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Java in a Nutshell

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New AWT Features

8.2 Popup Menus and Menu Shortcuts

In Java 1.1, the AWT has some welcome new menuing features. As you can see from Figure 8.1, popup menus (and submenus) are now supported by the AWT. Not shown in the figure, but also supported, are keyboard menu shortcuts, which in this example are attached to the menu items in the pulldown menu.

Popup menus are represented by the PopupMenu class. PopupMenu is a subclass of Menu and is used very much like a Menu pane is. To create a popup menu, create a PopupMenu, and add MenuItem objects to it, just as you would do with a regular menu pane. Instead of adding a popup menu to a menubar, however, you must add it to the component over which it pops up. You do this with the add() method of the target component. As part of the addition of popup menus in Java 1.1, a new add() method has been added to the Component class. This new version of add() accepts a single PopupMenu argument.

Here's a fragment of the Scribble() constructor in Example 8.1 that creates a popup menu and adds it to a component:

// Create the popup menu using a loop.  Note the separation of menu
// "action command" string from menu label.  Good for internationalization.
String[] labels = new String[] {
  "Clear", "Print", "Save", "Load", "Cut", "Copy", "Paste" };
String[] commands = new String[] {
  "clear", "print", "save", "load", "cut", "copy", "paste" };
popup = new PopupMenu();                   // Create the menu.
for(int i = 0; i < labels.length; i++) {
  MenuItem mi = new MenuItem(labels[i]);   // Create a menu item.
  mi.setActionCommand(commands[i]);        // Set its action command.
  mi.addActionListener(this);              // And its action listener.
  popup.add(mi);                           // Add item to the popup menu.
Menu colors = new Menu("Color");           // Create a submenu.
popup.add(colors);                         // And add it to the popup.
String[] colornames = new String[] { "Black", "Red", "Green", "Blue"};
for(int i = 0; i < colornames.length; i++) {
  MenuItem mi = new MenuItem(colornames[i]);  // Create the submenu items
  mi.setActionCommand(colornames[i]);         // in the same way.
// Finally, register the popup menu with the component it appears over.

In addition to creating and registering a popup menu, you must also arrange for it to pop up at the appropriate time. Popup menus are always triggered by mouse events, but the particular "popup trigger" event varies from platform to platform. To hide this platform dependency, the MouseEvent class defines a isPopupTrigger() method that you can use to determine whether a popup menu should be "posted" (i.e., popped up) in response to a given event. To post a menu, call its show() method, specifying the component it should appear over and also the coordinates (from the mouse event) that it should appear at. The processMouseEvent() method of Example 8.1 handles posting the popup menu:

public void processMouseEvent(MouseEvent e) {
  if (e.isPopupTrigger())                               // If popup trigger,
    popup.show(this, e.getX(), e.getY());               // pop up the menu.
  else if (e.getID() == MouseEvent.MOUSE_PRESSED) {
    last_x = (short)e.getX(); last_y = (short)e.getY(); // Save position.
  else super.processMouseEvent(e);  // Pass other event types on.

Event handling for the menu items in a PopupMenu is the same as it is for pulldown menu items. The simplest technique is to specify the same action listener object for each menu item, but specify a different string as the "action command" for each item. Then, the actionPerformed() method of the listener can dispatch the ActionEvent based on the command string it contains. The actionPerformed() method of the Scribble class in Example 8.1 shows this technique:

public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent event) {
  // Get the "action command" of the event, and dispatch based on that.
  // This method calls a lot of the interesting methods in this class.
  String command = event.getActionCommand();
  if (command.equals("clear")) clear();
  else if (command.equals("print")) print();
  else if (command.equals("save")) save();
  else if (command.equals("load")) load();
  else if (command.equals("cut")) cut();
  else if (command.equals("copy")) copy();
  else if (command.equals("paste")) paste();
  else if (command.equals("Black")) current_color = Color.black;
  else if (command.equals("Red")) current_color = Color.red;
  else if (command.equals("Green")) current_color = Color.green;
  else if (command.equals("Blue")) current_color = Color.blue;

The MenuShortcut class is another important addition to the menu functionality of Java. Any MenuItem object may have a MenuShortcut object specified that allows the user to invoke the menu item with a keyboard command. You create a MenuShortcut object by specifying the key code of the key to act as the shortcut, and, optionally, whether the Shift modifier is required to invoke the shortcut. The key should be specified as one of the VK_ virtual key constants defined by the KeyEvent class. Note that you do not specify any Ctrl, Alt, or Meta modifier for a shortcut. Like the "popup trigger" event, the standard keyboard modifier for menu shortcuts is platform-dependent, so Java hides this from you. Consider the following menu shortcut, for example:

MenuShortcut s = new MenuShortcut(KeyEvent.VK_C);

This shortcut is invoked as Ctrl-C on a Windows platform or by using the special "Command" modifier on a Mac.

The following fragment of the ScribbleFrame() constructor of Example 8.1 creates menu shortcuts and associates them with menu items:

// Create three menu items, with menu shortcuts, and add to the menu.
MenuItem n, c, q;
file.add(n = new MenuItem("New Window", new MenuShortcut(KeyEvent.VK_N)));
file.add(c = new MenuItem("Close Window",new MenuShortcut(KeyEvent.VK_W)));
file.addSeparator();                     // Put a separator in the menu.
file.add(q = new MenuItem("Quit", new MenuShortcut(KeyEvent.VK_Q)));

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