Efficient and Customizable TreeLayout Algorithm in Java
To use the TreeLayout you mainly need to supply an instance of the TreeLayout class with the nodes of the tree (including "children" links), together with the "size" of each node. In addition you can configure the layout by specifying parameters like "gap between levels" etc..
Based on this information TreeLayout creates a compact, nice looking layout. The layout has the following properties :
- The layout displays the hierarchical structure of the tree, i.e. the y-coordinate of a node is given by its level.
- The edges do not cross each other and nodes on the same level have a minimal horizontal distance.
- The drawing of a subtree does not depend on its position in the tree, i.e. isomorphic subtrees are drawn identically up to translation.
- The order of the children of a node is displayed in the drawing.
- The algorithm works symmetrically, i.e. the drawing of the reflection of a tree is the reflected drawing of the original tree.
Here an example tree layout:
- Download and Installation
- NetBeans and abego TreeLayout
- Algorithm Performance
Download and Installation
- Sources: http://code.google.com/p/treelayout/source/browse/
- JAR files:
- org.abego.treelayout.core.jar: the TreeLayout algorithm core.
- org.abego.treelayout.netbeans.jar: use the TreeLayout algorithm for the NetBeans Visual Library API (GraphLayout, ...). (When using this JAR make sure the NetBeans libraries 'org.netbeans.api.visual', 'org.openide.util', and 'org.openide.util.lookup' are in the classpath.)
NetBeans and abego TreeLayout
The NetBeans Visual Library API already includes an algorithm to lay out trees (and graphs in general). However, the default implementation of the NetBeans Visual Library does not always generate layouts as compact as the abego TreeLayout implementation:
|Layout using abego TreeLayout||Layout using NetBeans' default Tree GraphLayout|
Both screenshots are taken from the demo application in the "org.abego.treelayout.netbeans.demo" project, also provided in the sources. The demo project includes the "org.abego.treelayout.netbeans" library to easily access the abego TreeLayout algorithm from standard NetBeans visual code.
As the following comparision shows using the abego TreeLayout in NetBeans visual code is as simple as using the standard GraphLayout:
Use abego TreeLayout to create a SceneLayout:
AbegoTreeLayoutForNetbeans<N, E> graphLayout =
new AbegoTreeLayoutForNetbeans<N, E>(root, 100, 100, 50, 50, true);
SceneLayout sceneLayout = LayoutFactory.createSceneGraphLayout(scene,graphLayout);
Use NetBeans' default Tree GraphLayout to create a SceneLayout:
GraphLayout<N, E> graphLayout =
GraphLayoutFactory.createTreeGraphLayout(100, 100, 50, 50, true);
SceneLayout sceneLayout = LayoutFactory.createSceneGraphLayout(scene, graphLayout);
For detailed documentation see the javaDoc in the source code and this pdf document.
In addition you may also find the example code helpful. It is included in the "demo" packages.
Based on Walker's algorithm  with enhancements suggested by Buchheim, Jünger, and Leipert  the software builds tree layouts in linear time. I.e. even trees with many nodes are built fast. Other than with the Reingold–Tilford algorithm  one is not limited to binary trees.
In a benchmark the algorithm could layout trees with a speed of approx. 5 micro seconds per node. (Running on a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo machine).
You may check out the TreeLayout source code from the TreeLayout SVN repository.
The projects contain configurations for the Eclipse and NetBeans IDEs as well as ANT scripts to build them.
 Walker JQ II. A node-positioning algorithm for general trees. Software—Practice and Experience 1990; 20(7):685–705.
 Buchheim C, Jünger M, Leipert S. Drawing rooted trees in linear time. Software—Practice and Experience 2006; 36(6):651–665
 Reingold EM, Tilford JS. Tidier drawings of trees. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 1981; 7(2):223–228.
(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)