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public interface: SecondaryLoop [javadoc | source]

All Known Implementing Classes:

A helper interface to run the nested event loop.

Objects that implement this interface are created with the EventQueue#createSecondaryLoop method. The interface provides two methods, #enter and #exit , which can be used to start and stop the event loop.

When the #enter method is called, the current thread is blocked until the loop is terminated by the #exit method. Also, a new event loop is started on the event dispatch thread, which may or may not be the current thread. The loop can be terminated on any thread by calling its #exit method. After the loop is terminated, the {@code SecondaryLoop} object can be reused to run a new nested event loop.

A typical use case of applying this interface is AWT and Swing modal dialogs. When a modal dialog is shown on the event dispatch thread, it enters a new secondary loop. Later, when the dialog is hidden or disposed, it exits the loop, and the thread continues its execution.

The following example illustrates a simple use case of secondary loops:

  SecondaryLoop loop;

  JButton jButton = new JButton("Button");
  jButton.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
      {@code @Override}
      public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
          Toolkit tk = Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit();
          EventQueue eq = tk.getSystemEventQueue();
          loop = eq.createSecondaryLoop();

          // Spawn a new thread to do the work
          Thread worker = new WorkerThread();

          // Enter the loop to block the current event
          // handler, but leave UI responsive
          if (!loop.enter()) {
              // Report an error

  class WorkerThread extends Thread {
      {@code @Override}
      public void run() {
          // Perform calculations

          // Exit the loop
Method from java.awt.SecondaryLoop Summary:
enter,   exit
Method from java.awt.SecondaryLoop Detail:
 public boolean enter()
    Blocks the execution of the current thread and enters a new secondary event loop on the event dispatch thread.

    This method can be called by any thread including the event dispatch thread. This thread will be blocked until the #exit method is called or the loop is terminated. A new secondary loop will be created on the event dispatch thread for dispatching events in either case.

    This method can only start one new event loop at a time per object. If a secondary event loop has already been started by this object and is currently still running, this method returns {@code false} to indicate that it was not successful in starting a new event loop. Otherwise, this method blocks the calling thread and later returns {@code true} when the new event loop is terminated. At such time, this object can again be used to start another new event loop.

 public boolean exit()
    Unblocks the execution of the thread blocked by the #enter method and exits the secondary loop.

    This method resumes the thread that called the #enter method and exits the secondary loop that was created when the #enter method was invoked.

    Note that if any other secondary loop is started while this loop is running, the blocked thread will not resume execution until the nested loop is terminated.

    If this secondary loop has not been started with the #enter method, or this secondary loop has already finished with the #exit method, this method returns {@code false}, otherwise {@code true} is returned.