum, maximum, and direction into the string. In Java 1.0, there is a minor bug in the output. Instead of displaying the scrollbar's visible setting (an integer), paramString() displays the component's visible setting (a boolean). (This is corrected in Java 1.1.) The following String is the result of calling toString() for a horizontal Scrollbar that hasn't been configured yet:

java.awt.Scrollbar[0,0,0x0,invalid,val=0,vis=true,min=0,max=0,horz]

Scrollbar Events

With the 1.0 event model, scrollbars generate five kinds of events in response to user interaction: SCROLL_LINE_UP, SCROLL_LINE_DOWN, SCROLL_PAGE_UP, SCROLL_PAGE_DOWN, and SCROLL_ABSOLUTE. The event that occurs depends on what the user did, as shown in Table 11.1; the event type is specified in the id field of the Event object passed to handleEvent(). However, as a programmer, you often do not care which of these five events happened. You care only about the scrollbar's new value, which is always passed as the arg field of the Event object.

Table 11.1: Scrollbar Events
Event Type (Event.id) Event Meaning
SCROLL_ABSOLUTE User drags slider.
SCROLL_LINE_DOWN User presses down arrow.
SCROLL_LINE_UP User presses up arrow.
SCROLL_PAGE_DOWN User selects down paging area.
SCROLL_PAGE_UP User selects up paging area.

Because scrollbar events do not trigger any default event handlers (like action()), it is necessary to override the handleEvent() method to deal with them. Unless your version of handleEvent() deals with all conceivable events, you must ensure that the original handleEvent() method is called. The simplest way is to have the return statement call super.handleEvent().

Most handleEvent() methods first identify the type of event that occurred. The following two code blocks demonstrate different ways of checking for the Scrollbar events.

if ((e.id == Event.SCROLL_LINE_UP) ||
    (e.id == Event.SCROLL_LINE_DOWN) ||
    (e.id == Event.SCROLL_PAGE_UP) ||
    (e.id == Event.SCROLL_PAGE_DOWN) ||
    (e.id == Event.SCROLL_ABSOLUTE)) {
    // Then determine which Scrollbar was selected and act upon it
}

Or more simply:

if (e.target instanceof Scrollbar) {
    // Then determine which Scrollbar was selected and act upon it.
}

Although the second code block is simpler, the first is the better choice because it is more precise. For example, what would happen if mouse events are passed to scrollbars? Different Java platforms differ most in the types of events passed to different objects; Netscape Navigator 3.0 for Windows 95 sends MOUSE_ENTER, MOUSE_EXIT, and MOUSE_MOVE events to the Scrollbar.[1] The second code block executes for all the mouse events--in fact, any event coming from a Scrollbar. Therefore, it executes much more frequently (there can be many MOUSE_MOVE events), leading to poor interactive performance.

[1] MOUSE_UP, MOUSE_DOWN, and MOUSE_DRAG are not generated since these operations generate SCROLL events.

Another platform-specific issue is the way the system generates SCROLL_ABSOLUTE events. Some platforms generate many events while the user drags the scrollbar. Others don't generate the event until the user stops dragging the scrollbar. Some implementations wait until the user stops dragging the scrollbar and then generate a flood of SCROLL_ABSOLUTE events for you to handle. In theory, it does not matter which is happening, as long as your event-processing code is tight. If your event-processing code is time consuming, you may wish to start another thread to perform the work. If the thread is still alive when the next event comes along, flag it down, and restart the operation. Listeners and 1.1 event handling

With the 1.1 event model, you register an AdjustmentListener by calling the addAdjustmentListener() method. Then when the user moves the Scrollbar slider, the AdjustmentListener.adjustmentValueChanged() method is called through the protected Scrollbar.processAdjustmentEvent() method. Key, mouse, and focus listeners are registered through the three Component methods of addKeyListener(), addMouseListener(), and addFocusListener(), respectively. Because you need to register a separate listener for mouse events, you no longer have the problem of distinguishing between mouse events and slider events. An adjustment listener will never receive mouse events.

public void addAdjustmentListener(AdjustmentListener listener) (New)

The addAdjustmentListener() method registers listener as an object interested in being notified when an AdjustmentEvent passes through the EventQueue with this Scrollbar as its target. The method listener.adjustmentValueChanged() is called when an event occurs. Multiple listeners can be registered.

public void removeAdjustmentListener(ItemListener listener) (New)

The removeAdjustmentListener() method removes listener as a interested listener. If listener is not registered, nothing happens.

protected void processEvent(AWTEvent e) (New)

The processEvent() method receives every AWTEvent with this Scrollbar as its target. processEvent() then passes it along to any listeners for processing. When you subclass Scrollbar, overriding processEvent() allows you to process all events yourself, before sending them to any listeners. In a way, overriding processEvent() is like overriding handleEvent() using the 1.0 event model.

If you override the processEvent() method, remember to call the super.processEvent(e) method last to ensure that regular event processing can occur. If you want to process your own events, it's a good idea to call enableEvents() (inherited from Component) to ensure that events are delivered even in the absence of registered listeners.

protected void processAdjustmentEvent(ItemEvent e) (New)

The processAdjustmentEvent() method receives all AdjustmentEvents with this Scrollbar as its target. processAdjustmentEvent() then passes them along to any listeners for processing. When you subclass Scrollbar, overriding processAdjustmentEvent() allows you to process all events yourself, before sending them to any listeners.

If you override processAdjustmentEvent(), you must remember to call super.processAdjustmentEvent(e) last to ensure that regular event processing can occur. If you want to process your own events, it's a good idea to call enableEvents() (inherited from Component) to ensure that events are delivered even in the absence of registered listeners.


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