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Important: This document is part of the Legacy section of the ADC Reference Library. This information should not be used for new development.

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Prompting the user with MRJQuitHandler

Q: My application needs to perform some closing actions when the user tries to quit using Command-Q or the application menu. How should I do that?

A: The expected behavior of any application on Mac OS X is to exit when encountering selection of the "Quit" item from the application menu, or its Command-Q keyboard equivalent. To satisfy such a requirement, all graphical Java applications on Mac OS X have this functionality provided automatically. It is possible, however, to execute code prior to the application's exit. To do so, you will need to register a class that implements the interface with your application. The class must provide an implementation of the handleQuit() method, and be registered with a call to MRJApplicationUtils.registerQuitHandler().

To prompt the user before quitting, whether it be to save unchanged work or to simply confirm the quit action as a safeguard, a dialog can be brought up from within handleQuit(). Based on the user's response, you must either:

  1. Quit the application by calling System.exit()
  2. Abort the quit process by throwing IllegalStateException

A problem existed on versions of Mac OS X prior to 10.2 where showing a modal dialog from handleQuit() resulted in a hang if both an MRJQuitHandler and an MRJAboutHandler were registered. The workaround for those earlier versions is to show the dialog on a separate thread. Note that this is not a problem on 10.2, and the workaround is not necessary (see below for more).

Please note that the handleQuit() method is for executing code before exiting. It should be assumed that when execution of handleQuit() completes, the application will exit. The javadocs for MRJQuitHandler state that to abort the quit, IllegalStateException must be thrown. This includes waiting on any pending execution on a separate thread, such as the workaround above. This way, you can control exactly when the application exits with System.exit(). If all of your cleanup logic is to be performed within handleQuit(), and there is no need to abort or delay the exit, there should be no need to throw IllegalStateException.

The code below demonstrates a sample application that properly implements the MRJQuitHandler and safely prompts the user for a quit confirmation on Mac OS X 10.1 and 10.2. Note that IllegalStateException is thrown in the example below to abort the quit while the separate thread allows the user input to determine whether System.exit(0) should be called.

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;

public class MRJHandlerTest extends JFrame implements MRJQuitHandler {

    public MRJHandlerTest() {
        getContentPane().add(new JLabel(
            "<HTML><CENTER>To test the MRJQuitHandler, " +
            "select \"Quit MRJHandlerTest\" " +
            "from the application menu.</CENTER></HTML>"));

    public void handleQuit() {
        // Workaround for 2868805:  show modal dialogs in a separate thread.
        // This encapsulation is not necessary in 10.2, 
        // but will not break either.
        SwingUtilities.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
                // Show the dialog and act accordingly.
                int result = JOptionPane.showConfirmDialog(null,
                    "Do you really want to quit?",
                    "Really Quit?",
                if (result == JOptionPane.YES_OPTION) {

        // Throw IllegalStateException so new thread can execute.  
        // If showing dialog on this thread in 10.2, we would throw
        // upon JOptionPane.NO_OPTION
        throw new IllegalStateException("Quit Pending User Confirmation");

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        new MRJHandlerTest().setVisible(true);

Listing 1. Proper use of MRJQuitHandler.

[Aug 13 2002]

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