Three years ago, I wrote an article about modifying Matlab’s look-and-feel (L&F, or LnF), using Java’s built-in support for replaceable LnFs. To date, that article has 27 comments by 13 different commenters (plus 20 responses by me), making it the second most active article on this website. I decided to follow up on that article with a demo that shows the effects that different L&Fs have on GUI controls, and a demonstration of the JTattoo library of professional L&Fs.
Today’s article and the demo are based on original work by Karthik Ponudurai, who has written a guest article here about an interesting technique to interface a Java GUI to a Matlab application, a couple of years ago.
JTattoo is a 3rd-party open-source library. The purpose of including it in the demo, in addition to its natural use as a professional set of L&Fs, is to demonstrate how easy it is to integrate 3rd-party L&Fs in Matlab. In the demo I use the current latest available JTattoo library (1.6.7), but you can always download the latest version and replace the JTattoo.jar file. JTattoo contains a large set of different L&Fs that can be used independently (screenshots). The nice thing about L&Fs is that since all Matlab GUI is based on Java Swing, the new L&Fs automatically affect Matlab controls just like native Java ones.
The demo can be downloaded from the Matlab File Exchange. After downloading, unzip it into any folder on your Matlab path and run JTattooDemo.m.
A Matlab figure is displayed with two panels, one containing Matlab uicontrols (within a simple uiflowcontainer) and the other containing Java components.
Two main menus are available: System enables selecting the standard Swing L&Fs that are installed on your system (this varies a bit between platforms and Matlab releases); JTattoo enables selecting one of the JTattoo L&Fs. Once the user selects any of the L&F menu items, the entire figure is updated. This is done by calling
javax.swing.SwingUtilities.updateComponentTreeUI()on the figure’s Java Frame‘s content pane. Both the Matlab and the Java controls within the figure are automatically updated by this Swing function to reflect the newly-selected L&F. Care is taken to update the L&F on the EDT, to prevent racing-condition issues.
It should be noted that the demo resets the L&F after updating the figure, otherwise any new figure or window would open using the newly-selected L&F. This is done in the updateInterface function as follows:
function updateInterface( lookandfeel ) % Preserve the original L&F, before updating originalLnF = javax.swing.UIManager.getLookAndFeel; % Update the L&F in the demo figure as requested ... (all the existing code within the function) % Restore the original L&F for any new figure/window javax.swing.UIManager.setLookAndFeel(originalLnF); end % updateInterface
Note that after changing the L&Fs several times, some L&F properties night get “mixed-up” causing odd-looking L&Fs. The simplest solution in this case is to restart Matlab…
Readers in Israel are invited to attend a free training seminar that I will present on advanced Matlab topics in Herzliya, on Thursday April 4, 2013. The seminar is free, but requires registration. Additional details here. I will speak in Hebrew, but the presentation will be in English and I will be happy to answer questions in English.
Neat! That updateInterface snippet looks like a prime use case for an onCleanup function, to restore the originalLnF no matter what, such as if any of the code errors or the user Ctrl-C’s 🙂