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Chapter 2. (Introduction) Swing Mechanics. Easy for reading, Click here!

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Chapter 2. (Introduction) Swing Mechanics. Easy for reading, Click here!

[ Return to Swing (Book) ]

Page: 4/14 



Previous Page Previous Page (3/14) - Next Page (5/14) Next Page
Subpages: 1. JComponent properties, size, and positioning 
2.  Event handling and dispatching 
3. Multithreading
4. Timers
5. AppContext service
6. Inside Timers & the TimerQueue
7. JavaBeans architecture
8. Fonts, Colors, Graphics and text
9. Using the Graphics clipping area
10. Graphics debugging
11. Painting and validation
12. Focus Management
13. Keyboard input, KeyStrokes, and Actions
14. SwingUtilities

2.4    Timers

class javax.swing.Timer

You can think of the Timer as a unique thread conveniently provided by Swing to fire ActionEvents at specified intervals (although this is not exactly how a Timer works internally, as we will see in section 2.6). ActionListeners can be registered to received these events just as we register them on buttons, and other components. To create a simple Timer that fires ActionEvents every second we can do something like the following:

import java.awt.event.*;

import javax.swing.*;

class TimerTest

{

  public TimerTest() {

    ActionListener act = new ActionListener() {

      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

        System.out.println("Swing is powerful!!");

      }

    };

    Timer tim = new Timer(1000, act);

    tim.start();

    while(true) {};

  }

  public static void main( String args[] ) {

    new TimerTest();

  }

}

First we set up an ActionListener to receive ActionEvents. Then we built a new Timer passing the time in milliseconds between events, the delay, and an ActionListener to send them to. Finally we call the Timer's start() method to turn it on. Since there is no GUI running for us the program will immediately exit, so we set up a loop to let the Timer continue to do its job indefinitely (we will explain why this is necessary in section 2.6).

When you run this code you will see "Swing is powerful!!" sent to standard output every second. Note that the Timer does not fire an event right when it is started. This is because its initial delay time defaults to the delay time passed to the constructor. If we want the Timer to fire an event right when it is started we would set the initial delay time to 0 using its setInitialDelay() method.

At any point we can call stop() to stop the Timer and start() to restart it (start() does nothing if it is already running). We can call restart() on a Timer to start the whole process over. The restart() method is just a shortcut way to call stop() and start() sequentually.

We can set a Timer's delay using the setDelay() method and tell it whether to repeat or not using the setRepeats() method. Once a Timer has been set to non-repeating it will fire only one action when started (or if it is currently running), and then it will stop.

The setCoalesce() method allows several Timer event postings to be combined (coalesced) into one. This can be useful under heavy loads when the TimerQueue (see below) thread doesn't have enough processing time to handle all its Timers.

Timers are easy to use and can often be used as convenient replacements for building our own threads. However, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that deserves a bit of revealing. Before we are ready to look at how Timers work under the hood, we'll take a look at Swing's SecurityContext-to-AppContext service class mapping for applets, as well as how applications manage their service classes (also using AppContext). If you are not curious about how Swing manages the sharing of service classes behind the scenes, you will want to skip the next section. Although we will refer to AppContext from time to time, it is by no means necessary to understand the details.



[ Return to Swing (Book) ]


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