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Creating a Drop Target

With the DropTarget class you can make any component a drop target that the user can drop things on. When the drop occurs, you can get an event on the server side and get the data related to the drag operation when the drag has originated from the same UI (browser window/tab). The DropTarget class is a configuration object for the drop target and contains static methods for configuring the given component as a drop target instance.

VerticalLayout first = new VerticalLayout();
VerticalLayout second = new VerticalLayout();

// makes first layout an active drop target
DropTarget<VerticalLayout> dropTarget = DropTarget.create(first);

// provides access to drop target API for second layout,
// without setting it as an active drop target
DropTarget<VerticalLayout> dropTarget2 = DropTarget.configure(second);
// change previously set settings

The DropTarget configuration object doesn’t itself store any data, as it is just an API extension that allows easily making any component a drop target. Creating a new DropTarget instance of a component will not reset any previous configuration, but any changes will override previous configuration.

Similarly as with the DragSource, the DropTarget is a "mixin interface" which can be added to any custom component to expose the drop target API for it.

public class Column extends VerticalLayout implements DropTarget<VerticalLayout> {

    public Column() {
        // allow drops by default
    // all drop target methods have default implementations

Reacting To Drops

When the user performs a valid drop on the browser, the DropEvent is fired. You can listen to the event with a DropListener. In case the drag originated from within the same Vaadin UI, you can get the retrieve the dragged component or the assigned business data from the DropEvent.

Div box = new Div();

DropTarget<Div> dropTarget = DropTarget.create(box);

dropTarget.addDropListener(event -> {
    // move the dragged component to inside the drop target component
    if (event.getDropEffect() == DropEffect.MOVE) {
        // the drag source is available only if the dragged component is from
        // the same UI as the drop target

        event.getDragData().ifPresent(data -> {
            // the server side drag data is available if it has been set and the
            // component was dragged from the same UI as the drop target

You can read more about setting the server side drag data from the previous chapter about DragSource. At the moment (in version 14.1) there is no way to retrieve any client side drag data from the drop event.

Controlling the Drop with Drop Effect

The DropEffect set to the drop target needs to match the effectAllowed set for the drag operation in order for the drop to succeed. The drop effect is determined in priority order by:

  • The desired action dropEffect set by the drop target

  • The effectAllowed set to the drag source

  • The modifier keys the user had pressed and hold when dropping

This means that not setting a drop effect for a drop target will allow either the drag source or the user to determine the drop effect. The possible values for the drop effect are: COPY, MOVE, LINK and NONE. Setting the drop effect to NONE means that the drop cannot occur, and thus no DropEvent will be fired.

If the drop effect set to the drop target doesn’t match the effectAllowed of the drag source, it does not prevent drop on IE11, Edge and Safari! For FireFox and Chrome the drop is prevented when the properties won’t match. IE11, Edge and Safari allow the drop but on DragEnd event do not prevent the drop.

Drop Target Styling

When there is a valid drag over the drop target, the drop target element will get the v-drag-over-target class name automatically while the dragged object stays on top of the drop target. The class name is removed once either the drop occurs, is canceled or the object is moved outside the drop target.

.v-drag-over-target.card {
    outline: 1px solid lightgreen;

Depending on the desired user experience, it might be good to highlight the possible drop targets for a started drag during the DragStart event. See and example of that in the DragSource documentation.