GUI Programming using NetBeans

Report
GUI Programming
using NetBeans
What is a GUI ?
• GUI – Graphical User Interface
• The (visual) interface between humans and
computers
• Ranging from command lines to ”Minority
Report” – style GUI
• Why? Makes interfaces more intuitive – most
humans don’t like command lines…
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GUI Programming
• Creating a proper GUI can be as important –
and large – a task as creating the logic
• Quite a lot of topics in GUI programming
– Human perception
– Task analysis
– User analysis
– Actual programming
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Simple GUI - example
Text label
Text Field
(input)
Text Field
(output)
Pushbutton
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Elements in a GUI
• A GUI is usually composed by controls
• A control can be a
– Text field (enabled, disabled)
– Pushbutton (OK, Cancel,…)
– List box (multiple items to choose from)
– Check box (yes-or-no)
–…
• Many types of GUI controls
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Starting simple…
• For now, we will limit
ourselves to just a few
GUI controls:
– Text label
– Text field
– List
– Check box
– Pushbutton
– Picture
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Text labels
• Probably the simplest control of all…
• Usually just used for adding ”static” text – text
that does not change – to the GUI
• Such texts will typically be ”helper text” for
other controls
• No code needed!
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Text labels
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Text field
• Two common purposes:
– Allow the user to enter data as text
– Display text data to the user
• A text field can be ”enabled” or ”disabled”
– Enabled: Data can be entered
– Disabled: Data can only be displayed
• At some point we need to set or extract the
text from the text field
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Text field
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List box
• Essentially serves the same purpose as a text
field – get text input from user
• However, in some situations we may only
allow certain inputs, for instance members of
a set of legal input
• When using a list control, the user can only
select an item from the list
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List box
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Check box
• In some cases, the set of possible choices is
limited to two options
• Often a case of either/or, or perhaps on/off
• A Checkbox can only be in two states; checked
or unchecked
• Nice fit for binary choices
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Check box
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Pushbutton
• A pushbutton is usually used to start some
kind of processing of data
• The ”input” is simply the user clicking on the
pushbutton!
• Typical use: ”Now my input is ready, do
something with it!”
• We all know the ”OK” button 
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Pushbutton
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Picture
• Related to text labels – does not really have
any functionality, but should be helpful for the
user
• Increases ”recognisability” – the user can see
that (s)he is at the right place
• When programming in NetBeans, a picture is
just a special kind of text label…
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Picture
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GUI construction
• In general, we have two options when
constructing a GUI
– Build it ”by hand” using Swing API
– Use the NetBeans GUI Builder
• Using the GUI Builder is usually much easier
than hand-coding the GUI
• Does not give you complete control,
however…
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GUI construction
• Swing is a class library for creating GUIs in Java
• Quite large…
• API: See package javax.swing in the Java
documentation
• Tutorial:http://docs.oracle.com/javase/tutoria
l/uiswing/components/index.html
• Most classes begin with ”J”…
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GUI construction
• If you wish to construct a GUI manually using
Swing, you usually begin by creating a JFrame
• A JFrame object is essentially an empty
window, into which you can add containers for
GUI controls
• Typically, you add a JPanel to the frame – the
JPanel object contains the actual GUI controls
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GUI construction
public static void main(String[] args)
{
JFrame theFrame = new JFrame();
theFrame.setBounds(200, 200, 720, 450);
theFrame.setVisible(true);
JPanel thePanel = new JPanel();
theFrame.add(thePanel);
}
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GUI construction
• On the JPanel object, various layout strategies
can be used
– Flow layout – left to right
– Border layout – groups into areas
– Grid layout – groups into a grid
• Border layout is default, and also most
commonly used
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GUI construction
• Using border layout,
the panel is divided
into five areas
– Center
– North
– South
– East
– West
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GUI construction
• If a control is put into an area, it will expand to
fill out the area
• Good when resizing, but may look weird…
• If you need a finer level of control, put a panel
inside a panel…
• …or maybe consider a different layout
