Tag Archives: Controls

EditTables – The Sub-Object Interface

One of the changes we wanted to make with EditTables in v10 was to expose all of their runtime functionality easily through the normal property/method API.  Some of this was already available in previous versions, but usually involved a method to set a plethora of style bits, which is not really satisfactory unless you’re a C++ programmer (as we have been reminded by various developers on several occasions!).

Besides the EditTable as a whole, there are essentially three other main programmable areas:

  1. Columns
  2. Rows
  3. Cells

Providing unique properties and methods to address the capabilities of these areas is not really practicable, as it leads to an “explosion” of property names: For example, accessing the “text” associated with each of these would require three new properties such as:

  • COLUMNTEXT
  • ROWTEXT
  • CELLTEXT

Of course that’s only three, but considering that each of the aforementioned areas has something like 30 properties, you would suddenly add 90+ new property names to the product!  Bear in mind also that columns, rows and cells each have many properties like TEXT in common, so a new name for each of these seems extremely wasteful and unnecessary.

(We could also have used something similar like the existing TEXTBYPOS method to achieve this, but then we’d have 30’ish new “BYPOS” methods instead, and methods aren’t properties anyway).

So, to keep the property namespace under control we decided to use this commonality and implement a set of  “sub-objects” instead, one for each area.  Unsurprisingly these are named:

  • COLUMNS
  • ROWS
  • CELLS  

Each of these sub-objects are indexed and can be used to access a specific column, row or cell in the EditTable.  They all share many common properties and methods, but also expose a few type-specific ones as well.   As an example, this is how to set the CUEBANNER property for each sub-object:

ctrlEntID  = @window : ".EDT_TEST"
cueBanner  = "Test"

// Set the CUEBANNER for the second column
call set_Property( ctrlEntID : ".COLUMNS", "CUEBANNER", cueBanner, 2 )
// Set the CUEBANNER for the third row
call set_Property( ctrlEntID : ".ROWS", "CUEBANNER", cueBanner, 3 )

// Set the CUEBANNER for the cell at column 5, row 7
call set_Property( ctrlEntID : ".CELLS", "CUEBANNER", cueBanner, 5 : @fm : 7 )

// And here's the same using Object Notation Syntax
@ctrlEntID.columns{2}->cueBannner = cueBanner
@ctrlEntID.rows{3}->cueBannner    = cueBanner
@ctrlEntID.cells{5,7}->cueBannner = cueBanner

We’ll take a look at each of these sub-objects in turn over the next few posts to examine their functionality in more detail.

 

EditTables – The new “CELL” events

The OpenInsight EditTable has always supported a set of cell-related common events that are fired when a user interacts with the control:

  • CHAR
  • CHANGED
  • CLICK
  • DBLCLK
  • OPTIONS

In order to process these events properly however, it is necessary to know which cell they relate to, and this can ostensibly be found by using the NOTIFYPOS property, which is set to the position of the cell that raised the event.

In theory this approach works well, but in practice it can exhibit problems:  Events in OpenInsight are nearly always raised in an asynchronous fashion, which means that if two of those events where executed in quick succession for different cells, then NOTIFYPOS could be set to the position of the second cell, before the Basic+ event handler could process the event for the first cell, thereby leading to incorrect results.

In order to handle this better the EditTable now supports a series of corresponding “CELL” events:

  • CELLCHAR
  • CELLCHANGED
  • CELLCLICK
  • CELLDBLCLK
  • CELLOPTIONS

The only difference here is that these events pass the indexes of the cell that raised them as arguments to the event handler, thereby preserving their origin accurately.

E.g. The signature for the old CHANGED event looks like this:

Function Changed( CtrlEntID, CtrlClassID, NewData )

Whilst the signature for the CELLCHANGED event looks like this:

Function CellChanged( CtrlEntID, CtrlClassID, ColNum, RowNum, NewData )

Note that when a “CELL” event is defined the EditTable will non longer raise the ordinary event to prevent the notification from being processed twice.

