Who says a RootPane always has to be at the top?

Some friends and I have started a project to extend functionality inside the NetBeans RCP (Rich Client Platform). We call it PlatformX, and it is located on the web at http://platformx.netbeans.org. We hope to have the repository public soon for others to use and contribute.

One of the APIs I'm working on is called RootPaneTopComponent. For the uninitiated in NetBeans RCP, a TopComponent is a Swing component managed by the NetBeans platform. They may work as regular components or can also be used as dockable/undockable components which may be moved around in the application.

A RootPaneTopComponent is a TopComponent which implements the RootPaneContainer interface. It allows one to use a glass pane, a menu and menu items, or a layered pane in more component based classes such as JFrame, JInternalFrame, and JApplet do for the more encompassing classes, so this new class in PlatformX allows the same thing yet at a lower level.

I'll have more information as soon as possible about this class and its sister class CloneableRootPaneTopComponent when I get it finished and we are closer to having a more public release of our first Platformx APIs and repository access. Until now here are some simple screen shots.

Imagine you have a dockable component you need disabled or the ability to cover with some user blocking message until another application state has been reached, and you do not want to block the entire window or a dialog. This is where component level glass panes come in handy:

Now you see me:

now you don't:

and I'll leave it up to you to figure out ways you could use this in your applications today. I'm using it to block certain components which need the user to login to be able to use them.

I mentioned the menu bar. I have also coded this particular class to allow north, south, east, and west components to be placed around it. This could be used for multiple things. I have chosen in this example to imagine some type of an editor which might have search functionality and maybe a notes editor which could show different notes for paragraphs or diagrams or any thing else one might think of:

No notes showing:

and now they are:

Anyways, this is just a simple example to show some of the capabilities of what I'm working on at the moment. This entry is to make it easier to show the others working on the project how it works right now more than anything, but it can be a preview as well :-D. Hopefully it, along with some other things, will be released soon. It's NetBeans, so of course it is open-source.