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GUI construction
public static void main(String[] args)
{
JFrame theFrame = new JFrame();
theFrame.setBounds(200, 200, 240, 150);
theFrame.setVisible(true);
JPanel thePanel = new JPanel();
thePanel.setLayout(new BorderLayout());
thePanel.add(new Button("Center"), BorderLayout.CENTER);
theFrame.add(thePanel);
}
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Exercise time
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Text field
• Two common purposes:
– Allow the user to enter data as text
– Display text data to the user
• A text field can be ”enabled” or ”disabled”
– Enabled: Data can be entered
– Disabled: Data can only be displayed
• At some point we need to set or extract the
text from the text field
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Text field
JFrame theFrame = new JFrame();
theFrame.setBounds(200, 200, 300, 300);
JPanel thePanel = new JPanel();
thePanel.setLayout(new BorderLayout());
JTextField theTextField = new JTextField();
thePanel.add(theTextField, BorderLayout.NORTH);
theFrame.add(thePanel);
theFrame.setVisible(true);
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Text field
Text
field
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Text field
• Enabling a text field
theTextField.setEditable(true);
• Disabling a text field
theTextField.setEditable(false);
• Setting the text in a text field
theTextField.setText("Greeting earthlings!");
• Getting the text from a text field
String s = theTextField.getText();
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List box / Combo box
• A list (or combo) box enables the user to
choose an option between many alternatives
• List box: User can only choose between
specified alternatives
• Combo box: User can choose between
specified alternatives, or specify choice
manually (type it in)
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List box / Combo box
Object[] choices =
{"One", "Two", "Three", "Four"};
JComboBox theBox = new JComboBox(choices);
theBox.setEditable(true);
thePanel.add(theBox, BorderLayout.NORTH);
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List box / Combo box
Combo box
(editable)
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List box / Combo box
• Enabling a Combo box
theBox.setEditable(true);
• Disabling a Combo box
theBox.setEditable(false);
• Setting the selection in a Combo box
theBox.setSelectedItem(”Three");
• Getting the selection from a Combo box
String s = (String)theBox.getSelectedItem();
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Check boxes
• In some cases, the set of possible choices is
limited to two options
• Often a case of either/or, or perhaps on/off
• A Check box can only be in two states;
checked or unchecked
• Nice fit for binary choices
SWC
Check boxes
JCheckBox theBBox = new JCheckBox("Bold");
JCheckBox theIBox = new JCheckBox("Italic");
JCheckBox theUBox = new JCheckBox("Underline");
thePanel.add(theBBox,BorderLayout.WEST);
thePanel.add(theIBox,BorderLayout.NORTH);
thePanel.add(theUBox,BorderLayout.EAST);
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Check boxes
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Check boxes
• Enabling a Check box
theCBox.setEnabled(true);
• Disabling a Check box
theCBox.setEnabled(false);
• Setting the selection in a Check box
theCBox.setSelected(isSelected);
• Getting the selection from a Check box
boolean isSelected = theCBox.isSelected();
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Radio buttons
• If the number of choices is few, and they are
mutually exclusive, use a group of Radio
buttons
• Only one button in a group of Radio buttons
can be selected
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Radio buttons
JRadioButton small = new JRadioButton("Small");
JRadioButton medium = new JRadioButton("Medium");
JRadioButton large = new JRadioButton("Large");
ButtonGroup theGroup = new ButtonGroup();
theGroup.add(small);
theGroup.add(medium);
theGroup.add(large);
JPanel theRadioPanel = new JPanel();
theRadioPanel.setLayout(new FlowLayout());
theRadioPanel.add(small);
theRadioPanel.add(medium);
theRadioPanel.add(large);
thePanel.add(theRadioPanel, BorderLayout.NORTH);
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Radio buttons
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Radio buttons
• Enabling a Radio button
theRB.setEnabled(true);
• Disabling a Radio button
theRB.setEnabled(false);
• Setting the selection in a Radio button
theRB.setSelected(isSelected);
• Getting the selection from a Radio button
boolean isSelected = theRB.isSelected();
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Radio buttons
• Note that even though only one
Radio button in a group can be
selected, we must call
isSelected() until we find it…
• Putting Radio buttons in a group
does not make them appear
grouped visually
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Exercise time
SWC
Menus
• Pull-down menu is a classic choice for
choosing between options that have a
hierarchical structure – menus form a
hierarchy
• Usually only one main menu in an
application; possible choices may vary
depending on current circumstances
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Menus
• Swing menu classes:
• JMenuBar – the actual menu bar, attached to
a frame window
• JMenu – an element in the menu bar, with
other menus or menu items in it.
