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Grouping Actions

If an implementation requires several actions, or there are simply too many actions that overload the menu, the actions can be placed into groups. This tutorial demonstrates adding an action to an existing group, creating a new action group, and action groups with a variable number of actions. The sample code discussed in this tutorial is from the code sample action_basics.

Some content in this tutorial assumes the reader is familiar with the tutorial for Creating Actions.

Simple Action Groups

In this first example, the action group will be available as a top-level menu item, and actions are represented as drop-down menu items. The group is based on a default IntelliJ Platform implementation.

Creating Simple Groups

Grouping can be registered by adding a <group> element to the <actions> section of a plugin's plugin.xml file. This example has no class attribute in the <group> element because the IntelliJ Platform framework will supply a default implementation class for the group. This default implementation is used if a set of actions belonging to the group is static, i.e., does not change at runtime, which is the majority of cases. The id attribute must be unique, so incorporating the plugin ID or package name is the best practice.

The popup attribute determines whether actions in the group are placed in a submenu. The icon attribute specifies the FQN of an Icon object to be displayed. No compact attribute is specified, which means this group will support submenus. See Registering Actions in plugin.xml for more information about these attributes.

<group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupedActions" text="Static Grouped Actions" popup="true" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> </group>

Binding Action Groups to UI Components

The following sample shows how to use an <add-to-group> element to place a custom action group relative to an entry in the Tools menu. The attribute relative-to-action references the action id for PopupDialogAction, not a native IntelliJ menu entry. Rather PopupDialogAction is defined in the same plugin.xml file. This group is placed after the single entry for the action PopupDialogAction, as defined in the tutorial Creating Actions.

<group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupedActions" text="Static Grouped Actions" popup="true" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> <add-to-group group-id="ToolsMenu" anchor="after" relative-to-action="org.intellij.sdk.action.PopupDialogAction"/> </group>

Adding a New Action to the Static Grouped Actions

The PopupDialogAction implementation will be reused and registered in the newly created static group. The id attribute for the reused PopupDialogAction implementation is set to a unique value, org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupPopDialogAction. This value differentiates this new <action> entry from the id previously used to register this action implementation in the Creating Actions tutorial. A unique id supports reuse of action classes in more than one menu or group. The action in this group will display the menu text "A Group Action".

<group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupedActions" text="Static Grouped Actions" popup="true" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> <add-to-group group-id="ToolsMenu" anchor="after" relative-to-action="org.intellij.sdk.action.PopupDialogAction"/> <action class="org.intellij.sdk.action.PopupDialogAction" id="org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupPopDialogAction" text="A Group Action" description="SDK static grouped action example" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> </action> </group>

After performing the steps described above, the action group and its content will be available in the Tools menu. The underlying PopupDialogAction implementation is reused for two entries in the Tools menu:

  • Once for the top menu entry Tools | Pop Dialog Action with the action id equal to org.intellij.sdk.action.PopupDialogAction as set in the Creating Actions tutorial.

  • A second time for the menu entry Tools | Static Grouped Actions | A Group Action with the action id equal to org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupPopDialogAction.

Simple Action Group

Implementing Custom Action Group Classes

In some cases, the specific behavior of a group of actions needs to depend on the context. The solution is analogous to making a single action entry dependent on context.

The steps below show how to make a group of actions available and visible if certain conditions are met. In this case, the condition is having an instance of an editor is available. This condition is needed because the custom action group is added to an IntelliJ menu that is only enabled for editing.

Extending DefaultActionGroup

The DefaultActionGroup is an implementation of ActionGroup. The DefaultActionGroup class is used to add child actions and separators between them to a group. This class is used if a set of actions belonging to the group does not change at runtime.

As an example, extend DefaultActionGroup to create the CustomDefaultActionGroup class in the action_basics code sample:

public class CustomDefaultActionGroup extends DefaultActionGroup { @Override public void update(AnActionEvent event) { // Enable/disable depending on whether user is editing... } }

Registering the Custom Action Group

As in the case with the static action group, the action <group> should be declared in the <actions> section of the plugin.xml file, for example, the action_basics plugin. For demonstration purposes, this implementation will use localization.

The <group> element declaration below shows:

  • An optional resource bundle declaration outside of the <actions> section for localizing actions.

  • The presence of the class attribute in the <group> element tells the IntelliJ Platform framework to use CustomDefaultActionGroup rather than the default implementation.

