MonologFX: FLOSS JavaFX Dialogs for the Taking

(UPDATED Nov 10 with simpler button icon API) 

Some time back, I was searching for basic dialog functionality within JavaFX and came up empty. After finding a decent open-source offering on GitHub that almost fit the bill, I began using it...and immediately began thinking of ways to "do it differently."  :-)  Having a weekend to kill, I ended up creating DialogFX and releasing it on GitHub (hecklerm/DialogFX) for anyone who might find it useful. Shortly thereafter, it was incorporated into JFXtras (jfxtras.org) as well.

Today I'm sharing a different, more flexible and capable JavaFX dialog called MonologFX that I've been developing and refining over the past few months. The summary of its progression thus far is pretty well captured in the README.md file I posted with the project on GitHub:

After creating the DialogFX library for JavaFX, I received several suggestions and requests for additional or different functionality, some of which ran counter to the interfaces and/or intent of the DialogFX "way of doing things". Great ideas, but not completely compatible with the existing functionality. Wanting to incorporate these capabilities, I started over...incorporating some parts of DialogFX into the new MonologFX, as I called it, but taking it in a different direction when it seemed sensible to do so.

In the meantime, the OpenJFX team has released dialog code that will be refined and eventually incorporated into JavaFX and OpenJFX. Rather than just scrap the MonologFX code or hoard it, I'm releasing it here on GitHub with the hope that someone may find it useful, interesting, or entertaining. You may never need it, but regardless, MonologFX is there for the taking.

Things of Note

So, what are some features of MonologFX?

  • Four kinds of dialog boxes: ACCEPT (check mark icon), ERROR (red 'x'), INFO (blue "i"), and QUESTION (blue question mark)
  • Button alignment configurable by developer: LEFT, RIGHT, or CENTER
  • Skins/stylesheets support
  • Shortcut key/mnemonics support (Alt-<key>)
  • Ability to designate default (RETURN-key) and cancel (ESCAPE-key) buttons
  • Built-in button types and labels for OK, CANCEL, ABORT, RETRY, IGNORE, YES, and NO
  • Custom button types: CUSTOM1, CUSTOM2, CUSTOM3
  • Internationalization (i18n) built in. Currently, files are provided for English/US and Spanish/Spain locales; please share others and I'll add them!
  • Icon support for your buttons, with or without text labels
  • Fully Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS), with latest source code & .jar always available at GitHub

Quick Usage Overview

Having an intense distaste for rough edges and gears flying when things break (!), I've tried to provide defaults for everything and "fail-safes" to avoid messy outcomes if some property isn't specified, etc. This also feeds the goal of making MonologFX as easy to use as possible, while retaining the library's full flexibility. Or at least that's the plan.  :-)

You can hand-assemble your buttons and dialogs, but I've also included Builder classes to help move that along as well. Here are a couple examples:

        MonologFXButton mlb = MonologFXButtonBuilder.create()
                .defaultButton(true)
                .icon("/testmonologfx/dialog_apply.png")
                .type(MonologFXButton.Type.OK)
                .build();

        MonologFXButton mlb2 = MonologFXButtonBuilder.create()
                .cancelButton(true)
                .icon("/testmonologfx/dialog_cancel.png")
                .type(MonologFXButton.Type.CANCEL)
                .build();

        MonologFX mono = MonologFXBuilder.create()
                .modal(true)
                .message("Welcome to MonologFX! Please feel free to try it out and share your thoughts.")
                .titleText("Important Announcement")
                .button(mlb)
                .button(mlb2)
                .buttonAlignment(MonologFX.ButtonAlignment.CENTER)
                .build();

        MonologFXButton.Type retval = mono.showDialog();


MonologFXButton mlb = MonologFXButtonBuilder.create()
        .defaultButton(true)
        .icon("/testmonologfx/dialog_apply.png")
        .type(MonologFXButton.Type.YES)
        .build();

 

MonologFXButton mlb2 = MonologFXButtonBuilder.create()
        .cancelButton(true)
        .icon("/testmonologfx/dialog_cancel.png")
        .type(MonologFXButton.Type.NO)
        .build();

 

MonologFX mono = MonologFXBuilder.create()
        .modal(true)
        .type(MonologFX.Type.QUESTION)
        .message("Welcome to MonologFX! Does this look like it might be useful?")
        .titleText("Important Announcement")
        .button(mlb)
        .button(mlb2)
        .buttonAlignment(MonologFX.ButtonAlignment.RIGHT)
        .build();

 

MonologFXButton.Type retval = mono.showDialog();

 


Extra Credit

Thanks to everyone who offered ideas for improvement and/or extension to the functionality contained within DialogFX. The JFXtras team welcomed it into the fold, and while I doubt there will be a need to include MonologFX in JFXtras, team members Gerrit Grunwald & Jose Pereda Llamas volunteered templates and i18n expertise to make MonologFX what it is. Thanks for the push, guys!