• JMenuItem – a specific choice, with no subchoices
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Menus
• ”A menu bar contains
menus”
• ”A menu contains other
menus and menu items”
• ”A menu item just
contains itself”
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Menus
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Menus
• How to create a menu bar
– Create a JMenuBar object
• JMenuBar theMenuBar = new JMenuBar();
– Add all relevant menus to the menu bar
– Attach the menu bar to the main frame of the
application
• frame.setJMenuBar(theMenuBar);
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Menus
• How to add menus to the menu bar
– Create relevant menus, like
• JMenu borrowerMenu = new
JMenu(”Borrower”);
– Add other menus or menu item to the menu
– Add the menu to the menu bar
• theMenuBar.add(borrowerMenu);
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Menus
• How to add other (sub)menus to a menu
– Create relevant menus, like
• JMenu borrowerManageMenu = new
JMenu(”Manage Borrower”);
– Add other menus or menu item to the menu
– Add the menu to the relevant menu
• borrowerMenu.add(borrowerManageMenu);
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Menus
• How to add menu items to a menu
– Create relevant menu items, like
• JMenuItem borrowerDeleteMenuItem =
new JMenuItem(”Delete Borrower”);
– Add the menu item to the relevant menu
• borrowerManageMenu.add(borrowerDelete
MenuItem);
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Menus
• You can do some more ”fun” – and maybe
even useful – things with menus:
– Add images
– Define accelerator keys
– Use controls in menus (radio buttons, check
boxes,…)
• Explore the documentation, but only use
features that are indeed useful…
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Exercise time
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The concept of events
• On the inside (code), GUI code
has a very different structure
than ”usual” code
• Usual code is driven by conditions and various control
structures (if, while,…)
• GUI code is driven by events
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The concept of events
• Execution of GUI code is much more
unpredictable than for usual code
• We cannot predict – or dictate – what the user
does, so we must always handle any possible
action the user can do
• A user action related to the GUI is called an
event
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The concept of events
• Almost all actions the user performs will
”trigger” an event for us to handle
– Moving the mouse
– Clicking on a button
– Writing text in a text box
– ….and so on
• There are hundreds of possible events!
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The concept of events
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The concept of events
• Fortunately, is it optional to
respond to an event
• We only need to do so, if we
want any special action to
happen
• If that is the case, we must
write an event handler for
that particular event
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Relevant events
• Unless we need more sophisticated behavior,
we only need to handle two types of events
– Choosing a menu item
– Clicking on a push button
• In both cases, we must create an object which
can listen for events from the control in
question
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Relevant events
• An event listener class must implement a
…Listener interface (there are several)
• From pushbuttons and menu items, we get
”action events”, so a listener class must
implement the ActionListener interface
• This interface has a single method:
actionPerformed
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Relevant events
public class MyListener implements ActionListener
{
public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent event)
{
System.out.println("Button clicked");
}
}
private ActionListener theListener;
theListener = new MyListener();
...
JButton theButton = new JButton("Click Me!");
theButton.addActionListener(theListener);
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Relevant events
• A very common dialog construction:
– Add an ”OK” button
– In the event listener for the button
• Retrieve data from the relevant controls
• Process the data
• Close the dialog (maybe)
• Pressing ”OK” means: ”Now my input is ready,
do something with it!”
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Exercise time
SWC
GUI Development in NetBeans
• Manual GUI programming is somewhat
difficult and tedious
• Unless you need something special, use the
NetBeans GUI Builder!
• Enables you to ”drag-and-drop” controls into a
pane, create event handler methods almost
automatically, etc.
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GUI Development in NetBeans
• We will often start out by creating a ”main”
frame for the application
• This frame could be called e.g. AppFrame
• This frame will only contain a menu, to open
other – use-case specific – frames
• Could e.g. also contain a logo, but should not
contain controls as such
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GUI Development in NetBeans
Choose New |
JFrame Form
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GUI Development in NetBeans
Name, etc as
usual…
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GUI Development in NetBeans
Palette of
controls
Frame
properties
Graphical view
of frame
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GUI Development in NetBeans
You can switch between
”Design” view and
”Source” view
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GUI Development in NetBeans
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GUI Development in NetBeans
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GUI Development in NetBeans
• Looks somewhat confusing at first…
• Good news is: You can literaly drag controls
onto the frame, move them around, adjust
their size, alignment, etc.
