Module java.desktop
Package javax.swing

Interface Action

All Superinterfaces:
ActionListener, EventListener
All Known Implementing Classes:
AbstractAction, BasicDesktopPaneUI.CloseAction, BasicDesktopPaneUI.MaximizeAction, BasicDesktopPaneUI.MinimizeAction, BasicDesktopPaneUI.NavigateAction, BasicDesktopPaneUI.OpenAction, BasicFileChooserUI.ApproveSelectionAction, BasicFileChooserUI.CancelSelectionAction, BasicFileChooserUI.ChangeToParentDirectoryAction, BasicFileChooserUI.GoHomeAction, BasicFileChooserUI.NewFolderAction, BasicFileChooserUI.UpdateAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.CloseAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.IconifyAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.MaximizeAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.MoveAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.RestoreAction, BasicInternalFrameTitlePane.SizeAction, BasicSliderUI.ActionScroller, BasicTreeUI.TreeCancelEditingAction, BasicTreeUI.TreeHomeAction, BasicTreeUI.TreeIncrementAction, BasicTreeUI.TreePageAction, BasicTreeUI.TreeToggleAction, BasicTreeUI.TreeTraverseAction, DefaultEditorKit.BeepAction, DefaultEditorKit.CopyAction, DefaultEditorKit.CutAction, DefaultEditorKit.DefaultKeyTypedAction, DefaultEditorKit.InsertBreakAction, DefaultEditorKit.InsertContentAction, DefaultEditorKit.InsertTabAction, DefaultEditorKit.PasteAction, HTMLEditorKit.HTMLTextAction, HTMLEditorKit.InsertHTMLTextAction, MetalFileChooserUI.DirectoryComboBoxAction, StyledEditorKit.AlignmentAction, StyledEditorKit.BoldAction, StyledEditorKit.FontFamilyAction, StyledEditorKit.FontSizeAction, StyledEditorKit.ForegroundAction, StyledEditorKit.ItalicAction, StyledEditorKit.StyledTextAction, StyledEditorKit.UnderlineAction, TextAction

public interface Action extends ActionListener
The Action interface provides a useful extension to the ActionListener interface in cases where the same functionality may be accessed by several controls.

In addition to the actionPerformed method defined by the ActionListener interface, this interface allows the application to define, in a single place:

  • One or more text strings that describe the function. These strings can be used, for example, to display the flyover text for a button or to set the text in a menu item.
  • One or more icons that depict the function. These icons can be used for the images in a menu control, or for composite entries in a more sophisticated user interface.
  • The enabled/disabled state of the functionality. Instead of having to separately disable the menu item and the toolbar button, the application can disable the function that implements this interface. All components which are registered as listeners for the state change then know to disable event generation for that item and to modify the display accordingly.

This interface can be added to an existing class or used to create an adapter (typically, by subclassing AbstractAction). The Action object can then be added to multiple Action-aware containers and connected to Action-capable components. The GUI controls can then be activated or deactivated all at once by invoking the Action object's setEnabled method.

Note that Action implementations tend to be more expensive in terms of storage than a typical ActionListener, which does not offer the benefits of centralized control of functionality and broadcast of property changes. For this reason, you should take care to only use Actions where their benefits are desired, and use simple ActionListeners elsewhere.

Swing Components Supporting Action

Many of Swing's components have an Action property. When an Action is set on a component, the following things happen:

  • The Action is added as an ActionListener to the component.
  • The component configures some of its properties to match the Action.
  • The component installs a PropertyChangeListener on the Action so that the component can change its properties to reflect changes in the Action's properties.

The following table describes the properties used by Swing components that support Actions. In the table, button refers to any AbstractButton subclass, which includes not only JButton but also classes such as JMenuItem. Unless otherwise stated, a null property value in an Action (or a Action that is null) results in the button's corresponding property being set to null.

