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Scrolling, Mad Bee Style


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

Traditional scrolling schemes require a fair bit of hand-eye coordination to use them well. The best I have yet encountered, the wheel-mouse scheme used in Opera, still obscures your text with a black target. I would like you to try implementing my scrolling scheme in a modified TextArea.

I call it mad bee scrolling because the cursor bangs into the edges of the window, as if it were an angry insect trying to escape.

To scroll, you press the middle mouse button, then bang it into one of the four walls of the window. If you bang it into the top wall, you scroll up. The deeper you bang the cursor into the wall, the faster you go. As soon as you let go of the middle mouse button, or return the cursor to the central part of the window, the scrolling stops.

The difficulty is, I don’t think using only standard Java tools, you have the low level control of the cursor needed to confine it and to control its motion while in the wall so that you have to move the cursor a great distance to penetrate the wall even a little. You would likely have to resort to native classes to commandeer low level control of the mouse. It might be best to tackle this project on a platform that supports mouse confinement.

You also might zoom in a zoom out on some point by pressing and holding the left or right mouse button somewhere on the image. The idea is you see some detail of interest, and can easily zoom in for a look witout fiddling around with scrollbars to try to find it again at the new magnification.

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