(One useful example of the benefits of having the “CELL” events is that you can now use the new CELLCHANGED event for cell validation, rather than the usual POSCHANGED event, due to the fact that you know precisely where the change originated from. You also know that there actually was a change, rather than having to compare the cell’s current contents to it’s GOTFOCUSVALUE to discover this).

 

 

 

The EDITSTATECHANGED event

One of the requirements we needed when developing the new IDE was the ability to detect when the state of a control changed in such a fashion that might affect the operations that could be performed on it.

A classic example of this is highlighting text in an edit control so that it can be cut or copied, or perhaps replaced with a paste operation: At this point an item like a Cut or a Paste button might need enabling so the UI is in sync with the state of the control.

To enable this functionality several controls now support a new event called EDITSTATECHANGED, which is fired when the “edit state” is changed.  The edit state is defined as one of the following operations:

  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Select All

So, if a user takes an action in the control that enables or disables one of these options you can respond to it via the EDITSTATECHANGED event.

The EDITSTATECHANGED event passes a single parameter called “EditState“, which is a dynamic array of Boolean flags with the following structure:

<1> CanUndo      : TRUE$ if the control allows an UNDO operation
<2> CanRedo      : TRUE$ if the control allows a REDO operation
<3> CanCut       : TRUE$ if the control allows a CUT operation
<4> CanCopy      : TRUE$ if the control allows a COPY operation
<5> CanPaste     : TRUE$ if the control allows a PASTE operation
<6> CanSelectAll : TRUE$ if the control allows a SELECTALL 
                 : operation

(You may notice that these flags closely follow the items in a standard “Edit” menu).

Here’s a simple example to set the state of some Cut/Copy/Paste buttons:

   objxArray =        @window : ".BTN_CUT"
   propArray =        "ENABLED"
   dataArray =        editState<0,3>

   objxArray := @rm : @window : ".BTN_COPY"
   propArray := @rm : "ENABLED"
   dataArray := @rm : editState<0,4>
   
   objxArray := @rm : @window : ".BTN_PASTE"
   propArray := @rm : "ENABLED"
   dataArray := @rm : editState<0,5>

   call Set_Property_Only( objxArray, propArray, dataArray )

The following controls support the EDITSTATECHANGED event:

  • COMBOBOX
  • EDITLINE
  • EDITBOX
  • EDITTABLE
  • LISTBOX
  • PROPERTYGRID

(Disclaimer: This article is based on preliminary information and may be subject to change in the final release version of OpenInsight 10).

(EDIT: 8th May 2018 – Variable name changed from NewEditState to EditState to match released version)

The FILEPREVIEW control

One of the new controls added to version 10 is the FILEPREVIEW control, which taps into the Windows Shell interface to expose the same  functionality provided by the Windows Explorer when previewing the contents of files, as per the example below:

explorer_preview

Windows Explorer PowerPoint preview

Using the FILEPREVIEW control is quite easy – simply set the FILENAME property with the name and path of the file you want to preview, and if the OS has handlers installed for that file type then the control will render them.

Here’s an example of previewing a PowerPoint file:

  fileName = get_Property( @window : ".EDL_FILENAME", "TEXT" )
  if bLen( fileName ) then
     call set_Property_Only( @window : ".FPV_VIEWER", "FILENAME", |
                             fileName )
  end
filepreview

FILEPREVIEW control example

The devil of course is in the details – your OS must have the correct handler DLLs installed for you to view the preview of the file, and this may rely on third party software being installed as well.  For example, to preview Word and Excel documents you must have Office installed, to preview PDF files you must have something like Adobe Reader installed and so on.  You can test for this at runtime by using the PREVIEWHANDLER method, which returns a GUID identifying the preview handler DLL if it is installed.  You simply pass the extension you wish to look up and check for a returned GUID like so:

  handlerGUID = exec_Method( previewCtrl, "PREVIEWHANDLER", "pdf" )
  if bLen( handlerGUID ) then
    // We have a PDF preview viewer on the workstation ...
    call set_Property_Only( previewCtrl, "FILENAME", "c:\temp\test.pdf" )
  end 

The control also supports an ACTIVE property which returns TRUE$ if the control currently has a file loaded for previewing.

