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Trigger processing after a period of inactivity

This post shows how to use ReactFX to defer processing of user input until a specified period of user’s inactivity. This is useful, for example, to trigger spell checking or syntax highlighting after the user hasn’t typed anything for, say, 500ms. Another use-case, which we use in this post, is real-time HTML rendering of user input.

EDIT: Edited on 25 April 2014 to use the latest ReactFX API.

Imagine an application with a TextArea for raw HTML input and a WebView where this HTML is rendered in real time.

TextArea textArea = new TextArea();
WebView webView = new WebView();
WebEngine engine = webView.getEngine();

To set up real-time rendering of raw HTML input, you would normally do this:

        (obs, oldHtml, newHtml) -> engine.loadContent(newHtml));

This works fine, but it causes the HTML to be re-rendered on every keystroke.


Let’s render the HTML only after the input hasn’t changed for 500 milliseconds. This will relieve your CPU quite a bit.


This is how to achieve this with ReactFX:

1 EventStreams.valuesOf(textArea.textProperty())
2         .successionEnds(Duration.ofMillis(500))
3         .subscribe(html -> engine.loadContent(html));


  1. The first line creates an event stream that emits the new value of input every time the input text changes.

  2. The second line creates an event stream that retains only the last event of each succession of temporally close events. Two successive events are said to be temporally close if, in this case, they arrive within 500 milliseconds from each other.

  3. The third line says that whenever a value (raw HTML) is emitted from the second stream, we pass it to the web engine for rendering.

Full example

import java.time.Duration;

import javafx.application.Application;
import javafx.scene.Scene;
import javafx.scene.control.SplitPane;
import javafx.scene.control.TextArea;
import javafx.scene.web.WebEngine;
import javafx.scene.web.WebView;
import javafx.stage.Stage;

import org.reactfx.EventStreams;

public class DeferredHtmlRendering extends Application {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

    public void start(Stage primaryStage) {
        TextArea textArea = new TextArea();
        WebView webView = new WebView();
        WebEngine engine = webView.getEngine();

                .subscribe(html -> engine.loadContent(html));

        SplitPane root = new SplitPane();
        root.getItems().addAll(textArea, webView);
        Scene scene = new Scene(root);
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