Thoughts on Dialogs and Lightboxes

Jonathan Giles jonathan.giles at
Mon Apr 2 13:24:24 PDT 2012

I'm coming to this discussion late as I've been travelling - sorry about 
that. As Dan mentions, I have a JOptionPane-esque API already. For those 
with access to rt-closed, it is in toys/dialogs. It is basically a fork 
of the JavaFX security dialog you may have seen elsewhere, with API 
similar to what you'd see in JOptionPane, and a whole lot of unnecessary 
code ripped out. It is fairly well developed and quite a long way along, 
and certainly usable. I have been pushing the relevant people to include 
this in a release, or at least the same concept of this, but as of yet I 
have not had success. This is most probably just due to the fact that 
there are more important fish to fry, and as Artem notes, the API is all 
there to make a modal window, and there is impl_ API (which you should 
never use!) to make a stage blocking.

I have not done any work along the sheet approach, as this requires 
further support in the glass API, and this is where Artem would step in.

-- Jonathan

On 2/04/2012 8:03 p.m., Artem Ananiev wrote:
> Hi, Daniel,
> On 3/31/2012 7:50 AM, Daniel Zwolenski wrote:
>> I'm curious what the plans are for Dialogs in JavaFX. I assume they 
>> are on the roadmap?
> both dialogs (owned windows) and modality are already there:
> javafx.stage.Stage#initOwner()
> javafx.stage.Stage#initModality()
>> I notice hints of this from Jonathon here: 
> This issue is about having the Alert class, which is similar to 
> Swing's JOptionPane, Windows' MessageBox and similar dialogs in other 
> UI toolkits. You can implement it yourself, however this functionality 
> is common enough to be a standard JFX class.
>> But I see the request is as yet unresolved.
>> The reason I ask is because I've had to implement my own 'Lightbox' 
>> framework for my last project and I'm wondering if some part of this 
>> or something similar should be in JFX. I know a lot of people on the 
>> forums have been looking for classic dialog support from JFX.
>> If you don't know already, a Lightbox is the web's answer to Dialogs, 
>> where a dialog-like pane is layered on top of the main content with a 
>> semi-transparent glass pane making it basically modal. The dialog is 
>> still within the main browser window, so it's not a true Popup but to 
>> the user is much the same.
>> The end result looks like this:
> This is a screenshot with Mac OS X "sheet", which is not what is 
> usually referred to as "Dialog". It's not a separate top-level window. 
> Other platforms don't have built-in support for such UI elements.
>> It is quite easy to implement this in JFX using a StackPane as the 
>> base. The simple API is just to have some kind of LightboxPane (or 
>> RootPane, etc) that extends StackPane and includes a method like:
>>     showInLightbox(Node node)
>> This then adds a 'glass pane' to the top of the Stack to dim out the 
>> content, and then adds the node to this glass pane. The node's 
>> visibility could be tracked to determine when to remove the glass 
>> pane, etc.
>> The API can be extended beyond this simple setup quite drastically to 
>> include things like decorated boxes (title bar, close button, resize 
>> edges, etc), animated entry/exit, and 'dialog options' such as ok, 
>> cancel (ie JOptionPane like functions).
>> My stuff needs cleaning up but I was planning to eventually roll my 
>> framework into JFX Flow. If it's on the JFX roadmap anyway, better 
>> not to, or at least I'd like the API to mirror JFX Dialogs if possible.
>> Thoughts and comments?
> If you're asking about support for Mac OS X "sheets", please, file a 
> separate JIRA issue about this (I don't know if we already have this 
> request in FX bug database), as it is completely separate from RT-12643.
> Thanks,
> Artem

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