(Disclaimer: This article is based on preliminary information and may be subject to change in the final release version of OpenInsight 10).

 

 

The AUTODROPDOWN property

One of the areas in which dropdown comboboxes have always been lacking is the ability to fully control when the list is populated in a visually pleasing manner.  Under most circumstances the contents are loaded well before the dropdown button is clicked, and this is fine, but in situations where the items are context -sensitive it is necessary to load them just before the list is shown, and in previous versions this can look a little messy.

You can see an example of this in the OI9 System Editor++: there is a very handy pair of dropdowns at the top if the form that allow you to navigate your source code using inserts and labels, but when you use them you see the list contents loaded just after it has been dropped; this looks somewhat jarring and usually causes issues with the vertical scrollbar too.

Of course, the reason for this is that OpenInsight events are normally fired in an asynchronous manner, and the DROPDOWN event won’t run until after the list has been shown.  While you do have the ability to fire events in a synchronous fashion, this can introduce other complications and is something that should be avoided whenever possible.

So, in order to fix this, OpenInsight 10 provides a new property called AUTODROPDOWN that allows the list to be loaded during the DROPDOWN event and then displayed precisely when needed.

AUTODROPDOWN is a boolean property and is set to TRUE$ by default.

  • When set to TRUE$ the combobox behaves in exactly the same way as previous versions.
  • When set to FALSE$, the list is not shown until you explicitly set the DROPDOWN property to TRUE$. This gives you ability to load the list contents and then show them when ready.

Here’s an example of loading a list of STPROC repository items in a DROPDOWN event when AUTODROPDOWN is FALSE$

  // Get a list of items
  reposIDs = get_Repos_Entities( "", "STPROC", "", FALSE$, |
                                 TRUE$, FALSE$, "" )
  
  // Load them into the combobox LIST property
  call set_Property_Only( ctrlEntID, "LIST", reposIDs )

  // Now show the list
  call set_Property_Only( ctrlEntID, "DROPDOWN", TRUE$ )

Comboboxes as options buttons?

Another area where AUTODROPDOWN may help is for systems that use comboboxes as a combined edit and options control, where clicking the dropdown button loads a dialog box or popup instead of dropping a list.  Again, in previous versions this tends to look a little crude because the combobox shows a very shallow list even though it is empty, but with AUTODROPDOWN set to FALSE$ the list is never shown, and consequently looks much better.

(Disclaimer: This article is based on preliminary information and may be subject to change in the final release version of OpenInsight 10).

Listboxes and ToolTips

Following on from our previous post on the new TOOLTIP property, this time we’re going to look at the new tooltip functionality added to Listbox controls, namely tracking and in-place item tooltips.

Tracking tooltips are small popup windows that appear when a user hovers over a partially obscured item in the control: they display the full item text string instead, and thereby avoid the need for horizontal scrolling, which is always a preferable user experience.

listbox_tracking_tooltips

Offset tracking tooltip

In-place tooltips operate in a similar manner, but rather than appearing at an offset to the cursor position they actually appear over the item itself, hence the term “in-place”:

listbox_inplace_tooltips

In-place tracking tooltip

This behaviour is controlled by the new SHOWITEMTOOLTIPS property which can be set to one of the following values:

  "0" - Disabled : Item tooltips are not displayed
  "1" - Offset   : Item tooltips are displayed at an offset to the cursor
  "2" - In-place : Item tooltips are displayed over the item itself.

When set to “1” (Offset) or “2” (In-place) the SHOWITEMTOOLTIPS property overrides the normal TOOLTIP property, so a “normal” tooltip will not be displayed.

Displaying alternative item text

Sometimes it is desirable to display a different text string in the tooltip rather than the item text itself.  In this case you can set the new SHOWVALUESASTOOLTIPS property to specify that the tooltip should display the contents of the item’s VALUE property instead.

