Sliders in Matlab GUI – part 2

Exactly 3 years ago I posted about various alternatives for embedding sliders in Matlab GUI. Today I will follow up on that post with a description of yet another undocumented builtin alternative – controllib.widget.Slider. A summary of the various alternatives can be seen in the following screenshot:

Slider alternatives in Matlab GUI

Slider alternatives in Matlab GUI

The controllib.widget.Slider component is a class in Matlab’s internal controllib package (last week I discussed a different utility function in this package, controllib.internal.util.hString2Char).

controllib.widget.Slider accepts 3 input arguments: containing figure handle, position in pixels, and data values. For example:

>> hSlider = controllib.widget.Slider(gcf, [10,10,100,50], 5:25)
hSlider = 
  Slider with properties:
        Data: [6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25]
       Index: 11
       Value: 15
    FontSize: 8
    Position: [10 10 100 50]

This creates an invisible axes at the specified figure location and displays graphic axes objects that provide the appearance of the slider. When you move the slider’s knob, or click its centerline or arrows (“Steppers”), the slider’s value changes accordingly.

You can attach a callback function to the slider as follows:

myCallback = @(h,e) disp(h.Value);  % as an example
addlistener(hSlider, 'ValueChanged', myCallback);

Note that controllib.widget.Slider is based on pure-Matlab code and fully-supported functionality. The Matlab source code is available (%matlabroot%/toolbox/shared/controllib/graphics/+controllib/+widget/Slider.m) and quite readable. So while it does not actually work with the new web-based uifigures, is should be relatively easy to adapt the code so that this component could be displayed in such uifigures.

Below is a script to recreate the screenshot above. Note the two alternative mechanisms for setting properties (Java setter-method notation, and HG set notation):

hFig = figure('Color','w');
% 1. controllib.widget.Slider
hSlider1 = controllib.widget.Slider(hFig, [10,10,100,50], 1:20);
hSlider1.Value = 12;
% 2. uicontrol
hSlider2 = uicontrol('style','slider', 'units','pixels', 'pos',[10,80,100,20], 'Min',0', 'Max',20, 'Value',12);
% 3. JScrollBar
jSlider3 = javaObjectEDT(javax.swing.JScrollBar);
jSlider3.setOrientation(jSlider3.HORIZONTAL);  % Java setter-method notation
set(jSlider3, 'VisibleAmount',1, 'Minimum',0, 'Maximum',20, 'Value',12);  % HG set notation
[hSlider3, hContainer3] = javacomponent(jSlider3, [10,130,100,20], hFig);
% 4. JSlider #1
jSlider4 = javaObjectEDT(javax.swing.JSlider(0,20,12))
jSlider4.setBackground(java.awt.Color.white);  % Java setter-method notation
set(jSlider4, 'MinorTickSpacing',1, 'MajorTickSpacing',4, 'SnapToTicks',true, 'PaintLabels',true);  % HG set notation
[hSlider4, hContainer4] = javacomponent(jSlider4, [10,180,100,30], hFig);
% 5. JSlider #2
jSlider5 = javaObjectEDT(javax.swing.JSlider(0,20,12))
jSlider5.setBackground(java.awt.Color.white);  % Java setter-method notation
set(jSlider5, 'MinorTickSpacing',1, 'MajorTickSpacing',4, 'SnapToTicks',true, 'PaintLabels',true);  % HG set notation
[hSlider5, hContainer5] = javacomponent(jSlider5, [10,230,100,40], hFig);

For additional details regarding the other slider alternatives, please refer to my earlier post on this subject.

Have you ever used another interesting utility or class in Matlab’s builtin packages? If so, please tell us about it in a comment below.

Categories: GUI, Medium risk of breaking in future versions, Semi-documented function

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4 Responses to Sliders in Matlab GUI – part 2

  1. Zoltan Csati says:

    In R2015b I only see the *+app*, the and the *+plot* packages inside the *+controllib* package, no *widget*.

    • @Zoltan – R2015b is 6 releases older than the latest Matlab release, so surely this is no surprise. New functions are being added to Matlab with each new release. If you upgrade to one of the latest Matlab releases you will be able to use this function.

  2. medi says:

    how can i plot many data with slider in Gui?

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