I've been working on a project, and have been charged with designing the projects GUI front-end. I'm coding in Java and using the Swing toolkit. Usability-wise, the GUI front-end follows all of Nielsen's heuristics. Users can easily get to where they want to go through the click of a button / JComboBox. Essentially, in Swing terms, what happens is their actions drive the creation/deletion of custom panels.
The GUI is coming along fine for the most part. However, I have to admit to being utterly dismayed at the tight web of dependencies my code is being smothered in.
The main problem that I've encountered, that I haven't been able to fix as of yet, is how to keep a reference to the panels/buttons being changed.
I'll give an example:
Say there's a button A
Say there's a panel B displaying picture C
Say there's another picture D (not currently being displayed by panel B)
When user clicks A, panel B should remove picture C and display picture D
My question is, what's the best way of keeping track of panel B? Since I need a global point of access to panel B, my solution has so far been to just shoehorn it into a static variable, and access it through a series of static getters and setters. And this static variable is usually stored in the reference's original class. I.e. UserPanel has a static variable that stores a reference to itself.
Is there an easy, tried-and-true way of dealing with these kinds of situations? Like my GUI works fine, but it is not modular and/or robust at all. To add to this, the dreaded 'cyclical dependencies' issue that's shunned by so many programmers is out here in full effect. I'm fairly new to development and just want to make sure that my code will be fairly extensible and won't cause much of a headache to the next person that decides to get a try at it.
I know there's loads of books out there that probably have a nice elegant solution to this, but unfortunately I just don't have the time to leisure read right now. I need something that's quick and dirty.
Thanks in advance