SHOWVALUESASTOOLTIPS is a simple boolean property of TRUE$ or FALSE$.

listbox_tracking_value_tooltips

Displaying the Value property as a tooltip

Note in this case the tooltip is always displayed at an offset, and is triggered regardess of whether or not the item is clipped.

 

Combobox and TreeListbox controls

Both new properties described here also apply to simple Combobox and TreeListbox controls.

(Disclaimer: This article is based on preliminary information and may be subject to change in the final release version of OpenInsight 10).

 

TOOLTIP is the new HELPTEXT

A tooltip is a small pop-up window that describes a control being pointed to, usually referred to as a “tool”, and they are commonly used to provide labelling for controls that only display an image, such as toolbar buttons.

Simple tooltip

Simple tooltip

Earlier versions of OpenInsight supported some basic tooltip functionality for a very limited set of controls via the HELPTEXT property, but for version 10 the name HELPTEXT has been deprecated for all standard controls (i.e. for objects other than menu items) and renamed to TOOLTIP instead, thereby bringing it in line with standard Windows terminology.  The name HELPTEXT can still be used however, to preserve backwards compatibility with your existing code.

Unlike in previous versions the new TOOLTIP property is not a single string, because there are more attributes that can be set – It is now an @fm-delimited dynamic array structured as follows:

   <1> Text
   <2> Title
   <3> Icon
   <4> Large Icon
   <5> Balloon Style
   <6> Centered

Text

This is the text to display.  Multiple lines are delimited by @tm.  This attribute is required for the tooltip to be displayed.

Tooltip with multiple lines

Tooltip with multiple lines

Title

This is the title to display in the tooltip. This is an optional attribute.

Tooltip with title

Tooltip with title

Icon

This attribute is only valid if the Title attribute is set.  It should contain the name of an icon file or resource to display in the tooltip (as per the usual ICON property).  Alternatively you can pass one of the following special characters to use a standard Windows icon instead (in a similar manner to the Msg() function):

  • “*” – Use the standard Information icon
  • “!” – Use the standard Warning icon
  • “H” – Use the standard Error icon
Tooltip with icon

Tooltip with icon

Large Icon

Normally the tooltip uses a 16×16 pixel size icon.  When this attribute is set to TRUE$ the tooltip will use a 32×32 pixel size one instead.  The default value is FALSE$.

Tooltip with large icon

Tooltip with large icon

Balloon Style

Standard tooltips use a rectangle shape when they are displayed. When this attribute is set to TRUE$ a “balloon” shape is used instead, with a stem pointing to the owning tool.  The default value is FALSE$.

Balloon style tooltip

Balloon style tooltip

Centered

Tooltips normally display themselves at an offset to their tool – when this attribute is set to TRUE$ the tooltip is centered underneath the tool instead.  The default value is FALSE$.

Tooltip with center-style

Tooltip with center-style

Basic+ example:

   // Example: display a multiline balloon tooltip containing a warning icon 
   // and title for a static control called TXT_ALERT

   declare function rti_ErrorText
   $insert ps_Tooltip_Equates
   $insert logical

   tooltip = ""
   tooltip<PS_TOOLTIP_POS_TEXT$>    = rti_ErrorText( "SP", errorCodes )
   tooltip<PS_TOOLTIP_POS_TITLE$>   = "Woeful tidings"
   tooltip<PS_TOOLTIP_POS_ICON$>    = PS_TOOLTIP_ICON_WARNING$  ; // "!"
   tooltip<PS_TOOLTIP_POS_BALLOON$> = TRUE$

   call set_Property_Only( @window : ".TXT_ALERT", "TOOLTIP", tooltip )

The TOOLTIP property applies to all controls except OLE controls, as these usually provide their own tooltips.  Some controls, such as List Box and Toolbar controls, also support different types of tooltips such as in-place and tracking, and these will be described in a future post.

(Disclaimer: This article is based on preliminary information and may be subject to change in the final release version of OpenInsight 10).