Handling Enter key presses on Buttons in JavaFX

Michael Berry berry120 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 22:03:47 UTC 2016

I can't comment on behalf of the Mac guys, but certainly from a Windows
perspective I find the current behaviour confusing - I would ideally expect
the enter key to fire the focused button, and the "default" button would
get fired by default purely because it is the one first selected (as oppose
to it being universally tied to the enter key.)

Of course, there's always the potential that it may confuse existing users,
but IMO keeping the same behaviour would probably confuse more users in the
long run! So yes, I'd say it's the right thing to do.

In any case, a command line option could be introduced to force behaviour
one way or the other for those that really need it to always be the same on
each platform - but from my perspective this does seem somewhat overkill.



On 7 June 2016 at 22:47, Jonathan Giles <jonathan.giles at oracle.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> One thing I've been looking into recently is the issue of what the Enter
> key should do when it is pushed with regards to buttons in a UI where one
> of those buttons is a 'default' button. There are number of Jira issues on
> this topic, and I wanted to poll the community to understand its opinions.
> The current situation is that the Enter key does not fire the focused
> Button. The Enter key is reserved for firing the 'default' Button in the UI
> (i.e. if someone has created a Button instance with the default property
> set to true). A default button is rendered slightly differently (in Modena
> it is blue for example). To fire the focused Button, the user must press
> the Space key.
> Tom Schindl filed a bug (JDK-8139510) that is a good example of the
> 'problem' this creates. In the bug report, a dialog is shown to the user.
> In the dialog is an OK button and a Cancel button. The OK button has been
> made the 'default' button. Regardless of which button has focus, the Enter
> key always fires the OK button. The only way to fire the Cancel button is
> via the Space key. This can be very confusing for users who have tabbed
> specifically to the 'Cancel' button and then pressed the Enter key, only to
> find they unwittingly fired the 'OK' action.
> To me this has always been a little counter-intuitive, because of my
> heritage as a long-time Windows user. I believe Linux is much the same as
> Windows. For others who grew up on Mac, I'm less sure on what people expect
> (but it seems to be that the Enter key fires the default button, not the
> focused button, i.e. JavaFX current behavior matches what is expected on OS
> X).
> What I'm proposing we do is to change the behavior as follows:
> 1) On OS X we do not change behavior at all - we keep the current 'Enter
> means default' and 'Space means focus' semantics.
> 2) On non-OS X platforms, we change the behavior so that Enter (and Space)
> will fire the _focused_ key, if one is focused. If no Button is focused
> (e.g. focus is in a TextField, etc), then Enter will work as it currently
> does and fire the default button, if one is specified. In short, default
> buttons will still be rendered blue to hint to the user that they are the
> default button, but they will be less prevalently fired by Enter key
> presses - only when they also have focus.
> The two questions that I have are:
> 1) Will this confuse users when there is a behavior change (and
> presumably, this change will be made in JDK 9 and not backported to JDK 8).
> If it will confuse users, is it still the right thing to do?
> 2) Do we want to have different behaviors for OS X and non-OS X? I'm a
> newly inducted member into the cult of Mac, and I don't yet have all my
> bearings sorted out, so I don't have a strong opinion here.
> Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
> -- Jonathan



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