The final option for handling events is the adapter model.
Adapters are used in conjunction with the listener model.
In the listener discussion, you saw
how you can implement an interface and then tell an object you're
interested in being notified when events occur. The adapter model
uses a different tactic. Instead of implementing the listener
interface in the class that receives the events, we create another
object to listen for the events. This object serves as a middleman
between the component that generates the event and the component
that receives the event.
The JDK contains a predefined set of
adapter classes that you can extend from. In fact, there is one for
each different type of event listener. For example, there is a
ActionAdapter for the ActionListener interface.
What exactly is an adapter class? An
adapter class is a
class that implements its corresponding interface. For example, the
ActionAdapter class is essentially the following:
public abstract class ActionAdapter
public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent event)
Adapters don't do anything on their own.
In fact, they are declared abstract so you can't instantiate them.
This is because adapter classes only exist as a convenience.
Suppose you wanted to listen for mouse
events, but only for mouse up and mouse-down events. It's tedious to
implement the entire interface for mouse events (MouseListener)
since it contains five methods and you're only interested in two of
them. An adapter class provides an empty implementation for all the
methods. You can subclass an adapter class--in this case
MouseAdapter--and only implement the two methods that you're
In order to use adapters, you must subclass
them to provide any useful functionality. To use an adapter, you
subclass it, create an object of that subclass, and register it as a
listener for events.