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validate vs. revalidate(Threaded Swing Applet)

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I didn't realize I had an error until I ran this on an SGI. I have a Threaded Swing Applet that launches a jpanel containing some JTextFields. When entering random text in the textfield the browser (JVM?) hangs. I narrowed it down to my run loop in my applet and changed my code and it seems to have fixed the problem - I'm just not sure why!
while (!appletDone) {
... some other checks jpanel.repaint()
while (!appletDone) {
theDisplay.revalidate(); // main JPanel
I am pretty sure this has to do with AWT vs. Swing (and swing not being thread safe) But can't seem to find any good documentation. What is the proper way to manage Swing GUI/repainting & revalidating?
Thanx for any info,
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