Supporting the Mac OS menubar in JavaFX

Richard Bair richard.bair at
Fri Dec 9 17:57:22 PST 2011

Ya, that's the bummer. We exactly designed the menus for the exact usage Jim describes, but didn't put them in a suitable package for modularization. Drat!!!

On Dec 9, 2011, at 4:38 PM, Jonathan Giles wrote:

> Just as a further data point to what Jim is saying: the javafx.scene.control.Menu* classes (MenuItem, and subclasses Menu, RadioMenuItem, CheckMenuItem, CustomMenuItem and SeparatorMenuItem) are not actually Controls. The only Menu* class that is a Control is MenuBar.
> From this perspective, it is actually unfortunate that these non-Control classes actually live in javafx-ui-control, as they may be totally suitable in the abstract sense that Jim discusses.
> -- 
> -- Jonathan
> On Saturday, 10 December 2011 10:19:00 a.m., Jim Graham wrote:
>> If this was simply a skinning technique of "moving the Stage's menubar
>> to the screen's menubar" that works if you have a window open, but it
>> doesn't solve the problem of what happens when you have no windows
>> open when Mac applications typically still manifest menus in the
>> screen menubar.
>> Sticking a "separate but equal" menubar somewhere would lead to
>> applications failing to look like native Mac apps until the developers
>> are made aware of the issues and require "extra" coding to deal with
>> Mac deployment.
>> If we could provide a way to specify:
>> - Here are the menubar items that apply to all windows.
>> - Here are the additional menubar items that apply to a specific window.
>> - To be most flexible, the "additional items" might have to be
>> additional items in the top-level menus that were specified for all
>> windows
>> - Would there also be a need to specify "but not these items" for some
>> windows to delete some items that only make sense when no windows are
>> open?
>> Then it would be both an API for letting the runtime know which
>> menubar items should remain after the last window closes on Mac, and a
>> way to be able to populate lots of window menubars when an application
>> has multiple windows.
>> The actual manifestation of the menubar would be a control, but the
>> specification of what items are needed could be in an independent
>> format that doesn't bring in a whole new package. We could create
>> skeleton "menu-ish-bar-ish-item" classes in the application package
>> and those could be the data that the Menu* controls take, but one
>> could attach a list of those to an Application object without having
>> Application depend on controls. A Stage could then take an additional
>> list and combine it with the list on the Application to make the full
>> menu bar list which is then skinned by the controls.
>> When no windows are open, then the Mac-specific application could
>> still skin them in a native skin and deploy them on the screen
>> menubar, or have a hidden dependency on the controls for that platform
>> only.
>> That's a fairly loose conceptual hand-waving outline, but maybe it
>> could dislodge a more concrete design from someone more familiar with
>> how all of those objects interact?
>> ...jim
>> On 12/9/2011 3:46 PM, steve.x.northover at wrote:
>>> Many toolkits have supported portabilitly between Mac and Windows (and
>>> other operating systems that put the menu bar in the window) by swapping
>>> the menu bar on stage focus in and out. This is what SWT does. Recently,
>>> an app wide menu bar was added to support the Mac.
>>> Steve
>>> On 09/12/2011 6:34 PM, Tom Schindl wrote:
>>>> [...]
>>>>> Another place to specify a MenuBar would be on Stage, rather than
>>>>> (or in
>>>>> addition to), Application. Having a MenuBar property on Stage would
>>>>> allow for the MenuBar to change based on the currently focused Stage -
>>>>> but I'm not certain this is desirable or even the expected
>>>>> behaviour of
>>>>> Mac OS. Therefore, I'm thinking that this is not likely to happen
>>>>> unless
>>>>> we hear otherwise.
>>>> Well the menu changes definately based upon the focused top-level
>>>> window. So I'm quite sure the MenuBar has to be specified on the Stage
>>>> not?
>>>> I'm wondering though how you'd like to support all the themeing stuff
>>>> one is able to apply on menus/menuitems on OS-X.
>>>> IIRC I recently read in a mail from Mike Swingler that one can
>>>> implement
>>>> arbitary Java Drawing post-Leopard but I'm not sure that matches the
>>>> OS-X Menubar idea and all the fancy things one can do with JavaFX.
>>>> Tom

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