Cool JavaFX 2.0, But What Happened To JFileChooser?

JFileChooser With Missing Icon (Netbeans)
JFileChooser With Missing Icon (Netbeans)

In the midst of all the good news about JavaFX 2.0 and the reinvested interest in the Java Swing Platform by Oracle at JavaOne, I have to ask myself: what happened to JFileChooser? In all the articles I have read in the past year or so about all the cool and upcoming features in the Java 7 and the new component(s) being introduced the Swing library, I have heard very little about JFileChooser or any improvements planned for the platform.

There have been a lot of complaints in the past about poor performance and a lack of some basic functionality for that component. There were even some mentions of the component being replaced with a Native Implementation sometime back, but there has not been any concrete word on that. Personally, my current pet peaves with the component include:

  • Way too minimal right-click PopupMenu – only New Folder, Rename, View and Refresh are implemented. This minimal popup is also way to difficult to extend by the entry level user. Also, drag and drop file handling is implemented, so why is it so difficult to include Open/Select, Cut, Copy and Paste as basic options in the default popup menu?
  • Poor performance for listing directories and their contents when zip archives are included
  • Lack of decent Directory View (possibly as a tree)
  • Ability to use “\\<pc-name>” option on a Windows based system to navigate to a network location

Other more advanced users have other problems with the component but these are the few I feel are general problems and could be fixed or improved.

The current “Open Project” and “Open File” implementations in the Netbeans IDE seem to have some very useful implementations of the JFileChooser and some have even advocated that those components be ported back into the main JDK source if possible, but that is yet to be seen or determined.

All in all, I think the JFileChooser component needs some attention, because it certainly is starved for some.

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