applets, applications and static declarations

LC's No-Spam Newsreading account <>
Wed, 20 Jan 2010 15:38:31 +0100
If I understand correctly (from my point of view of a Fortran
programmer), a "static" variable is something global to all instances of
a class.

This makes sense for classes which are real objects, of which a
plurality of instances exist. But what about classes which do exist in
a single instance ? It is something like blank COMMON ...

I recently wanted to convert a working applet into a standalone
application. Both of them are things which do exist in a single

The applet has (should have ? shall have ? must have ?) among others an
init method and a start method. According to SWING standards (ok?), the
init method has a construct

       try {
         SwingUtilities.invokeAndWait(new Runnable() {
           public void run() {
              realMain() ;
       } catch (Exception e) { ...

where realMain() instantiates the (single) instance of the applet GUI,
while start() in my case establishes communication with a servlet.

An application (whatever it is) shall have a public static void
main(String[] args) method, which does whatever it should do (could be a
traditional computation reading/writing from stdin/stdout or from

A SWING application has in the main a construct of the form

     javax.swing.SwingUtilities.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
       public void run() {

where createAndShowGUI instantiates the single instance of the
overarching GUI.

To convert the applet into an application what I did was essentially to
move the code from the applet init and start methods into the
application main method (actually init and main were already very
similar as shown above) and rename realMain as createAndShowGUI. Of
course I also changed the name of the top class and the related
statement from

public class myApplet26 extends JApplet implements ListSelectionListener


public class alone26 extends JPanel implements ListSelectionListener

I assumed the application alone26 did not need a constructor (as the
applet didn't, and as it will by definition exist in a single instance)

When compiling I found complaints about lots of class variables not
being static, so I declared them static. There were also complaints on
some the inner classes I used (all in the same source file) not being
static, so I declared them static as well.

At the end I was left with a single error message on a statement in one
of the methods


complaining that "this" was not static

If I commented out such statement, the application compiled and ran. Of
course one of the components of the GUI, a JTable (table) showing some
results, had lost the interactivity associated to the commented

To overcome this I replaced the offending statement with


where in the prologue of the topmost class among the static variables I

   static myGui myGui;

and in createAndShowGUI() I instantiate it

         myGui = new myGui();

(all these things I did already before)

In the myGui class prologue I added a class variable

   alone26 fake;

and in the constructor myGui(), I added as first statement this

   fake = new alone26();

I also added a dummy explicit constructor to the topmost class

  public alone26() {

This makes the standalone application compile and work as expected, but
I'm not sure about why what I did works, whether it was the correct and
simplest thing to do, or whether it was somehow redundant instead.

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