• Code that implements your ”design” is
automatically generated!
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GUI Development in NetBeans
• Once we add a control, we can
– Give the variable representing the control a
suitable name
– Graphically move, resize, etc. the control
– Set various properties for the control
– Also, we can add event handlers to a control
• While all this goes on, Java code is being
generated for us
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GUI Development in NetBeans
Choosing this will
generate an (empty)
event handler method
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GUI Development in NetBeans
As said, fill in the code
to execute when the
button is clicked!
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GUI Development in NetBeans
• Once we add the event handler, it cannot be
removed!
• However, we can always change the code
• In a sense, the event handler is always there;
we just make it visible…
• In general, we are not allowed to change the
automatically generated code
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GUI Development in NetBeans
• Simplistic GUIs often work as follows:
– Fill in data in the controls
– Press the OK button
– Data is ”dealt with” (sent to a handler, etc.)
• The only code we need to write is the event
handler for pressing the OK button
• In the event handler, data is retrieved from
the other controls
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GUI Development in NetBeans
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GUI Development in NetBeans
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GUI Development in NetBeans
private void jButtonDoneActionPerformed(
java.awt.event.ActionEvent evt)
{
String name = jTextFieldName.getText();
String job = jListJob.getSelectedValue().toString();
boolean isMale = jCheckBoxMale.isSelected();
String gender;
if (isMale)
gender = "Male";
else
gender = "Female";
String announce = name + " , " + gender + " , " + job;
JOptionPane.showMessageDialog(null, announce);
}
RHS – SOC
82
Exercise time
SWC
GUI Development guide
• No two applications will
need the same GUI…
• ..but a typical 1. or
2.semester application
will usually follow a
certain pattern
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GUI Development guide
• What should the application be able to do…?
– Probably some generic tasks (Quit, Help,…)
– General data management (Load, Save,…)
– Implement use cases!
– Uses cases often fall in groups according to their
purposes (maybe a Customer-related group, a
Boat-related group, etc.)
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GUI Development guide
• The set of tasks can be used to outline a menu
structure, like e.g.
– File (Load, Save, Quit,…)
– Customer (Register, Delete, View All, …)
– Boat (Register, Delete, View All)
– Rental (Create, Delete, View All,…)
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GUI Development guide
• Create a main frame
for the application,
and add a menu bar
with proper menus
• Do this using the NetBeans GUI builder
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GUI Development guide
• Create an event handler for each menu item,
create and display the proper frame in the
event handler
private void jMenuItemRegisterBoatActionPerformed
(java.awt.event.ActionEvent evt)
{
JFrame theRegBoatFrame = new RegisterBoatFrame();
theRegBoatFrame.setVisible(true);
}
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GUI Development guide
• Create frames with
controls for each of
the Use Cases, again
using the GUI builder
• Remember to give
the control variables
proper names 
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GUI Development guide
• In each Use Case – specific frame, retrieve
data from controls, do e.g. conversions and
validation if needed, and forward data to
business logic
• The above is usually done when the user clicks
an ”OK”/”Register”/”Done” button
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GUI Development guide
• Create an event handler for the button, and
do data retrieval, conversion, validation and
forwarding in the event handler
private void jButtonRegisterBoatActionPerformed
(java.awt.event.ActionEvent evt)
{
// Retrieve data from controls, etc..
}
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GUI Development guide
• Remember that even though the code for a
frame is auto-generated, you can still e.g. add
instance fields to the class and parameters to
the constructor
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GUI Development guide
• Typical use: Give a reference to the ”System”
class to the frame in its constructor, so it can
be used for calling a proper method in the
”System” class with the retrieved data
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GUI Development guide
// Code in red added manually
public class RegisterBoatFrame extends javax.swing.JFrame
{
private BoatRentalSystem theSystem;
public RegisterBoatFrame(BoatRentalSystem theSystem)
{
this.theSystem = theSystem;
initComponents();
}
...
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GUI Development guide
private void jButtonRegisterBoatActionPerformed
(java.awt.event.ActionEvent evt)
{
// Retrieve data from controls, etc..
theSystem.registerBoat(...);
}
GUI
App.
System
SWC
Handler

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