Java Development Guide for Mac: OS X Integration

A source code written in Java for Mac OS X.

When developing a Java application on OS X, the last thing you would want your users to do is learn the behaviors that are unique to your application.  This is why you should work on making your application look native to the platform.  So how do you achieve that with your Java application running on OS X?


With OS X, there are several techniques in making your Java menus look native on the platform.

Menu bar.  It is highly recommended to remove menus from your windows and then putting these in the menu bar.  But keep in mind that doing so would mean that your menus would disappear once you close your frame.  This is not how a native application works on OS X, wherein the menu bar for active applications is always visible, even though the window is currently closed.

Application menu.  If you are using AWT/Swing, you would automatically get an Application menu that looks and feels like OS X applications.  You can just customize your Application menu according to your desires.

Window menu.  A Window menu helps you keep track of all active windows.  It would list all windows and place a checkmark next to the active ones.  Selecting a window would bring that window to the front of your screen.  If you open a window, it should be added to the Window menu, while closing one should remove it from the list.

Accelerators.  If you need to add keyboard shortcuts, do not define it manually.  Instead, you should use the java.awt.Tookit.getMenuShortcutKeyMask() to get the system to assign one for you.

Pop up menus.  OS X fully supports pop-up menus or contextual menus.  These menus are triggered by a Control click or a right click with your mouse.  The important thing to remember is that contextual menus are triggered by a mouse click, so you need to define it in java.awt.event.MouseEvent.

Dock.  There are five different procedures for managing your application’s Dock icon.  These are:

  • public java.awt.Image getDockIconImage()
  • public void setDockIconImage(java.awt.Image)
  • public java.awt.PopupMenu getDockMenu()
  • public void setDockMenu(java.awt.PopupMenu)
  • public void setDockIconBadge(String)

Component Design

There are several design methods that you should keep in mind when you are doing your design.

  1. Use layout managers instead of specifying the x-y coordinates of your components.  Using the layout manager would help you place your components while also considering the ideal sizes of all your components.  This will also help you size your components easily.
  2. You can nest several JPanels that use BorderLayouts to create a portable layout.  Do not worry, you can nest a lot of JPanels and still would not have problems with your application’s performance.
  3. If you want to customize the colors of your components, then be sure not to blindly set an explicit color.  Instead, you should query the UIManager class to check if your desired color would work well on both OS X.

There are just some of the things that you should remember when integrating your Java application to OS X?  If you need more tips, contact Four Cornerstone. We can help you! We have a team of skilled programmers who can create customized apps using Java.

Photo courtesy of jbvkoos.


Performance Boost in MySQL 8.0.35…

Oracle has recently published interesting performance numbers that show MySQL 8.0.35 Enterprise Edition about 25%, or higher, faster than MySQL Community Edition.   A great...

Keep Reading


Security Trends For 2024: SBOMs

A recent article on Forbes, linked below, lists five security trends that are likely to be important in 2024. Of course, AI-related security topics top...

Keep Reading


Getting started with your first…

Anyone looking at writing their first Generative AI application should read this to save time. In June 2023, Google Cloud published a useful blog post,...

Keep Reading


Read-Write and Read-Only query splitting…

Optimize the usage of the standby (secondary) read-only MySQL InnoDB Cluster servers by automatically and transparently distributing read-queries to them. A great feature in MySQL...

Keep Reading


Considering Cloud Diversification?

Moving an enterprise to a Public Cloud can quickly feel like moving into a locked-in relationship with the Cloud vendor. One solution to diminish this...

Keep Reading


Gartner: Global cloud consumption will…

Gartner forecasts that 2024 will see a 20% global cloud consumption increase from 2023 to $679B, while 2023 has seen an 18% increase from 2022...

Keep Reading


ByteDance: Use AI for tuning…

ZDNet is reporting that a ByteDance (the maker of TikTok) Linux kernel developer has proposed to implement AI to tune the performance of Linux systems...

Keep Reading

AI Governance

What is AI TRiSM?

If reading now about AI TRiSM for the first time, it might be good read on and learn what it’s about because it leads the...

Keep Reading

Cloud Blog

4 Ways To Benefit from…

One of the benefits you get when you work with cloud applications is that you often have quarterly updates that are packed with features. This...

Keep Reading

Artificial Intelligence

Data and Analytics: Cross the…

  Artificial intelligence is a manna sent from digital heaven. That’s how blessed your business can get if you immerse into the AI of things....

Keep Reading

Live Chat | Emergency