  • Setting the group's popup attribute to allow submenus.

  • The text and description attributes are omitted in the <group> declaration in favor of using the localization resource bundle to define them.

  • There is no icon attribute for the group; the CustomDefaultActionGroup implementation will add an icon for the group.

  • The <add-to-group> element specifies adding the group in the first position of the existing EditorPopupMenu.

<resource-bundle>messages.BasicActionsBundle</resource-bundle> <actions> <group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup" class="org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup" popup="true"> <add-to-group group-id="EditorPopupMenu" anchor="first"/> </group> </actions>

Adding Actions to the Custom Group

As in Static Grouped Actions, the PopupDialogAction action is added as an <action> element in the <group> element. In the <action> element declaration below:

  • The class attribute in the <action> element has the same FQN to reuse this action implementation.

  • The id attribute is unique to distinguish it from other uses of the implementation in the Action System.

  • The text and description attributes are omitted in the <action> declaration; they are instead defined using the localization resource bundle.

  • The SDK icon is declared for use with this action.

<group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup" class="org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup" popup="true" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> <add-to-group group-id="EditorPopupMenu" anchor="first"/> <action id="org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomGroupedAction" class="org.intellij.sdk.action.PopupDialogAction" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"/> </group>

Now the translations for the text and description attributes must be provided in the resource bundle BasicActionsBundle.properties file according to Localizing Actions and Groups. Note there are two sets of text and description translations, one for the action and one for the group. Conceivably, there could be another set of translations for the action if it used the <override-text> attribute.

action.org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomGroupedAction.text=A Popup Action[en] action.org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomGroupedAction.description=SDK popup grouped action example[en] group.org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup.text=Popup Grouped Actions[en] group.org.intellij.sdk.action.CustomDefaultActionGroup.description=Custom defaultActionGroup demo[en]

Providing Specific Behavior for the Custom Group

Override the CustomDefaultActionGroup.update() method to make the group visible only if there's an instance of the editor available. Also, a custom icon is added to demonstrate that group icons can be changed depending on the action context:

public class CustomDefaultActionGroup extends DefaultActionGroup { @Override public void update(AnActionEvent event) { // Enable/disable depending on whether user is editing Editor editor = event.getData(CommonDataKeys.EDITOR); event.getPresentation().setEnabled(editor != null); // Take this opportunity to set an icon for the group. event.getPresentation().setIcon(SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon); } }

After compiling and running the code sample above and opening a file in the editor and right-clicking, the Editing menu will pop up containing a new group of actions in the first position. Note the group and actions come from the resource file as all contain the suffix "[en]". The new group will also have an icon:

Custom Action Group

Action Groups with Variable Actions Sets

If a set of actions belonging to a custom group varies depending on the context, the group must extend ActionGroup. The set of actions in the ActionGroup is dynamically defined.

Creating Variable Action Group

To create a group of actions with a variable number of actions, extend ActionGroup. For example, as in the action_basics class DynamicActionGroup code:

public class DynamicActionGroup extends ActionGroup { }

Registering a Variable Action Group

To register the dynamic menu group, a <group> attribute needs to be placed in the <actions> section of plugin .xml. When enabled, this group appears at the entry just below the Static Grouped Actions in the Tools menu:

<group id="org.intellij.sdk.action.DynamicActionGroup" class="org.intellij.sdk.action.DynamicActionGroup" popup="true" text="Dynamically Grouped Actions" description="SDK dynamically grouped action example" icon="SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon"> <add-to-group group-id="ToolsMenu" anchor="after" relative-to-action="org.intellij.sdk.action.GroupedActions"/> </group>

Adding Child Actions to the Dynamic Group

To add actions to the DynamicActionGroup, a non-empty array of AnAction instances should be returned from the DynamicActionGroup.getChildren() method. Here again, reuse the PopupDialogAction implementation. This use case is why PopupDialogAction overrides a constructor:

public class DynamicActionGroup extends ActionGroup { @NotNull @Override public AnAction[] getChildren(AnActionEvent e) { return new AnAction[]{ new PopupDialogAction("Action Added at Runtime", "Dynamic Action Demo", SdkIcons.Sdk_default_icon) }; } }

After providing the implementation of DynamicActionGroup and making it return a non-empty array of actions, the third position in the Tools menu will contain a new group of actions:

Dynamic Action Group
Last modified: 20 May 2021