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Table views in the ONOS Web UI are supported by java code running on the server. See the Creating a Tabular View tutorial for details on implementing a table view.

When the Table Builder Service is used to create the client-side code for a table view, "data request" events will be sent to the server automatically:

  • when the table view is first loaded
  • every 2 seconds, if auto-refresh is enabled
  • every time a column header is clicked (for a new sort order)

The typical structure of a table request handler on the server side can be seen in the tutorial

This page will focus on how to customize the default behavior. 

Default Behavior

By default, a TableModel instance is created for you, which uses a default Formatter and default Comparator for each table column.

When a request is made for table data, a list of items is retrieved from the business layer; each item corresponding to a single row in the table. The columns of the table represent attributes of the item. Populating the table model involves iterating over the list of items to add new TableModel.Row instances for each one. The cell(String columnId, Object value) method is used to associate an object with a particular column for that row. Typical code might look like this:

    protected void populateTable(TableModel tm, ObjectNode payload) {
        FooService fs = get(FooService.class);
        for (Foo foo : fs.getFoos()) {
            populateRow(tm.addRow(), foo);
    private void populateRow(TableModel.Row row, Foo foo) {
                .cell(BAZ, foo.baz())
                .cell(DESC, foo.description());


Once the table model has been constructed and populated, the table rows are sorted (based on selected column and sort direction), and then the model is converted into a JSON representation to be shipped back to the client for displaying in the table view.


The default cell comparator compares objects in a column by looking to see if the objects implement the Comparable<T> interface:

  • if they do, delegate to the compareTo() method
  • if they do not, convert the objects with toString() and then compare

This has the advantage of using the natural sort order for objects where the comparable behavior has already been implemented.


The default cell formatter simply invokes the toString() method on each object, to generate the string representation to be displayed in the table cell.

Customizing the Behavior

But what if a particular object does not implement Comparable<T>, and sorting by string representation would produce an undesirable ordering? And what if the toString() of an object is not appropriate for display? Fortunately, you can override the default behavior and provide your own comparators and formatters.

The createTableModel() method in your TableRequestHandler should be overridden to look something like this:

    protected TableModel createTableModel() {
        TableModel tm = super.createTableModel();
        tm.setComparator(BAR, new BarComparator());  // see Comparators section below
        tm.setFormatter(BAZ, new BazFormatter());    // see Formatters section below
        return tm;

The setComparator() and setFormatter() methods are invoked to explicitly set the cell comparator and cell formatter instances to use for objects in the specific columns. All other columns will fall back to the default comparator and formatter.

Custom Cell Comparator

A custom comparator would be defined something like this, (typically as a private inner class in your table request handler):

private static class BarComparator extends AbstractCellComparator {
    protected int nonNullCompare(Object o1, Object o2) {
        Bar b1 = (Bar) o1;
        Bar b2 = (Bar) o2;
        // get some property from o1
        // compare to the same property from o2
        // return ...
        //   * a negative value, if o1 < o2
        //   * zero, if o1 == o2
        //   * a positive value, if o1 > o2

        return ... ;

Note that the AbstractCellComparator takes care of null values and guarantees that o1 and o2 will both be non-null if this method is called.

Note that null values are permitted in the table model cells, and are treated as "smaller" than non-null values.

Custom Cell Formatter

A custom formatter might be defined something like this, (typically as a private inner class in your table request handler):

private static class BazFormatter extends AbstractCellFormatter {
    protected String nonNullFormat(Object value) {
        Baz b = (Baz) value;
        return b.toDisplayString();

Once again, the value parameter is guaranteed to be non-null, if the AbstractCellFormatter invokes this method.

Out of the Box Formatters

A number of formatters are already defined and available for your use. See the org.onosproject.ui.table.cell package:

FormatterValue ClassFormat DescriptionExample
AppIdFormatterApplicationId"(app-id) : (app-name)""47 : onos-app-uiref"
ConnectPointFormatterConnectPoint"(element ID)/(port)""00:00:00:00:00:00:00:01/5"
EnumFormatterEnum<?>Replaces _ with space and capitalizes the resultSomeEnum.DO_SOMETHING → "Do Something"
HexFormatterIntegerPrefix with "0x" and converted to hex20 → "0x14"

Uses a java.text.DecimalFormat with pattern "#,##0.00000"

1234.56 → "1,234.56000"
TimeFormatter**DateTimeUses a DateTimeFormatter

new DateTime(2015, 5, 4, 15, 30) → "3:30:00 PM UTC"

*Using the NumberFormatter no-args constructor; a java.text.NumberFormat instance can also be provided.

**Note that Locale and TimeZone can also be set on the formatter.








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