Trail: Deployment
Lesson: Java Applets
Section: Doing More With Applets
Invoking JavaScript Code From an Applet
Home Page > Deployment > Java Applets

Invoking JavaScript Code From an Applet

Java applets can invoke JavaScript functions present in the same web page as the applet. The LiveConnect Specification describes details about how JavaScript code communicates with Java code.

The netscape.javascript.JSObject class enables Java applets to retrieve a reference to JavaScript objects and interact with the web page. The Data Summary applet described next invokes JavaScript code to retrieve information from the web page and writes a data summary back to the web page.

Assume you have a web page with a few JavaScript functions. The example AppletPage.html has JavaScript functions to retrieve age, address, and phone numbers. There is also a variable called userName which has no value at the outset.

<head>
<title>Data Summary Applet Page - Java to JavaScript LiveConnect</title>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252"/>
<script language="javascript">
    var userName = "";
    
    // returns number
    function getAge() { 
        return 25;
    }
    // returns an object
    function address() { 
        this.street = "1 Example Lane";
        this.city = "Santa Clara";
        this.state = "CA";
    }
    // returns an array
    function getPhoneNums() { 
        return ["408-555-0100", "408-555-0102"];
    } 
    function writeSummary(summary) {
        summaryElem =
            document.getElementById("summary");
        summaryElem.innerHTML = summary;
    }
    </script>

    <!-- ... -->      
</head>
<body>
    <script src =
      "https://www.java.com/js/deployJava.js"></script>
    <script> 
        <!-- ... -->
        deployJava.runApplet(attributes, parameters, '1.6'); 
    </script>          
    <!-- ... -->
    <p id="summary"/>  // this HTML element contains
                             // the summary 
    <!-- ... -->
</body>

Next, consider an applet class called DataSummaryApplet. The DataSummaryApplet class performs the following operations.

This applet first needs to retrieve a reference to JSObject as follows:

...
JSObject window = JSObject.getWindow(this);
...

Put the preceding statement in a try ...catch.. block to handle netscape.javascript.JSException.

Now that the applet has a reference to JSObject, it can invoke the relevant JavaScript functions by using the eval and call methods of JSObject.


package javatojs;

import java.applet.Applet;
import netscape.javascript.*; // add plugin.jar to classpath during compilation

public class DataSummaryApplet extends Applet {
    public void start() {
        try {
            JSObject window = JSObject.getWindow(this);

            String userName = "John Doe";

            // set JavaScript variable
            window.setMember("userName", userName);

            // invoke JavaScript function
            Number age = (Number) window.eval("getAge()");

            // get a JavaScript object and retrieve its contents
            JSObject address = (JSObject) window.eval("new address();");
            String addressStr = (String) address.getMember("street") + ", " +
                    (String) address.getMember("city") + ", " +
                    (String) address.getMember("state");

            // get an array from JavaScript and retrieve its contents
            JSObject phoneNums = (JSObject) window.eval("getPhoneNums()");
            String phoneNumStr = (String) phoneNums.getSlot(0) + ", " +
                    (String) phoneNums.getSlot(1);

            // dynamically change HTML in page; write data summary
            String summary = userName + " : " + age + " : " +
                    addressStr + " : " + phoneNumStr;
            window.call("writeSummary", new Object[] {summary})   ;
        } catch (JSException jse) {
            jse.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}

To compile Java code that has a reference to classes in the netscape.javascript package, include <your JDK path>/jre/lib/plugin.jar in your classpath. At runtime, the Java Plug-in software automatically makes these classes available to applets.

The Data Summary applet displays the following result on the web page:

Result of applet's Java calls to JavaScript on this page
                
John Doe : 25 : 1 Example Lane, Santa Clara, CA : 408-555-0100, 408-555-0102

Open AppletPage.html in a browser to view the Data Summary applet .


Note:  If you don't see the applet running, you need to install at least the Java SE Development Kit (JDK) 6 update 10 release.

Note:  If you don't see the example running, you might need to enable the JavaScript interpreter in your browser so that the Deployment Toolkit script can function properly.

Download source code for the Invoking JavaScript Code From Applet example to experiment further.


Problems with the examples? Try Compiling and Running the Examples: FAQs.
Complaints? Compliments? Suggestions? Give us your feedback.

Previous page: Displaying Documents in the Browser
Next page: Invoking Applet Methods From JavaScript Code