Follow Techotopia on Twitter

On-line Guides
All Guides
eBook Store
iOS / Android
Linux for Beginners
Office Productivity
Linux Installation
Linux Security
Linux Utilities
Linux Virtualization
Linux Kernel
System/Network Admin
Scripting Languages
Development Tools
Web Development
GUI Toolkits/Desktop
Mail Systems
Eclipse Documentation

How To Guides
General System Admin
Linux Security
Linux Filesystems
Web Servers
Graphics & Desktop
PC Hardware
Problem Solutions
Privacy Policy




Thinking in Java
Prev Contents / Index Next

Dialog Boxes

A dialog box is a window that pops up out of another window. Its purpose is to deal with some specific issue without cluttering the original window with those details. Dialog boxes are heavily used in windowed programming environments, but less frequently used in applets.

To create a dialog box, you inherit from JDialog, which is just another kind of Window, like a JFrame. A JDialog has a layout manager (which defaults to BorderLayout), and you add event listeners to deal with events. One significant difference when the dialog window is closed is that you don’t want to shut down the application. Instead, you release the resources used by the dialog’s window by calling dispose( ). Here’s a very simple example:

// Creating and using Dialog Boxes.
// <applet code=Dialogs width=125 height=75></applet>
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import java.awt.*;
import com.bruceeckel.swing.*;

class MyDialog extends JDialog {
  public MyDialog(JFrame parent) {
    super(parent, "My dialog", true);
    Container cp = getContentPane();
    cp.setLayout(new FlowLayout());
    cp.add(new JLabel("Here is my dialog"));
    JButton ok = new JButton("OK");
    ok.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
        dispose(); // Closes the dialog

public class Dialogs extends JApplet {
  private JButton b1 = new JButton("Dialog Box");
  private MyDialog dlg = new MyDialog(null);
  public void init() {
    b1.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {;
  public static void main(String[] args) { Dialogs(), 125, 75);
} ///:~

Once the JDialog is created, the show( ) method must be called to display and activate it. For the dialog to close, it must call dispose( ).

You’ll see that anything that pops up out of an applet, including dialog boxes, is “untrusted.” That is, you get a warning in the window that’s been popped up. This is because, in concept, it would be possible to fool users into thinking that they’re dealing with a regular native application and to get them to type in their credit card number, which then goes across the Web. An applet is always attached to a Web page and visible within your Web browser, while a dialog box is detached—so theoretically, it’s possible. As a result, it is not so common to see an applet that uses a dialog box.

The following example is more complex; the dialog box is made up of a grid (using GridLayout) of a special kind of button that is defined here as class ToeButton. This button draws a frame around itself and, depending on its state, a blank, an “x,” or an “o” in the middle. It starts out blank, and then depending on whose turn it is, changes to an “x” or an “o.” However, it will also flip back and forth between “x” and “o” when you click on the button. (This makes the tic-tac-toe concept only slightly more annoying than it already is.) In addition, the dialog box can be set up for any number of rows and columns by changing numbers in the main application window.

// Dialog boxes and creating your own components.
// <applet code=TicTacToe width=200 height=100></applet>
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import com.bruceeckel.swing.*;

public class TicTacToe extends JApplet {
  private JTextField
    rows = new JTextField("3"),
    cols = new JTextField("3");
  private static final int BLANK = 0, XX = 1, OO = 2;
  class ToeDialog extends JDialog {
    private int turn = XX; // Start with x's turn
    ToeDialog(int cellsWide, int cellsHigh) {
      setTitle("The game itself");
      Container cp = getContentPane();
      cp.setLayout(new GridLayout(cellsWide, cellsHigh));
      for(int i = 0; i < cellsWide * cellsHigh; i++)
        cp.add(new ToeButton());
      setSize(cellsWide * 50, cellsHigh * 50);
    class ToeButton extends JPanel {
      private int state = BLANK;
      public ToeButton() { addMouseListener(new ML()); }
      public void paintComponent(Graphics g) {
          x1 = 0, y1 = 0,
          x2 = getSize().width - 1,
          y2 = getSize().height - 1;
        g.drawRect(x1, y1, x2, y2);
        x1 = x2/4;
        y1 = y2/4;
        int wide = x2/2, high = y2/2;
        if(state == XX) {
          g.drawLine(x1, y1, x1 + wide, y1 + high);
          g.drawLine(x1, y1 + high, x1 + wide, y1);
        if(state == OO)
          g.drawOval(x1, y1, x1 + wide/2, y1 + high/2);
      class ML extends MouseAdapter {
        public void mousePressed(MouseEvent e) {
          if(state == BLANK) {
            state = turn;
            turn = (turn == XX ? OO : XX);
            state = (state == XX ? OO : XX);
  class BL implements ActionListener {
    public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
      JDialog d = new ToeDialog(
  public void init() {
    JPanel p = new JPanel();
    p.setLayout(new GridLayout(2,2));
    p.add(new JLabel("Rows", JLabel.CENTER));
    p.add(new JLabel("Columns", JLabel.CENTER));
    Container cp = getContentPane();
    cp.add(p, BorderLayout.NORTH);
    JButton b = new JButton("go");
    b.addActionListener(new BL());
    cp.add(b, BorderLayout.SOUTH);
  public static void main(String[] args) { TicTacToe(), 200, 100);
} ///:~

Because statics can only be at the outer level of the class, inner classes cannot have static data or nested classes.

The paintComponent( ) method draws the square around the panel and the “x” or the “o.” This is full of tedious calculations, but it’s straightforward.

A mouse click is captured by the MouseListener, which first checks to see if the panel has anything written on it. If not, the parent window is queried to find out whose turn it is, which establishes the state of the ToeButton. Via the inner class mechanism, the ToeButton then reaches back into the parent and changes the turn. If the button is already displaying an “x” or an “o,” then that is flopped. You can see in these calculations the convenient use of the ternary if-else described in Chapter 3. After a state change, the ToeButton is repainted.

The constructor for ToeDialog is quite simple; It adds into a GridLayout as many buttons as you request, then resizes it for 50 pixels on a side for each button.

TicTacToe sets up the whole application by creating the JTextFields (for inputting the rows and columns of the button grid) and the “go” button with its ActionListener. When the button is pressed, the data in the JTextFields must be fetched, and, since they are in String form, turned into ints using the static Integer.parseInt( ) method.
Thinking in Java
Prev Contents / Index Next

   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire