Both GTK and Windows look and feels were enhanced and improved by taking advantage of native rendering engines. All Swing components appear in accordance with the underlying platform's look and feel, provide appropriate feedback and have the correct size.
An abstract class
javax.swing.SwingWorker was added to the JDK. The
SwingWorker class enables a long-running task to be
executed on a background thread. A subclass of
SwingWorker must implement the
doInBackground() method, which performs the
background computation. While the background task is being
executed, the event dispatch thread processes events and provides
any necessary updates to the UI. The
supports intermediate results. The background task can invoke the
publish method, which sends partial data to the
process method for processing on the event
dispatch thread. In addition, the
supports property change listeners. Any change of a property
triggers an event, which invokes event-handling methods on the
event dispatch thread.
The use of the SwingWorker is recommended to accomplish time-consuming tasks. For details, see the Concurrency in Swing section of the Swing tutorial.
Several new methods of the javax.swing.JTextComponent class provide printing support for text documents. Supported formats include HTML, RTF, and plain text. The new API allows you to print the entire contents of a text component regardless of whether the component is visible or not. Features include printing interactively or non-interactively, displaying a print dialog, adding custom headers or footers, and automatic layout and pagination. The document content is formatted to fit the page size.
The new API includes the following methods:
To provide sorting and filtering capabilities, several new
classes were added to the JDK. The basis for sorting and filtering
is provided by the abstract RowSorter
DefaultRowSorter class is an implementation of the
RowSorter class that deals with grid-based models. The
TableRowSorter class was added to the
javax.swing.table package as an implementation of the
RowSorter class for JTables. The
TableRowSorter class enables you to specify different
Comparators and also provides a filtering option.
For details, see the How to Use Tables section of the Swing tutorial.
The new API is intended for developers who write layout managers and includes the following two features: an ability to get the baseline for components and an ability to get the preferred spacing between components.
Professional layouts typically align components along their baseline. Previously, Swing provided no means to get the baseline of components. As a solution to this problem, the getBaseline(int,int) and getBaselineResizeBehavior() methods were added to the javax.swing.JComponent class to get the baseline and the baseline behavior when a component's size changes.
Each look and feel provides different guidelines regarding how
far components should be placed from each other. In order to create
a cross platform look and feel there should be an API for getting
this information. As a solution, the
javax.swing.LayoutStyle class was added. Layout managers can
use this class to determine the preferred amount of space to place
between components. Look and feel authors can provide a custom
LayoutStyle by overriding the
of the look and feel.
Prior to release 6, the content of a tabbed pane's tab was limited to a string or an icon (or both). The new API allows you to add custom components to tabs. The most common use of this feature is to add close buttons that remove tabs from tabbed panes. The following new methods were added to the javax.swing.JTabbedPane class:
For details, see the How to Use Tabbed Panes section of the Swing tutorial.
Each window has an off-screen image that is synchronised with the corresponding on-screen image. As a window is exposed, its off-screen image is directly copied on the toolkit thread to the screen. Another benefit applies to applications that block the event dispatch thread. If a user hides and then exposes an application window, the application still paints while the EDT is being blocked.
In addition, the
RepaintManager class now handles painting for Swing top-level
JDialog) and supports new
painting architecture based on a component's location in the
window. The following new methods were added to the
All Swing top-level components override the
method, which calls the appropriate
class now overrides the
which defines whether this component should use a buffer for
painting or not.
GroupLayout layout manager was added to the
javax.swing package. This layout was developed for the
GUI builder provided with the NetBeans IDE. The
GroupLayout is primarily intended for use by GUI
builders but may be hand-coded as well.
For details, see the How to Use GroupLayout section of the Swing tutorial.
Two major enhancements were introduced to the Drag and Drop feature in release 6.
First, the Drag and Drop operation can be configured not to use
a selection for showing a drop location (refer to the Bug Database,
bug ID 4468566.) The
new mechanism introduces the DropMode
property for components that support drops such as
DropMode property is
used to determine the mode by which a component tracks and
indicates a drop location. To set this property for a component,
setDropMode(DropMode) method was added to the
component's class for each component mentioned above. Listed below
are available drop modes and the components that support them:
For backward compatibility the default value of this property is
USE_SELECTION. To take advantage of the
improved Drag and Drop feature, use one of the other drop modes
The second enhancement involves the
class with regard to handling drop operations. Previously, the
TransferHandler class was unable to accomplish common
drop-related tasks since import handling methods lacked necessary
information. The new
TransferHandler.TransferSupport inner class provides details on
every transfer operation.
New overloaded versions of the
importData methods were added to the
TransferHandler class. These methods take an instance
TransferSupport class and thus allow developers
to accept or reject transfers based on the details of the transfer.
Developers can also customize drop behavior based on a
Transferable, a drop location, or a drop action
associated with a transfer retrieved from the
TransferSupport instance. For example, the new
canImport method can be implemented to detect an
attempt to move data from a child to its parent and reject such a
transfer. Unlike previous versions, the
method is called continuously by a component's
TransferHandler, while a drag and drop operation takes
place over the component. This feature provides the mechanism by
which the acceptability of a transfer can be changed many times
during the operation. For backward compatibility, the old version
canImport method is called by the new version
Another improvement includes addition of TransferHandler support
to top-level components. This support is provided by means of the
methods added to the class of each top-level component
Previously users had to make a selection first and then click the selected item again to initiate a drag operation. Now a drag operation is initiated with a single mouse click (refer to the Bug Database, bug ID 4521075.)
For details, see the Drag and Drop and Data Transfer section of the Swing tutorial.
Nimbus, a cross platform look and feel introduced in the Java SE 6 update 10 release, is drawn with 2D vector graphics and can be rendered at any resolution. See Nimbus Look and Feel for more information.
ButtonGroup class is used to create a
multiple-exclusion scope for a set of buttons. Initially all
buttons in a group are unselected. Previously there was no way to
return to the unselected state after selecting a button. Now the
clearSelection method allows developers to clear the selection
so that none of the buttons in the group are selected.
The following constants were added to the Action interface.
hideActionTextproperty determines whether a button displays the text from the
Action. To set and get this property, the following new methods were added to the
AbstractButtonclass: setHideActionText(boolean) and getHideActionText() correspondingly.
JDialog d = new JDialog((Dialog)null);
Swing only allowed you to pass
null to the
JDialog d = new JDialog((Frame)null);
In the latter case an invisible shared-owner frame was a parent for all parentless JDialogs.
With the new
Modality model added to the JDK 6, AWT allows creation of truly
parentless dialogs. This means that
null for these dialogs. To make use of new
modality API, JDialogs also need to be truly parentless (refer to
the Bug Database, bug ID 6300062.)
New constructors with a
Window parameter as an
owner were added to the
JDialog class and a new method
was added to the
JOptionPane class. To create a
parentless JDialog, you can now pass
null to either of
JDialog(Window). To create a parentless JOptionPane,
As a summary, have a look at the three constuctors below:
JDialog d = new JDialog((Dialog)null);
JDialog d = new JDialog((Window)null);
JDialog d = new JDialog((Frame)null);
Note the difference: although all three constructors take
null, only the first two dialogs are truly parentless
and the operation
null for them. For the third dialog
d.getParent() returns the shared-owner frame.