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Posts Tagged ‘GXT’

PostHeaderIcon Tutorial: an Event Bus Handler for GWT / GXT



Let’s consider a application, JonathanGwtApplication, divided in three main panels

  • a panel to select animal name name
  • a panel to display, expand and collapse trees of the animal ancestors
  • a panel of information to display many indicators (colors, ages, etc.).

An issue we encounter is: how to make the different panels communicate? In more technical terms, how to fire events from a panel to another one?

A first solution would be to declare each panel as listener to the other panels. Indeed, this principle may go further, and declare each component as listener to a list of other components…
Main drawbacks:

  • the code becomes hard to read
  • adding or removing a component requires to modify many parts of the code
  • we don’t follow GWT 2’s “philosophy”, which is to use Handlers rather than Listeners.

Hence, these reasons incited us to provide a global EventBusHandler.

The EventBusHandler concept

The EventBusHandler is a global bus which is aware of all events that should be shared between different panels, and fires them to the right components.
The EventBusHandler is a field of JonathanGwtApplicationContext.


  • generic interface for a event. Abstract method:
    EventTypeEnum getEventEnum();
  • lalou.jonathan.application.web.gwt.animal.handler.EventHandler: generic interface for a component able to handle an event. Abstract method:
    void handleEvent(HandledEvent handledEvent);
  • lalou.jonathan.application.web.gwt.animal.handler.EventHandlerBus: the actual bus. As a concrete class, it has two methods:
    	 * Fires an event to all components declared as listening to this event
    	 * event type.
    	 * @param baseEvent
    	public void fireEvent(HandledEvent baseEvent) {
                   // ...
    	 * Adds an listener/handler for the event type given as parameter
    	 * @param eventTypeEnum
    	 * @param eventHandler
    	 * @return The List of handlers for the key given as parameter. This list
    	 *         contains the eventHandler that was given as second parameter
    	public List<EventHandler> put(EventTypeEnum eventTypeEnum,
    			EventHandler eventHandler) {
                  // ...

How to use the bus?

  1. Define an event: in JonathanGwtApplication, an event is decribed by two elements:
    • a functionnal entity: eg: “animal”, “food”, “tree node”. The functionnal entity must be isomorph to a technical DTO, eg: AnimalDTO for an entity Animal.(in the scope of this turoriel we assume to have DTOs, even though the entities may ne sufficient)
    • a technical description of the event: “selection changed”, “is expanded”
  2. Add an entry in the enum EventTypeEnum. Eg: “ANIMAL_SELECTION_CHANGED
  3. in, create an event, implementing HandledEvent and its method getEventEnum(). The match between EventTypeEnum and DTO is achieved here. Eg:
    public class AnimalSelectionChangedEvent extends
    		SelectionChangedEvent<AnimalDTO> implements HandledEvent {
    	public AnimalSelectionChangedEvent(
    			SelectionProvider<AnimalDTO> provider,
    			List<AnimalDTO> selection) {
    		super(provider, selection);
    	public EventTypeEnum getEventEnum() {
    		return EventTypeEnum.ANIMAL_SELECTION_CHANGED;
  • When an event that should interest other component is fired, simply call the bus. The bus will identify the event type and dispatch it to the relevant handlers. eg:
    animalComboBox.addSelectionChangedListener(new SelectionChangedListener<AnimalDTO>() {
    			public void selectionChanged(SelectionChangedEvent<AnimalDTO> se) {
    				final AnimalDTO selectedAnimalVersion;
    				selectedAnimalVersion= se.getSelectedItem();
    						final AnimalSelectionChangedEvent baseEvent = new AnimalSelectionChangedEvent(
    								se.getSelectionProvider(), se.getSelection());
  • Handlers:
    • easy case: the component handles only one type of event: this handler must implement the right interface (eg: AnimalSelectionChangedEventHandler) and its method, eg:
      protected void handleAnimalSelectionChangedEvent(HandledEvent handledEvent) {
    • frequent case: the component handles two or more event types. No matter, make the component implement all the needed interfaces (eg: AnimalSelectionChangedEventHandler, FoodSelectionChangedEventHandler). Provide a unique entry point for the method to implement, which is common to both interfaces. Retrieve the event type, and handle it with ad hoc methods. Eg:
      public void handleEvent(HandledEvent handledEvent) {
      		final EventTypeEnum eventTypeEnum;
      		eventTypeEnum = handledEvent.getEventEnum();
      		switch (eventTypeEnum) {
      	protected void handleAnimalSelectionChangedEvent(HandledEvent handledEvent) {
      		// do something
      	protected void handleFoodSelectionChangedEvent(HandledEvent handledEvent) {
      		// do something else
  • PostHeaderIcon GWT to GXT migration

    These days, I am discovering GWT, and more accurately ExtGWT, aka GXT.


    I have to write a “Hello World” application based on GXT.


    • Firstly, follow Lars Vogel’s tutorial to have a “Hello World” in GWT.
    • In Eclipse, add a dependancy from your project to extjs-gxt-lib-2.1.1.jar (version compatible with your GWT version: 1.7 or 2.0), available at this link.
    • In your *.gwt.xml file, remove:
      <inherits name=''/>

      and add:

      <inherits name='com.extjs.gxt.ui.GXT'/>
    • Get the gxt-all.css file, copy it into war/css/ folder
    • In your *.html file, add the lines:
      <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/gxt-all.css" />
    • Now, adapt your Java entry point source class, replacing GWT widgets with GXT ones.
    • Restart your server and refresh the page in your browser. You have your “Hello World” in GXT!