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<P>Provides interfaces that enable the development of input methods
that can be used with any Java runtime environment. Input methods are
software components that let the user enter text in ways other than
simple typing on a keyboard. They are commonly used to enter
Japanese, Chinese, or Korean - languages using thousands of different
characters - on keyboards with far fewer keys. However, this package
also allows the development of input methods for other languages and
the use of entirely different input mechanisms, such as handwriting
recognition.</P>

<H2><A NAME="package_specification"></A>Package Specification</H2>

<UL>
   <LI><B><A HREF="../../../../../technotes/guides/imf/spec.html">Input Method
   Framework Specification</A></B>
   
   <LI><B><A HREF="../../../../../technotes/guides/imf/spi-reference.html">Input
   Method Engine SPI Reference</A></B>
</UL>

<H4><A NAME="Packaging"></A>Packaging Input Methods</H4>

<P>Input methods are packaged as installed extensions, as specified
by the <A HREF="../../../../../technotes/guides/extensions/index.html">Extension
Mechanism</A>. The main JAR file of an input method must contain the
file:</P>

<PRE>    META-INF/services/java.awt.im.spi.InputMethodDescriptor</PRE>

<P>The file should contain a list of fully-qualified class names, one
per line, of classes implementing the
<CODE>java.awt.im.spi.InputMethodDescriptor</CODE> interface. Space
and tab characters surrounding each name, as well as blank lines, are
ignored. The comment character is <CODE>'#'</CODE>
(<CODE>\u0023</CODE>); on each line all characters following the
first comment character are ignored. The file must be encoded in
UTF-8.</P>

<P>For example, if the fully-qualified name of the class that
implements <CODE>java.awt.im.spi.InputMethodDesciptor</CODE> for the
<EM>Foo</EM> input method is
<CODE>com.sun.ime.FooInputMethodDescriptor</CODE>, the file
<CODE>META-INF/services/java.awt.im.spi.InputMethodDescriptor</CODE>
contains a line:</P>

<PRE>    com.sun.ime.FooInputMethodDescriptor</PRE>

<P>The input method must also provide at least two classes: one class
implementing the <CODE>java.awt.im.spi.InputMethodDescriptor</CODE>
interface, one class implementing the
<CODE>java.awt.im.spi.InputMethod</CODE> interface. The input method
should separate the implementations for these interfaces, so that
loading of the class implementing <CODE>InputMethod</CODE> can be
deferred until actually needed.</P>

<H4><A NAME="Loading"></A>Loading Input Methods</H4>

<P>The input method framework will usually defer loading of input
method classes until they are absolutely needed. It loads only the
<CODE>InputMethodDescriptor</CODE> implementations during AWT
initialization. It loads an <CODE>InputMethod</CODE> implementation
when the input method has been selected.</P>

<H4><A NAME="PeeredComponents"></A>Java Input Methods and Peered Text
Components</H4>

<P>The Java input method framework intends to support all
combinations of input methods (host input methods and Java input
methods) and components (peered and lightweight). However, because of
limitations in the underlying platform, it may not always be possible
to enable the communication between Java input methods and peered AWT
components. Support for this specific combination is therefore
platform dependent. In Sun's Java SE Runtime Environments, this
combination is supported on Windows, but not on Solaris.</P>

<H2>Related Documentation</H2>

<P>For overviews, tutorials, examples, guides, and tool
documentation, please see:</P>

<UL>
   <LI><B><A HREF="../../../../../technotes/guides/imf/overview.html">Input
   Method Framework Overview</A></B>
   
   <LI><B><A HREF="../../../../../technotes/guides/imf/spi-tutorial.html">Input
   Method Engine SPI Tutorial</A></B>
</UL>

@since JDK1.3
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