This tip is about round Swing buttons. Actually, the information in
this tip applies to a button of any arbitrary shape but to keep the
discussion simple, we're just going to use a round shape.

There are two things you need to do when creating a round button. 
The first is to override the appropriate painting methods in order
to paint the round shape. The second is to set things up so that
the button responds only when you click within the round button
(not just within the rectangle that contains the round button).

Here's an example program that implements a round button.

import java.awt.*;
import java.awt.geom.*;
import javax.swing.*;

public class RoundButton extends JButton {
    public RoundButton(String label) {

        // These statements enlarge the button so that it
        // becomes a circle rather than an oval.
        Dimension size = getPreferredSize();
        size.width = size.height = Math.max(size.width, size.height);

        // This call causes the JButton not to paint the background.
        // This allows us to paint a round background.

    // Paint the round background and label.
    protected void paintComponent(Graphics g) {
if (getModel().isArmed()) {
            // You might want to make the highlight color
            // a property of the RoundButton class.
        } else {
g.fillOval(0, 0, getSize().width-1, getSize().height-1);

        // This call will paint the label and the focus rectangle.

    // Paint the border of the button using a simple stroke.
    protected void paintBorder(Graphics g) {
        g.drawOval(0, 0, getSize().width-1, getSize().height-1);

    // Hit detection.
    Shape shape;
    public boolean contains(int x, int y) {
        // If the button has changed size, make a new shape object.
        if (shape == null || !shape.getBounds().equals(getBounds())) {
            shape = new Ellipse2D.Float(0, 0, getWidth(), getHeight());
        return shape.contains(x, y);

    // Test routine.
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Create a button with the label "Jackpot".
        JButton button = new RoundButton("Jackpot");

        // Create a frame in which to show the button.
        JFrame frame = new JFrame();
        frame.getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
        frame.setSize(150, 150);

The RoundButton class extends JButton because we want to keep most
of functionality of a JButton. In the RoundButton constructor, the
method setContentAreaFilled() is called. This causes the button to
paint the focus rectangle, but not to paint the background.

Now we need to paint the circular background. That's done by
overriding the paintComponent() method. That method uses
Graphics.fillOval() to paint a solid circle. Then paintComponent()
calls super.paintComponent() to paint the label on top of the solid

This example also overrides paintBorder() in order to paint a border
around the round button. If you don't want a border, you would not
override this method. This method calls Graphics.drawOval() to
paint a thin border around the circle.

Finally, we want the button to respond only when the user clicks on
it, but not respond to clicks outside of it. By default, a JButton
responds to mouse clicks in a rectangular area around the
button. A JButton has no idea about the real shape of the button,
and so it just assumes that the button is rectangular. To tell
JButton the real shape of a button you need to override the
contains() method. The contains() method takes a coordinate and
returns true if the coordinate is inside the button and false
otherwise. The method uses a Shape object (Ellipse2D) to determine
whether the coordinate is inside the circle.

Note: In JDK 1.2.2, there's a small bug in how JButton behaves when
you drag the mouse in and out of its perimeter. Ideally, if you
clickon the circular button and then drag the mouse outside of the
button's perimeter, the button should change its appearance. When
you drag the mouse back into the circular button's perimeter, the
button should restore its appearance. Unfortunately, the code that
implements this behavior does not call the contains() method.
Instead it just uses the "bounds" of the button (this is the
smallest rectangular area containing the button). Notice that if
you drag the mouse slightly beyond the circular perimeter, that is,
outside of the circle but not outside the bounds, the button won't
change it's appearance. There is no workaround for this minor bug
except to implement all of the functionality yourself.


Floating and double precision variables are fine for doing
statistical or graphics-related calculations. However they are not
recommended forfinancial calculations. That's because the results
produced by floating and double precision arithmetic are not always
precise.  For example, the following example subtracts 1.1 from 2
using floating point numbers.

        double f = 2.9 - 1.1;
        System.out.println( f );

It produces the result 1.7999999999999998 rather than 1.8.

If this kind of result is unacceptable in your application, as is
the case with most financial applications, you should use BigDecimal
numbers instead of floating point numbers.  Here's a quick example
of using BigDecimal numbers.

import java.math.*;

class BigDecimalTest {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        BigDecimal a = new BigDecimal("2.9");
        BigDecimal b = new BigDecimal("1.1");
        BigDecimal c = a.subtract(b);
        System.out.println(c);    // 1.8

One of the features missing from the BigDecimal class is formatting
methods. When you print a BigDecimal number, all the digits are
printed (e.g. 12.3456000). This isn't what you want if you have to
print a value in dollar and cents format, for example (12.35).
Formatting features might be added in a later release but in the
meantime, here are some quick routines to perform the two most
common operations: stripping trailing zeroes and displaying with a
specified precision.

class FormatBigDecimal {
    // Returns the BigDecimal value n with trailing zeroes removed.
    static BigDecimal trim(BigDecimal n) {
        try {
            while (true) {
                n = n.setScale(n.scale()-1);
        } catch (ArithmeticException e) {
            // no more trailing zeroes so exit.
        return n;

    // Returns the BigDecimal value n with exactly 'prec' decimal places.
    // Zeroes are padded to the right of the decimal point if necessary.
    static BigDecimal format(BigDecimal n, int prec) {
        return n.setScale(prec, BigDecimal.ROUND_HALF_UP);

    // Some examples.
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println(trim(new BigDecimal("12.3230000")));    // 12.323
        System.out.println(format(new BigDecimal("12.32534"), 2)); // 12.33
        System.out.println(format(new BigDecimal("12"), 2));       // 12.00

The trim() method attempts to eliminate the last digit from the
number. If the digit is zero, it attempts to eliminate another.
If it tries to eliminate a non-zero digit, setScale() throws an
exception, and the method returns the result.

The trim() method does not use exceptions in a proper way. You
should only use exceptions for exceptional cases and not for
breaking out of loops as it is done here. However, this technique
is currently the most efficient way to implement this functionality.
(If you do use this method, you have to promise to correct it when
a better way comes along!)

The format() method simply returns a version of the BigDecimal
number with the scale of the number set to the specified precision.
It rounds the number such that 5's or greater are rounded up and
4's or lesser are rounded down.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

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Copyright 1999 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved.
901 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, California 94303 USA.

This document is protected by copyright.  For more information, see:

This issue of the JDC Tech Tips is written by Patrick Chan,
the author of the publication "The Java(tm) Developers Almanac"

JDC Tech Tips
August 26, 1999
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