Dialogs and Alerts

ScalaFX 8.0.40 added support for Alerts and Dialogs. The Dialog API allows for opening a dialog window and returning input from the user. The result can be as simple as the type of button used to close the dialog. A custom dialog allows for returning an arbitrary result.

Simple Alerts

There are several predefined dialogs called alerts that can be easily presented to the user.


The simplest alert can be shown with a single line of code:

 new Alert(AlertType.Information, "Hello Dialogs!!!").showAndWait()

Simple information alert

Typically, you will customize it a bit more:

new Alert(AlertType.Information) {
  title = "Information Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, an Information Dialog."
  contentText = "I have a great message for you!"

Information alert

initOwner() specifies the owner for a dialog. Its use is not required, but it is considered good style. Setting the owner for a dialog allows the dialog to use the same icon as the owner and, for modal dialogs, block the parent when the dialog is shown.

Here are some more ScalaFX examples of Alerts based on ones presented in the JavaFX Dialogs blog post.


Warning dialog:

new Alert(AlertType.Warning) {
  title = "Warning Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, an Warning Dialog."
  contentText = "Careful with the next step!"

Warning alert


Error dialog:

new Alert(AlertType.Error) {
  title = "Error Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, an Error Dialog."
  contentText = "Ooops, there was an error!"

Error alert


Alerts and dialogs can be used to query the user for information. Every alert returns the type of the button that was pressed to close the dialog. The simplest form of a query is a confirmation dialog that indicates whether the user pressed OK or Cancel. Strictly speaking, a dialog returns an Option containing the type of button pressed or None.

// Create and show confirmation alert
val alert = new Alert(AlertType.Confirmation) {
  title = "Confirmation Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, a Confirmation Dialog."
  contentText = "Are you ok with this?"

val result = alert.showAndWait()

// React to user's selectioon
result match {
  case Some(ButtonType.OK) => println("OK")
  case _                   => println("Cancel or closed")

Confirmation alert

A dialog can return any content; an example will be shown later. First, let us see how to use custom buttons in an alert.

Alerts with Custom Buttons

We can customize the buttons in an alert by defining ButtonType objects and passing them to the Alert’s buttonTypes property. Notice that we overwrite the content of the property (rather than append to it):

    val ButtonTypeOne = new ButtonType("One")
    val ButtonTypeTwo = new ButtonType("Two")
    val ButtonTypeThree = new ButtonType("Three")

    val alert = new Alert(AlertType.Confirmation) {
      title = "Confirmation Dialog with Custom Actions"
      headerText = "Look, a Confirmation Dialog with Custom Actions."
      contentText = "Choose your option."
      // Note that we override here default dialog buttons, OK and Cancel,
      // with new ones.
      // We could also just add to existing button using `++=`.
      buttonTypes = Seq(
        ButtonTypeOne, ButtonTypeTwo, ButtonTypeThree, ButtonType.Cancel)

    val result = alert.showAndWait()

    result match {
      case Some(ButtonTypeOne)   => println("... user chose \"One\"")
      case Some(ButtonTypeTwo)   => println("... user chose \"Two\"")
      case Some(ButtonTypeThree) => println("... user chose \"Three\"")
      case _ => println("... user chose CANCEL or closed the dialog")

Custom Confirmation alert

Alerts with Custom Content

You are not limited to text in an alert. You can add your custom content. For instance, there is no predefined Alert for showing exceptions, but you can add your own implementation:

// Create expandable Exception.
val exceptionText = {
  val ex = new FileNotFoundException("Could not find file blabla.txt")
  val sw = new StringWriter()
  val pw = new PrintWriter(sw)
val label = new Label("The exception stacktrace was:")
 val textArea = new TextArea {
  text = exceptionText
  editable = false
  wrapText = true
  maxWidth = Double.MaxValue
  maxHeight = Double.MaxValue
  vgrow = Priority.Always
  hgrow = Priority.Always
val expContent = new GridPane {
  maxWidth = Double.MaxValue
  add(label, 0, 0)
  add(textArea, 0, 1)

new Alert(AlertType.Error) {
  title = "Exception Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, an Exception Dialog."
  contentText = "Could not find file blabla.txt!"
  // Set expandable Exception into the dialog pane.
  dialogPane().expandableContent = expContent

Alert with Custom Content

Text Input Dialog

The TextInputDialog is used to obtain simple text input. It works similar to alerts, but it returns an Option containing the text entered by the user:

val dialog = new TextInputDialog(defaultValue = "walter") {
  title = "Text Input Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, a Text Input Dialog."
  contentText = "Please enter your name:"

val result = dialog.showAndWait()

result match {
  case Some(name) => println("Your name: " + name)
  case None       => println("Dialog was canceled.")

Text Input Dialog

Choice Box Dialog

A ChoiceDialog is used for selecting from a list of available choices. The list can be a collection of arbitrary objects. The choice dialog returns an Option containing the item selected by the user.

val choices = Seq("a", "b", "c")

val dialog = new ChoiceDialog(defaultChoice = "b", choices = choices) {
  title = "Choice Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, a Choice Dialog."
  contentText = "Choose your letter:"

val result = dialog.showAndWait()

result match {
  case Some(choice) => println("Your choice: " + choice)
  case None         => println("No selection")

Choice Box Dialog

Custom Dialog

Custom dialogs can be easily created using the Dialog class. Below is an example that shows a login dialog. The Result class defines the result returned by the dialog. The dialog contains a custom graphic, two input fields (“Username” and “Password”), and custom buttons (“Login” and “Cancel”).

case class Result(username: String, password: String)

// Create the custom dialog.
val dialog = new Dialog[Result]() {
  title = "Login Dialog"
  headerText = "Look, a Custom Login Dialog"

// Set the button types.
val loginButtonType = new ButtonType("Login", ButtonData.OKDone)
dialog.dialogPane().buttonTypes = Seq(loginButtonType, ButtonType.Cancel)

// Create the username and password labels and fields.
val username = new TextField() {
  promptText = "Username"
val password = new PasswordField() {
  promptText = "Password"

val grid = new GridPane() {
  hgap = 10
  vgap = 10
  padding = Insets(20, 100, 10, 10)

  add(new Label("Username:"), 0, 0)
  add(username, 1, 0)
  add(new Label("Password:"), 0, 1)
  add(password, 1, 1)

// Enable/Disable login button depending on whether a username was
// entered.
val loginButton = dialog.dialogPane().lookupButton(loginButtonType)
loginButton.disable = true

// Do some validation (disable when username is empty).
username.text.onChange { (_, _, newValue) =>
  loginButton.disable = newValue.trim().isEmpty

dialog.dialogPane().content = grid

// Request focus on the username field by default.

// When the login button is clicked, convert the result to
// a username-password-pair.
dialog.resultConverter = dialogButton =>
  if (dialogButton == loginButtonType)
    Result(username.text(), password.text())

val result = dialog.showAndWait()

result match {
  case Some(Result(u, p)) => println("Username=" + u + ", Password=" + p)
  case None               => println("Dialog returned: None")

Custom Dialog


There are several predefined dialogs and alerts: Information, Warning, Error, Confirmation, Text Input, and Choice. The predefined dialogs allow some level of customization of their content and buttons. Source code for the examples of pre-defined dialogs including customization are in DialogsDemo. A completely customized dialog can be created using the Dialog class. Source code for a custom dialog is in LoginDialogDemo.