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Chapter 14. Data Transfer

Data transfer is the generic term for GUI mechanisms that allow an end user to transfer text or other data within an application or between applications. The two common data transfer metaphors are cut-and-paste and drag-and-drop. Java's support for data transfer has evolved over several releases:

  • In Java 1.1, the java.awt.datatransfer package provided a data transfer infrastructure and support for the cut-and-paste metaphor.

  • Java 1.2 extended the data transfer infrastructure with the java.awt.dnd package, and added support for drag-and-drop.

  • In Java 1.4, the javax.swing package introduces the TransferHandler class, which simplifies the data transfer infrastructure of previous releases and makes it easier to provide simple drag-and-drop capabilities in a Swing application.

This chapter demonstrates how you can add support for cut-and-paste and drag-and-drop to your AWT and Swing applications. It shows how to use the Swing TransferHandler class for simple cases, and how to use the underlying DataFlavor class and the Transferable interface to permit the transfer of custom data types between applications.

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