<AWT Dev> Lw/Hw mixing vs revalidate()/validate()/invalidate()

Christopher Deckers chrriis at gmail.com
Sat Jun 20 06:52:08 PDT 2009

Hi all,

I was trying out the new Lw/Hw mixing capabilities and I found a big
issue with it: for performance reasons, it does not calculate the
shapes of native components when the hierarchy is not valid.

The solution is not as simple as ensuring that the hierarchy is valid.
Let me explain.
I have a JFrame, with a JSplitPane, which contains a panel, to which I
dynamically remove and add some content to basically change one side
of the split pane. That panel may contain a native component. The way
I do it is:

The invalidation will bubble up to the window ancestor but the
validation will only be done from the split pane, because it is a
validate root. This means that if someNewContent has a native
component in its hierarchy, its Lw/Hw clip will not be set.
In this example, the hierarchy does not obey the contract to be valid,
but it does not need to: nothing has changed in the parent hierarchy
of the split pane (no layout to recompute), and nothing was added or

For me, it is unclear whether the fix should be in AWT or Swing code.
Originally after some discussions, we ended up with:
but I am not convinced it is the right approach now.

This issue is very important when integrating native components. A lot
of applications have this type of behavior (like a selection in a tree
shows various panels on the right side) and these dynamic additions do
not necessarily know whether a native component is present (using
component factories, 3rd party libraries, etc). This means the Lw/Hw
mixing won't work in many Swing applications and developers will have
a hard time understanding the reason.

I can think of several fixes, though there may be other ways:
1. Have an invalid flag and an invalidForHwMixing flag. A call to
invalidate() would set both up the hierarchy until a validate root is
reach, then only the invalid flag would be set up until the root
window. A call to validate would of course clear both. The clip
algorithm would consider this invalidForHwMixing flag instead of the
invalid flag.

2. Make it so that revalidate does not mark the ancestors of the
validate root invalid. I wonder if this is a sensible approach though.

3. Do not take the invalid flag into consideration for the Lw/Hw clip,
but defer and aggregate (coalesce) shape calculations requests. This
may not seem as nice, but this is the approach I took in my native
integration project [1] as I am outside the JRE.

Note that I CC the AWT list.


[1] DJ Native Swing: http://djproject.sourceforge.net/ns/ - 0.9.9
preview on SourceForge works with 6u14 by deactivating Sun's mixing.

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