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Programming Exercises for Chapter 13

This page contains several exercises for Chapter 13 in Introduction to Programming Using Java. For each exercise, a link to a possible solution is provided. Each solution includes a discussion of how a programmer might approach the problem and interesting points raised by the problem or its solution, as well as complete source code of the solution.

Exercise 13.1:

The sample program PaintWithOffScreenCanvas.java from Section 13.1 is a simple paint program. Make two improvements to this program: First, add a "File" menu that lets the user open an image file and save the current image in either PNG or JPEG format. Second, add a basic one-level "Undo" command that lets the user undo the most recent operation that was applied to the image. (Do not try to make a multilevel Undo, which would allow the user to undo several operations.)

When you read a file into the program, you should copy the image that you read into the program's off-screen canvas. Since the canvas in the program has a fixed size, you should scale the image that you read so that it exactly fills the canvas.

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Exercise 13.2:

For this exercise, you should continue to work on the program from the previous exercise. Add a "StrokeWidth" menu that allows the user to draw lines of varying thicknesses. Make it possible to use different colors for the interior of a filled shape and for the outline of that shape. To do this, change the "Color" menu to "StrokeColor" and add a "FillColor" menu. (My solution adds two new tools, "Stroked Filled Rectangle" and "Stroked Filled Oval", to represent filled shapes that are outlined with the current stroke.) Add support for filling shapes with transparent color. A simple approach to this is to use a JCheckboxMenuItem to select either fully opaque or 50% opaque fill. (Don't try to apply transparency to stokes -- it's very difficult to make transparency work correctly for the Curve tool, and in any case, shape outlines look better if they are opaque.) Finally, make the menus more user friendly by adding keyboard accelerators to some commands and by using JRadioButtonMenuItems where appropriate, such as in the color and tool menus. This exercise takes quite a bit of work to get it all right, so you should tackle the problem in pieces.

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Exercise 13.3:

The StopWatchLabel component from Subsection 13.4.5 displays the text "Timing..." when the stop watch is running. It would be nice if it displayed the elapsed time since the stop watch was started. For that, you need to create a Timer. (See Subsection 6.4.1.) Add a Timer to the original source code, StopWatchLabel.java, to drive the display of the elapsed time in seconds. Create the timer in the mousePressed() routine when the stop watch is started. Stop the timer in the mousePressed() routine when the stop watch is stopped. The elapsed time won't be very accurate anyway, so just show the integral number of seconds. You only need to set the text a few times per second. For my Timer method, I use a delay of 200 milliseconds for the timer.

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Exercise 13.4:

The custom component example MirrorText.java, from Subsection 13.4.5, uses an off-screen canvas to show mirror-reversed text in a JPanel. An alternative approach would be to draw the text after applying a transform to the graphics context that is used for drawing. (See Subsection 13.2.5.) With this approach, the custom component can be defined as a subclass of JLabel in which the paintComponent() method is overridden. Write a version of the MirrorText component that takes this approach. The solution is very short, but tricky. Note that the scale transform g2.scale(-1,1) does a left-right reflection through the left edge of the component.

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Exercise 13.5:

The sample program PhoneDirectoryFileDemo.java from Subsection 11.3.2 keeps data for a "phone directory" in a file in the user's home directory. Exercise 11.5 asked you to revise that program to use an XML format for the data. Both programs have a simple command-line user interface. For this exercise, you should provide a GUI interface for the phone directory data. You can base your program either on the original sample program or on the modified XML version from the exercise. Use a JTable to hold the data. The user should be able to edit all the entries in the table. Also, the user should be able to add and delete rows. Include either buttons or menu commands that can be used to perform these actions. The delete command should delete the selected row, if any. New rows should be added at the end of the table. For this program, you can use a standard DefaultTableModel.

Your program should load data from the file when it starts and save data to the file when it ends, just as the two previous programs do. For a GUI program, you can't simply save the data at the end of the main() routine, since main() terminates as soon as the window shows up on the screen. You want to save the data when the user closes the window and ends the program. There are several approaches. One is to use a WindowListener to detect the event that occurs when the window closes. Another is to use a "Quit" command to end the program; when the user quits, you can save the data and close the window (by calling its dispose() method), and end the program. If you use the "Quit" command approach, you don't want the user to be able to end the program simply by closing the window. To accomplish this, you should call


where frame refers to the JFrame that you have created for the program's user interface. When using a WindowListener, you want the close box on the window to close the window, not end the program. For this, you need


When the listener is notified of a window closed event, it can save the data and end the program.

Most of the JTable and DefaultTableModel methods that you need for this exercise are discussed in Subsection 13.4.3, but there are a few more that you need to know about. To determine which row is selected in a JTable, call table.getSelectedRow(). This method returns the row number of the selected row, or returns -1 if no row is selected. To specify which cell is currently being edited, you can use:

table.setRowSelectionInterval(rowNum, rowNum);  // Selects row number rowNum. 
table.editCellAt( rowNum, colNum ); // Edit cell at position (rowNum,colNum).
phoneTable.getEditorComponent().requestFocus();  // Put input cursor in cell.

One particularly troublesome point is that the data that is in the cell that is currently being edited is not in the table model. The value in the edit cell is not put into the table model until after the editing is finished. This means that even though the user sees the data in the cell, it's not really part of the table data yet. If you lose that data, the user would be justified in complaining. To make sure that you get the right data when you save the data at the end of the program, you have to turn off editing before retrieving the data from the model. This can be done with the following method:

private void stopEditing() {
   if (table.getCellEditor() != null)

This method must also be called before modifying the table by adding or deleting rows; if such modifications are made while editing is in progress, the effect can be very strange.

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