Supported Action properties
Component Property Components Action Key Notes
enabled All The isEnabled method  
toolTipText All SHORT_DESCRIPTION  
actionCommand All ACTION_COMMAND_KEY  
mnemonic All buttons MNEMONIC_KEY A null value or Action results in the button's mnemonic property being set to '\0'.
text All buttons NAME If you do not want the text of the button to mirror that of the Action, set the property hideActionText to true. If hideActionText is true, setting the Action changes the text of the button to null and any changes to NAME are ignored. hideActionText is useful for tool bar buttons that typically only show an Icon. JToolBar.add(Action) sets the property to true if the Action has a non-null value for LARGE_ICON_KEY or SMALL_ICON.
displayedMnemonicIndex All buttons DISPLAYED_MNEMONIC_INDEX_KEY If the value of DISPLAYED_MNEMONIC_INDEX_KEY is beyond the bounds of the text, it is ignored. When setAction is called, if the value from the Action is null, the displayed mnemonic index is not updated. In any subsequent changes to DISPLAYED_MNEMONIC_INDEX_KEY, null is treated as -1.
icon All buttons except of JCheckBox, JToggleButton and JRadioButton. either LARGE_ICON_KEY or SMALL_ICON The JMenuItem subclasses only use SMALL_ICON. All other buttons will use LARGE_ICON_KEY; if the value is null they use SMALL_ICON.
accelerator All JMenuItem subclasses, with the exception of JMenu. ACCELERATOR_KEY  
selected JToggleButton, JCheckBox, JRadioButton, JCheckBoxMenuItem and JRadioButtonMenuItem SELECTED_KEY Components that honor this property only use the value if it is non-null. For example, if you set an Action that has a null value for SELECTED_KEY on a JToggleButton, the JToggleButton will not update it's selected state in any way. Similarly, any time the JToggleButton's selected state changes it will only set the value back on the Action if the Action has a non-null value for SELECTED_KEY.
Components that honor this property keep their selected state in sync with this property. When the same Action is used with multiple components, all the components keep their selected state in sync with this property. Mutually exclusive buttons, such as JToggleButtons in a ButtonGroup, force only one of the buttons to be selected. As such, do not use the same Action that defines a value for the SELECTED_KEY property with multiple mutually exclusive buttons.

JPopupMenu, JToolBar and JMenu all provide convenience methods for creating a component and setting the Action on the corresponding component. Refer to each of these classes for more information.

Action uses PropertyChangeListener to inform listeners the Action has changed. The beans specification indicates that a null property name can be used to indicate multiple values have changed. By default Swing components that take an Action do not handle such a change. To indicate that Swing should treat null according to the beans specification set the system property swing.actions.reconfigureOnNull to the String value true.

Since:
1.2
See Also:
AbstractAction
  • Field Summary

    Fields
    Modifier and Type
    Field
    Description
    static final String
    The key used for storing a KeyStroke to be used as the accelerator for the action.
    static final String
    The key used to determine the command String for the ActionEvent that will be created when an Action is going to be notified as the result of residing in a Keymap associated with a JComponent.
    static final String
    Not currently used.
    static final String
    The key used for storing an Integer that corresponds to the index in the text (identified by the NAME property) that the decoration for a mnemonic should be rendered at.
    static final String
    The key used for storing an Icon.
    static final String
    The key used for storing a longer String description for the action, could be used for context-sensitive help.
    static final String
    The key used for storing an Integer that corresponds to one of the KeyEvent key codes.
    static final String
    The key used for storing the String name for the action, used for a menu or button.
    static final String
    The key used for storing a Boolean that corresponds to the selected state.
    static final String
    The key used for storing a short String description for the action, used for tooltip text.
    static final String
    The key used for storing a small Icon, such as ImageIcon.
  • Method Summary

    Modifier and Type
    Method
    Description
    default boolean
    accept​(Object sender)
    Determines whether the action should be performed with the specified sender object.
    void
    Adds a PropertyChange listener.
    getValue​(String key)
    Gets one of this object's properties using the associated key.
    boolean
    Returns the enabled state of the Action.
    void
    putValue​(String key, Object value)
    Sets one of this object's properties using the associated key.
    void
    Removes a PropertyChange listener.
    void
    setEnabled​(boolean b)
    Sets the enabled state of the Action.

    Methods declared in interface java.awt.event.ActionListener

    actionPerformed
  • Field Details

    • DEFAULT

      static final String DEFAULT
      Not currently used.
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • NAME

      static final String NAME
      The key used for storing the String name for the action, used for a menu or button.
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • SHORT_DESCRIPTION

      static final String SHORT_DESCRIPTION
      The key used for storing a short String description for the action, used for tooltip text.
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • LONG_DESCRIPTION

      static final String LONG_DESCRIPTION
      The key used for storing a longer String description for the action, could be used for context-sensitive help.
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • SMALL_ICON

      static final String SMALL_ICON
      The key used for storing a small Icon, such as ImageIcon. This is typically used with menus such as JMenuItem.

      If the same Action is used with menus and buttons you'll typically specify both a SMALL_ICON and a LARGE_ICON_KEY. The menu will use the SMALL_ICON and the button will use the LARGE_ICON_KEY.

