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Part III: The Components of the Java Foundation Classes
7: Windows and Panes
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7: Windows and Panes

A window is a user interface element and container that designers use to organize the information that users see in an application. The information in a window consists of objects (and their properties) that enable users to perform actions or to report information about actions . Primary windows, secondary windows, utility windows, and plain windows provide the top-level containers for your application. A primary window is a window in which the user's main interaction with the data or document takes place. An application can use any number of primary windows, which can be opened, closed, minimized, or resized independently. A secondary window is a supportive window that is dependent on a primary window (or another secondary window). A utility window is a window whose contents affect an active primary window. Unlike secondary windows, utility windows remain open when primary windows are closed or minimized. An example of a utility window is a tool palette that is used to select a graphic tool. A plain window is a window with no title bar or window controls, typically used for splash screens.

Figure 85   Primary, Utility, Plain, and Secondary Windows


Primary, Utility, Plain, and Secondary Windows

Panels, panes, and internal windows are lower-level containers for use within primary and secondary windows. A panel is a container for organizing the contents of a window, dialog box, or applet. A pane is a collective term for scroll panes, split panes, and tabbed panes, which are described in this chapter. (You can place panels in panes or panes in panels.) An internal window is a container used in MDI applications to create windows that users cannot drag outside of the main backing window.

Figure 86   Scroll Pane, Tabbed Pane, Split Pane, and Internal Window


Scroll Pane, Tabbed Pane, Split Pane, and Internal Window

When you begin to organize the information in an application, ask yourself these questions:

  • Should information appear in a primary window or a secondary window?
  • Which information goes in which kind of window?
  • How are different kinds of windows titled?

This chapter uses the concept of an object, an entity your application presents in its interface and that users manipulate. While an object can be logical to the user, it might have little relationship to the implementation of the application. Objects have properties or sets of values that users can view or change. Objects also have actions or operations that can be performed on them.

Objects might be documents, the computers that an application monitors, or even log entries--for example, a word processor works with documents, chapters, and paragraphs. A mail program works with mail servers, mailboxes, and mail messages.

Anatomy of a Primary Window

Primary windows act as top-level containers for the user interface elements that appear inside them. A primary window might hold a series of embedded containers. For example, a primary window in your application could have this organization:

  • The window frame contains a menu bar and a panel
  • The menu bar contains menus
  • The panel contains a toolbar and a scroll pane and scrollbar
  • The toolbar contains toolbar buttons
  • The scroll pane contains an editor pane with a plug-in editor kit for styled text

Figure 87   Components Contained in a Primary Window


Primary Window Components

Note the appearance of the embedded containers in an actual primary window and their relationship to the underlying structure, as shown in Figure 88.

Figure 88   Anatomy of a Primary Window


Primary Window Anatomy

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines, second edition.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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