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What is an Explorer view?

An explorer view is a GUI component which can display a Node and (optionally) its child nodes. While Nodes are, by definition, a tree structure, explorer views are much more than just JTrees. Here is a list of the components available:

  • BeanTreeView - the classic tree view, as seen in the Projects and Files tabs in the IDE

  • ListView - a JList based node view component - you can see it in the right hand list in

  • ChoiceView - a ComboBox based explorer view - older versions of the NetBeans IDE used this to display a list of methods in the editor toolbar

  • ContextTreeView - like a BeanTreeView, but sets its manager’s explorered context. The "master" part of a master-detail component that uses two views.

  • MenuView - a JMenu view of a Node and its children

  • TableView - an Explorer view displaying nodes in a table.

  • TreeTableView - a TreeTable view of a Node and its children, in which the left column of the table is a tree of nodes, and the other columns display/edit a specified set of properties of those nodes

  • OutlineView - replacement for TreeTableView

  • IconView - a view similar to that of the left pane in Windows Explorer - a table of equidistant icons. Not currently used anywhere in the IDE’s UI.

  • PropertySheetView - doesn’t show Nodes per-se at all, but rather, shows a property sheet for editing a Node’s properties

With the exception of PropertySheetView, all of these classes live in the package org.openide.explorer.view (sources in openide/explorer in NetBeans' CVS).

An explorer view’s content is controlled by its ExplorerManager - you don’t set the root node directly on the view component, you use its manager. This is so that more than one view can share a single manager, to do master-detail views (for example, the first page of the New Project wizard is one such view - the right hand panel displays children of the left hand panel’s selection).

There are a number of advantages to using Nodes and Explorer Views

  • it is possible to create a rich UI with very little UI code

  • they integrate well with standard menu/toolbar actions that are sensitive to selection

  • they contain convenient and well tested features (start randomly typing in a tree or list view - a little popup will appear and search for a matching node)

  • there is a lot of logic built into NetBeans for creating Nodes simply and easily, for example, from any POJO JavaBean and persisting the things they represent, so you can do a lot with very little code by using Nodes and Explorer Views

A common usage is to get a Node for some folder on disk or in the configuration filesystem, optionally create a FilterNode to filter out some child nodes of it or its children, and display that.

Apache Migration Information

The content in this page was kindly donated by Oracle Corp. to the Apache Software Foundation.

This page was exported from http://wiki.netbeans.org/DevFaqExplorerViews , that was last modified by NetBeans user LiborJelinek on 2011-08-09T16:07:51Z.

NOTE: This document was automatically converted to the AsciiDoc format on 2018-02-07, and needs to be reviewed.