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marți, 28 iulie 2015

Indeterminate checkboxes with JSF and OmniFaces

Note The indeterminate state of a checkbox is visual only.

Checkboxes can be submitted as checked or unchecked, but visually there are actually three states a checkbox can be in: checked, unchecked, or indeterminate, as in the below figure:

The indeterminate state is useful when we deal with nested checkboxes. Practically, each checkbox that have children is checked if all of its children are checked, and is indeterminate ("partially" checked) if at least one of its children is unchecked.

Note The indeterminate state cannot be set via HTML, is not an HTML attribute for it. It is a property of checkboxes though, which you can change via JavaScript.

The Indeterminate Checkboxes article covers this topic for pure HTML and JavaScript. The JavaScript presented there is used next for writing an example of indeterminate checkboxes based on JSF and OmniFaces Tree component. Since we are talking about a checkboxes hierarchical structure (see picture above), we can shape it as an OmniFaces Tree as below (a CheckItem instance encapsulates a checkbox information):

public class CheckItem implements Serializable {
 private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
 private String label;
 private boolean value;

 public CheckItem(String label, boolean value) {
  this.label = label;
  this.value = value;

 // getters and setters

And the CheckBean shapes an hierarchy of CheckItems:

public class ChecksBean implements Serializable {

 private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
 private TreeModel<CheckItem> tree;

 public void init() {
  tree = new ListTreeModel<>();

  tree.addChild(new CheckItem("Install", false))
      .addChild(new CheckItem("Demos", false))
      .getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Development", false))
      .addChild(new CheckItem("Simple", false))
      .getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Advanced", false))
      .getParent().getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Debug", false))
      .getParent().getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Repair", false))
      .addChild(new CheckItem("Demos", false))
      .getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Tools", false))
      .getParent().addChild(new CheckItem("Kit", false));

 public TreeModel<CheckItem> getTree() {
  return tree;

Further we display the hierarchy via a JSF page:

 <o:tree value="#{checksBean.tree}" var="t">
      <h:selectBooleanCheckbox id="checkboxId" value="#{t.value}"/>
      <h:outputLabel for="checkboxId">#{t.label}</h:outputLabel>
      <o:treeInsertChildren />
 <h:commandButton value="Submit">           
  <f:ajax execute="@form" render=":panelId"/>

Finally, we just add the JavaScript code from the IndeterminateCheckboxes article. This is based on jQuery, but you can rewrite it as plain JavaScript:

$(function () {
  $('input[type="checkbox"]').change(function (e) {
    var checked = $(this).prop("checked"),
                  container = $(this).parent(),
                  siblings = container.siblings();

     indeterminate: false,
     checked: checked

    function checkSiblings(el) {
     var parent = el.parent().parent(),
        all = true;

        el.siblings().each(function () {
         return all = ($(this).children('input[type="checkbox"]').prop("checked") === checked);
        if (all && checked) {
             indeterminate: false,
             checked: checked
        } else if (all && !checked) {
            parent.children('input[type="checkbox"]').prop("checked", checked);
            parent.children('input[type="checkbox"]').prop("indeterminate", (parent.find('input[type="checkbox"]:checked').length > 0));
        } else {
             indeterminate: true,
             checked: false


Just for testing I have displayed another tree (with ID, panelId) as below:

The complete source code is available on GitHub.

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