Wes1324 Wes1324 - 1 year ago 55
Java Question

Adding JPanels to regions other than CENTER

I am currently reading chapter 12 of Head First Java about making GUIs. They have just mentioned that JFrames are split into center, north, south, east and west. The book then uses the 2 argument add() method to add specified components to a specified region with that JFrame.

I can add a JButton to each of the five regions fine. I can also add my own JPanel to the center region with JButtons all around it. But then when I try to add a JPanel to any region other than center, the JPanel does not appear.

I really have searched all over the web and Stack Overflow for the past hour and I have not come across anything that mentions adding JPanels to any region other than center in a JFrame. So my question is: is it possible to add JPanels to the north, south, east or west regions of a JFrame?

Thanks in advance to anyone that can help me with this.

Here is the code that I've been trying to run with my JPanel in the north region:

import javax.swing.JButton;
import javax.swing.JFrame;
import javax.swing.JPanel;
import java.awt.Color;
import java.awt.Graphics;
import java.awt.BorderLayout;

public class StackQ {

JFrame frame;

public static void main(String [] args) {

StackQ gui = new StackQ();


public void go() {
frame = new JFrame();

JButton button = new JButton("location test");
JButton button2 = new JButton("location test");
JButton button3 = new JButton("location test");
JButton button4 = new JButton("location test");

myDrawPanel custom = new myDrawPanel();

frame.getContentPane().add(button, BorderLayout.CENTER);
frame.getContentPane().add(button2, BorderLayout.EAST);
frame.getContentPane().add(button3, BorderLayout.WEST);
frame.getContentPane().add(button4, BorderLayout.SOUTH);

frame.getContentPane().add(custom, BorderLayout.NORTH);



class myDrawPanel extends JPanel {

public void paintComponent(Graphics g) {

int red = (int) (Math.random() * 255);
int green = (int) (Math.random() * 255);
int blue = (int) (Math.random() * 255);

Color random = new Color(red, green, blue);


Answer Source

It could be clearer but this is described in the BorderLayout documentation:

The components are laid out according to their preferred sizes and the constraints of the container's size.... the CENTER component may stretch both horizontally and vertically to fill any space left over.

Put another way, the CENTER component will be stretched (if needed) to fill the application, and any other components need to specify a preferred-size in order to take some of that from the CENTER.

JButton specifies a preferred size by default, based on the contents of the button. JPanel on the other hand does not - its preferred size depends on its contents, and your JPanel doesn't have any contents, therefore its preferred size is zero.

In short, specify a preferred size for your JPanel and the BorderLayout will try to allocate at least that much space for the panel.