Java TM Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics > Part II: Special Topics > 2: Windows > Overview of Window Types   Previous Next Contents/Index/Search


Overview of Window Types

The Java platform provides the following basic window types:

  • Plain windows
  • Utility windows
  • Primary windows
  • Secondary windows

Figure 2 shows these window types and their subtypes.

Figure 2   Window Types


Table 1 lists each window type and describes its intended use.


Window Type Intended Use

Plain window

Typically, displays a splash screen, which appears briefly in the time between when an application starts and when the application's main window appears.

Utility window

Displays a set of tools (for example, the drawing tools in a graphics program), or enables other user interaction that can affect a primary window.

Primary window

Represents an object or a set of objects. A primary window can have any number of dependent, or secondary, windows. For more information, see Primary Windows.

Secondary window

An alert box or a dialog box:

Alert box--Enables brief interaction with a user--for example, to display error messages or warn of potential problems. For more information, see Alerting Users After an Object's State Changes.

Dialog box--A property window or an action window:


  • Property window--Enables a user to display or set the properties of one or more objects, typically objects in the parent window (which opened the property window). For more information, see Property Windows.


  • Action window--Prompts a user for information needed to perform an action (such as opening a file). The user requested the action from the parent window. Action windows are not for displaying or setting properties of objects. For more information, see Action Windows.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Table 1   Window Types and Intended Use 
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