JavaFX 2 Tutorial - Part 6: Statistics Chart

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Screenshot AddressApp Part 6

Topics in Part 6

  • Creating a Statistics Chart to display birthday distribution.

Birthday Statistics

All our people in the AddressApp have a birthday. Wouldn't it be nice to have some statistics about when our people celebrate their birthday.

We'll use a Bar Chart containing a bar for each month. Each bar shows how many people have their birthday in that particular month.

The Statistics FXML View

  1. We start by creating a BirthdayStatistics.fxml file inside our ch.makery.address.view package (Right-click on package | New | other... | New FXML Document).
  2. Open the BirthdayStatistics.fxml file in Scene Builder.
  3. Select the root AnchorPane and set the Pref Width to 620 and the Pref Height to 450.
  4. Add a BarChart to the AnchorPane.
  5. Right-click on the BarChart and select Fit to Parent.
  6. Save the fxml file, go to Eclipse and refresh the project.

Before we'll come back to Scene Builder, we'll first create the controller and wire everything up in our MainApp.

The Statistics Controller

In the controller package ch.makery.address create a Java class called

Let's first take a look at the entire controller class before I start explaining:
package ch.makery.address;

import java.text.DateFormatSymbols;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.Calendar;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.Locale;

import javafx.collections.FXCollections;
import javafx.collections.ObservableList;
import javafx.fxml.FXML;
import javafx.scene.chart.BarChart;
import javafx.scene.chart.CategoryAxis;
import javafx.scene.chart.XYChart;
import ch.makery.address.model.Person;

 * The controller for the birthday statistics view.
 * @author Marco Jakob
public class BirthdayStatisticsController {

    private BarChart<String, Integer> barChart;

    private CategoryAxis xAxis;

    private ObservableList<String> monthNames = FXCollections.observableArrayList();

     * Initializes the controller class. This method is automatically called
     * after the fxml file has been loaded.
    private void initialize() {
        // Get an array with the English month names.
        String[] months = DateFormatSymbols.getInstance(Locale.ENGLISH).getMonths();
        // Convert it to a list and add it to our ObservableList of months.


     * Sets the persons to show the statistics for.
     * @param persons
    public void setPersonData(List<Person> persons) {
        int[] monthCounter = new int[12];
        for (Person p : persons) {
            int month = p.getBirthday().get(Calendar.MONTH);

        XYChart.Series<String, Integer> series = createMonthDataSeries(monthCounter);

     * Creates a XYChart.Data object for each month. All month data is then
     * returned as a series.
     * @param monthCounter Array with a number for each month. Must be of length 12!
     * @return
    private XYChart.Series<String, Integer> createMonthDataSeries(int[] monthCounter) {
        XYChart.Series<String,Integer> series = new XYChart.Series<String,Integer>();

        for (int i = 0; i < monthCounter.length; i++) {
            XYChart.Data<String, Integer> monthData = new XYChart.Data<String,Integer>(monthNames.get(i), monthCounter[i]);

        return series;

How the Controller Works

  1. The controller will need access to two elements from our FXML file:

    • The barChar: It has the type String and Integer. The String is used for the month on the x-axis and the Integer is used for the number of people in a specific month. We'll use the reference to the BarChart to set our data.
    • The xAxis: We'll use this to add the month Strings.
  2. The initialize() method fills the x-axis with a list of all the months.

  3. The setPersonData(...) method will be accessed by the MainApp class to set the person data. It loops through all persons and counts the birthdays per month.

  4. The createMonthDataSeries(...) method takes the array with a number for each month and creates the chart data. For each month a new XYChart.Data object is created with the month name and the number of people having their birthday in this month. Each XYChart.Data object will represent one bar in the chart.

Connecting View and Controller

  1. Open BirthdayStatistics.fxml in Scene Builder.
  2. Select the root AncherPane and add the BirthdayStatisticsController as controller (in Code View).
  3. Select the BarChart and choose barChart as fx:id Property.
  4. Select the CategoryAxis and choose xAxis as fx:id Property.
  5. You may add a title to the chart, remove the legend, etc. for further styling the chart.

Connecting the View/Controller with MainApp

We'll use the same mechanism for our birthday statistics that we used for the edit person dialog: A simple popup dialog containing.

Add the following method to your MainApp class:

 * Opens a dialog to show birthday statistics. 
public void showBirthdayStatistics() {
  try {
    // Load the fxml file and create a new stage for the popup
    FXMLLoader loader = new FXMLLoader(MainApp.class.getResource("view/BirthdayStatistics.fxml"));
    AnchorPane page = (AnchorPane) loader.load();
    Stage dialogStage = new Stage();
    dialogStage.setTitle("Birthday Statistics");
    Scene scene = new Scene(page);

    // Set the persons into the controller
    BirthdayStatisticsController controller = loader.getController();

  } catch (IOException e) {
    // Exception gets thrown if the fxml file could not be loaded

Everything is set up, but we don't have anyone who actually calls the new showBirthdayStatistics() method. Luckily we already have a menu in RootLayout.fxml that can be used for this purpose.

Show Birthday Statistics Menu

In your RootLayoutController add the following method which will handle user clicks on the show birthday statistics menu item:

 * Opens the birthday statistics.
private void handleShowBirthdayStatistics() {

Now, open the RootLayout.fxml file with Scene Builder.

Select the Show Statistics MenuItem and choose #handleShowBirthdayStatistics for On Action (in Code view)

On Action

Go to Eclipse, refresh the project and test it.

More Information on JavaFX Charts

A good place for more information is the official Oracle tutorial on Using JavaFX Charts.

What's Next?

In the last tutorial Part 7 we will finally deploy our application (i.e. package and deliver the app to our users).