      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • ACTION_COMMAND_KEY

      static final String ACTION_COMMAND_KEY
      The key used to determine the command String for the ActionEvent that will be created when an Action is going to be notified as the result of residing in a Keymap associated with a JComponent.
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • ACCELERATOR_KEY

      static final String ACCELERATOR_KEY
      The key used for storing a KeyStroke to be used as the accelerator for the action.
      Since:
      1.3
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • MNEMONIC_KEY

      static final String MNEMONIC_KEY
      The key used for storing an Integer that corresponds to one of the KeyEvent key codes. The value is commonly used to specify a mnemonic. For example: myAction.putValue(Action.MNEMONIC_KEY, KeyEvent.VK_A) sets the mnemonic of myAction to 'a', while myAction.putValue(Action.MNEMONIC_KEY, KeyEvent.getExtendedKeyCodeForChar('ф')) sets the mnemonic of myAction to Cyrillic letter "Ef".
      Since:
      1.3
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • SELECTED_KEY

      static final String SELECTED_KEY
      The key used for storing a Boolean that corresponds to the selected state. This is typically used only for components that have a meaningful selection state. For example, JRadioButton and JCheckBox make use of this but instances of JMenu don't.

      This property differs from the others in that it is both read by the component and set by the component. For example, if an Action is attached to a JCheckBox the selected state of the JCheckBox will be set from that of the Action. If the user clicks on the JCheckBox the selected state of the JCheckBox and the Action will both be updated.

      Note: the value of this field is prefixed with 'Swing' to avoid possible collisions with existing Actions.

      Since:
      1.6
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
    • DISPLAYED_MNEMONIC_INDEX_KEY

      static final String DISPLAYED_MNEMONIC_INDEX_KEY
      The key used for storing an Integer that corresponds to the index in the text (identified by the NAME property) that the decoration for a mnemonic should be rendered at. If the value of this property is greater than or equal to the length of the text, it will treated as -1.

      Note: the value of this field is prefixed with 'Swing' to avoid possible collisions with existing Actions.

      Since:
      1.6
      See Also:
      AbstractButton.setDisplayedMnemonicIndex(int), Constant Field Values
    • LARGE_ICON_KEY

      static final String LARGE_ICON_KEY
      The key used for storing an Icon. This is typically used by buttons, such as JButton and JToggleButton.

      If the same Action is used with menus and buttons you'll typically specify both a SMALL_ICON and a LARGE_ICON_KEY. The menu will use the SMALL_ICON and the button the LARGE_ICON_KEY.

      Note: the value of this field is prefixed with 'Swing' to avoid possible collisions with existing Actions.

      Since:
      1.6
      See Also:
      Constant Field Values
  • Method Details

    • getValue

      Object getValue(String key)
      Gets one of this object's properties using the associated key.
      Parameters:
      key - a String containing the key
      Returns:
      the Object value
      See Also:
      putValue(java.lang.String, java.lang.Object)
    • putValue

      void putValue(String key, Object value)
      Sets one of this object's properties using the associated key. If the value has changed, a PropertyChangeEvent is sent to listeners.
      Parameters:
      key - a String containing the key
      value - an Object value
    • setEnabled

      void setEnabled(boolean b)
      Sets the enabled state of the Action. When enabled, any component associated with this object is active and able to fire this object's actionPerformed method. If the value has changed, a PropertyChangeEvent is sent to listeners.
      Parameters:
      b - true to enable this Action, false to disable it
      See Also:
      accept(java.lang.Object)
    • isEnabled

      boolean isEnabled()
      Returns the enabled state of the Action. When enabled, any component associated with this object is active and able to fire this object's actionPerformed method.
      Returns:
      true if this Action is enabled
      See Also:
      accept(java.lang.Object)
    • accept

      default boolean accept(Object sender)
      Determines whether the action should be performed with the specified sender object. The sender can be null. The method must return false if the action is disabled.
      Parameters:
      sender - the object to check, can be null
      Returns:
      true if the action should be performed with the sender object, must be false if the action is disabled.
      See Also:
      isEnabled(), setEnabled(boolean)
    • addPropertyChangeListener

      void addPropertyChangeListener(PropertyChangeListener listener)
      Adds a PropertyChange listener. Containers and attached components use these methods to register interest in this Action object. When its enabled state or other property changes, the registered listeners are informed of the change.
      Parameters:
      listener - a PropertyChangeListener object
    • removePropertyChangeListener

      void removePropertyChangeListener(PropertyChangeListener listener)
      Removes a PropertyChange listener.
      Parameters:
      listener - a PropertyChangeListener object
      See Also:
      addPropertyChangeListener(java.beans.PropertyChangeListener)