At last, an applet worth using

Jake Howlett, 24 June 2001

Category: Java; Keywords: Applet Menu Java

Regular visitors of this site may know already that I'm not a great advocate of using Java Applets in a web site. That is not to say that I don't occasionally relent and give in to one of the following factors:

Also, every now and then, while crawling the net I come across something that makes me stop dead and say "wow!, how on earth have they done that!?". The latest thing I found just this morning and already I've started writing this article. Popup Menu Applet does exactly as it says on the box. Without further ado here is an example. Click on one of the options to see the menu pop up:

What do you think? Personally I think it's awesome. My impression of Applets has been much maligned by Iris's attempts. It takes innovations like this to restore my confidence. Thanks go out to Apycom Software who wrote the applet. The above example is only one of the many possible appearances that you can invent. I tried to make this one look like a replacement to CodeStore's navigation system. Let's have a look at another one that looks a little different:

Suitability for use with Domino:

The problem I find with most applets available for download is that they aren't really relevant to us as Domino developers. This one is an exception. Because of the way the applet builds its menus using simple parameters we can easily build dynamic lists of links from within the Domino Designer. Consider this form that has the applet embedded on it:


Most of the essential parameters have already been added. The most important one that we have selected in the above image is called "menuItems". This is where you add your list of menu items and their intended links. In here I've used an @Implode on a list of links from a DBLookup to create a string in the required format. How you do this depends on what you want to link to and where the information is held. The possibilities are almost endless.

Having played around with it for an hour or two now I've not managed to find anything that got me saying "Argh, but it can't do this can it!". It can even call JavaScript functions and can span from one frame in to another - a major bug in most DHTML Popup menus.

Adding the applet to your form:

First thing to do is download the applet's .jar archive file. You can do that here. Once you've downloaded the Zip file and extracted it somewhere central, you can add it to your forms or upload it on to the server so you can use it in multiple databases. To add it to a form select "Java Applet" from the Create menu and browse to wherever you extracted the .jar file:


Once on the form, making sure you have the applet selected, you need to start adding all the parameters. In particular you need to add the "Copyright" parameter without which it will not work.

Setting up the applet is described in more detail and a lot better than I ever could on the Apycom Website and in the documentation that comes with the download. You can also find numerous examples of all the different things you can achieve. Have fun....

Note: Have you noticed the little advert that pops up in the status bar when you hover over the applet yet. You can get rid of this by registering the applet. The cost is quite small when using on just one site. Full details of licensing are also on the website.