lcdui: ChoiceGroup vs List

lcdui is the ‘GUI’ that is provided with j2me for environments like cell phones. The second version of the API, MIDP2.0, has been cleaned up some with respect to MIDP1.0, but since I want to target as wide a range of devices as possible, I need to make Hecl work as well as possible within the limitations of MIDP1.0.

The latest problem I have encountered is the differences between the List and ChoiceGroup widgets. These are supposed to provide radio buttons or checkboxes, depending on which attributes you specify, with List being the “full screen” version, and ChoiceGroup being an Item that can be included as one component of a form. Form items can register for callbacks via itemStateListener, which is called when the form item’s state changes. Lists do not have this capability though, so you have no way to register callbacks when a List item is selected or deselected.

To remedy this, I decided that I’d just make my own ‘full screen list’ by creating a form with one ChoiceGroup, which works something like this:

public class ListBox extends Form {
    public ChoiceGroup cg = null;

    public ListBox(String title, int choicetype, String []choices) {
        cg = new ChoiceGroup("", choicetype, choices, null);

    public int append(String item) {
        return cg.append(item, null);

some details ommitted, but that’s the idea. So far, it seems to be working exactly as I needed – I was able to define a callback that performs an action when all checkboxes were checked.

The only thing I can think of that I’d need an actual List for is to define some sort of menu that performs some action when an entry is selected, via the IMPLICIT Choice type.

Apparently, this problem with List’s has been fixed in MIDP2.0, but… there are a lot of phones on sale that still ship 1.0, so it’s going to be with us for a while yet.

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