Where to Get (Git!) It

If you'd like to check it out, point your browser to the MonologFX repository on GitHub. Full source code is there, along with the current .jar file. Please give it a try and share your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you.

All the best,
Mark

Comments:

The problem is Yes/No, Ok/Cancel dialogs are dead. The proper way to build a dialog is to write Erase/Don't erase (or something similar) on the buttons. I, for one, wouldn't support the old values at all in a new framework. The problem with Yes/No or Ok/Cancel dialogs is that people tend to press the buttons automatically after a while, without reading the prompt text.

That aside, I'm astonished Oracle would release a GUI framework (version 2, no less) without support for dialogs or number input fields. God knows what else is still missing.

Posted by alex on December 29, 2012 at 05:15 AM PST #

The functionality is nice but I would suggest one change.

Instead of having a text message for the content, have an arbitary scene graph node. A text message is then just a special case where the scene graph node is a label.

Posted by guest on February 08, 2013 at 12:30 PM PST #

Hi Graham,

I like that idea, actually. With dialog code being recently released by the OpenJFX team, I hadn't really given much thought to further enhancements to MonologFX. Maybe it's time to revisit that...

Thanks for taking the time to kick the tires and leave feedback! If I do make any changes, I'll post an update here and on Twitter (@MkHeck). All the best!

Mark

Posted by Mark Heckler on February 08, 2013 at 01:14 PM PST #

thanks a lot!It's useful for me

Posted by maijunjin on April 21, 2013 at 07:47 PM PDT #

Very useful software, but I am having a problem. I think the following should work, but it pops up the MonologFX box with nothing in it:

public class DialogTest extends Application {

private static Object lock = new Object();

@Override
public void start(Stage primaryStage) {
Button btn = new Button();
btn.setText("Say 'Hello World'");
btn.setOnAction(new EventHandler<ActionEvent>() {
@Override
public void handle(ActionEvent event) {
System.out.println("Hello World!");
}
});

StackPane root = new StackPane();
root.getChildren().add(btn);

Scene scene = new Scene(root, 300, 250);

primaryStage.setTitle("Hello World!");
primaryStage.setScene(scene);
primaryStage.show();

Platform.runLater(new Runnable() {
@Override
public void run() {
MonologFX dialog = new MonologFX(MonologFX.Type.INFO);
dialog.centerOnScreen();
dialog.setModal(true);
dialog.setMessage("quiting due to error");
dialog.setTitleText("ERROR");
dialog.showAndWait();
}
});
}

/**
* The main() method is ignored in correctly deployed JavaFX application.
* main() serves only as fallback in case the application can not be
* launched through deployment artifacts, e.g., in IDEs with limited FX
* support. NetBeans ignores main().
*
* @param args the command line arguments
*/
public static void main(String[] args) {
launch(args);
}
}

I think this is a bug.
My environment:
Ubuntu 12.04
Netbeans 7.3
Java 1.7.0_25
jfxtras-labs-2.2-r6

I see identical behavior with r5

Thanks,
John

Posted by guest on August 11, 2013 at 04:07 PM PDT #

Hi John,

I think the real issue is that you're calling the showAndWait() method from the Stage superclass instead of MonologFX's method showDialog(). That should set things straight, but if not, please let me know.

All the best,
Mark

P.S. - I'm planning a significant overhaul of MonologFX after JavaOne. Thanks for the patience and (especially) your feedback!

Posted by Mark Heckler on August 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM PDT #

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About

The Java Jungle addresses topics from mobile to enterprise Java, tech news to techniques, and anything even remotely related. The goal is to help us all do our work better with Java, however we use it.

Your Java Jungle guide is Mark Heckler, an Oracle Java/Middleware/Core Engineer with development experience in numerous environments. Mark's current work pursuits and passions all revolve around Java and leave little time to blog or tweet - but somehow, he finds time to do both anyway.

Mark lives with his very understanding wife, three kids, and dog in the St. Louis, MO area.



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