TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 93 - DEVICELOOP MEETS THE INTERFACE

DEVICELOOP MEETS THE INTERFACE

JOHN POWERS

[IMAGE Powers_article_rev1.GIF]

With the ascendancy of multimedia, 3-D shading and elaborate color backgrounds are showing up in an increasing number of interface designs. But what happens when these sophisticated interface elements must be displayed across multiple monitors of different bit depths? This article explains how to use the DeviceLoop function to take care of the device, clipping, and bit-depth logistics involved in multiple-monitor displays.


One of the great things about the Macintosh is its ability to support more than one monitor at a time. You can display windows in any active monitor or split a window -- and the objects in it -- across several monitors at once. What's more, you can make an image adjust to the bit depth and other capabilities of each monitor it's displayed on, so that the visual interface looks as good as it possibly can on each of the devices attached to the computer.

I recently worked on a project in which one of the goals was exactly that -- we wanted our application windows to look really good across multiple monitors and at any bit depth. The task was complicated by the fact that the interface was quite sophisticated graphically. To give our windows a distinctive, three-dimensional look, we used shaded color graphics. We filled the content area with background graphics, text, patterned and colored lines, and 3-D buttons. With the exception of our standard List Manager lists, all the window objects were drawn by our application program. Even the conventional scroll bar, close box, and zoom box were replaced by custom art drawn by the application, not the Window Manager.

Displaying these complex windows across multiple monitors was obviously going to be a challenge. We knew that the Finder, for example, pulled it off -- whenever Finder windows span monitors of different bit depths, the parts of the window on each monitor are drawn to the individual monitor's depth. "If the Finder does it, so can we," I decided, although I actually knew very little about how to solve the problem.

DEVICELOOP TO THE RESCUE

I bit the bullet. The search for ways to draw a window across multiple monitors led in a number of directions, all of them involving visible regions, clipping regions, and region-rect conversions. I asked a lot of people for advice, and while everyone was gracious in offering help, the job was looking complicated. Fortunately, one of the advice givers suggested that I check out the DeviceLoopfunction inInside MacintoshVolume VI. (I found out later that the advice giver was the author of the DeviceLoop function.)

When I looked up DeviceLoop in Volume VI, here's what I found: The DeviceLoop procedure searches all active screen devices, calling your drawing procedure whenever it encounters a screen that intersects your drawing region. You supply a handle to the region in which you wish to draw and a pointer to your drawing procedure. . . . If the DeviceLoop procedure encounters similar devices -- having the same pixel depth, black-and- white/color setting, and matching color table seeds -- it makes only one call to your drawing procedure, pointing to the first such device encountered.

This sounded exactly like what we were looking for. The Window Manager itself uses DeviceLoop to display window components on a variety of monitors. Since we were drawing our own windows, DeviceLoop was clearly what we needed.

Here's what DeviceLoop looks like in C:

pascal void DeviceLoop (RgnHandle drawingRgn,
	DeviceLoopDrawingProcPtr drawingProc,
	long userData, DeviceLoopFlags flags);

The drawingRgn parameter is a handle to the region that will be drawn in (usually a window's visRgn). The drawingProc parameter is a pointer to your drawing routine (see below). The userData parameter is a long that gets passed to your drawing routine. Finally, the flags parameter controls how devices are grouped before your drawing routine is called. (Pass 0 for the default behavior -- grouping similar devices together. See the description inInside Macintoshfor other possible values.)

The drawing routine needs to be declared as follows:

pascal void MyDrawProc (short depth, short deviceFlags,
	GDHandle targetDevice, long userData);

Here the depth parameter is the depth of the device you're currently drawing on. The deviceFlags parameter is a copy of the device's gdFlags, targetDevice is a handle to the device, and userData is whatever you passed to DeviceLoop.

DeviceLoop works like this: Each time your drawing routine is called, the current port's visRgn will have been set to the intersection of your drawing region and some screen device. DeviceLoop passes the drawing characteristics of the particular screen it's working on to the drawing routine, which can then make use of them -- for instance, by drawing to the appropriate bit depth. In short, DeviceLoop takes care of all the device, clipping, and bit-depth logistics, while all you have to do is draw.

USING DEVICELOOP IN AN OBJECT-ORIENTED WORLD

In our application, we had to draw not only the contents of the window, but also the window itself. True to our object-oriented design, we created classes for all the interface objects. These classes included a TArt class for backgrounds, graphics, and 3-D button objects; a TLine class for lines; a TTxt class for black-and-white text; and a TBkg class for backgrounds for the text. Although we used DeviceLoop for drawing objects in every class except the text classes, the heart of the process is best illustrated by our use of DeviceLoop for TArt objects.

The graphics for TArt objects were stored as PICT resources. To give the best possible image, the interface designer created an 8-bit-deep PICT for display depths of 8 bits or deeper. For all other display depths and CPUs without Color QuickDraw, she created a 1-bit-deep, black-and-white PICT. We could have let the Macintosh use the 8-bit PICT for all drawing -- color and black-and- white -- and, with dithering, the results would have been pretty good. But since we had our own hand-designed, 1-bit version of the PICT, DeviceLoop was a better solution. Our window object kept track of all the interface objects that it needed to draw. When an update event was received, the document object told the window object to draw. Specifically, our BeginUpdate/EndUpdate function called a particular drawing routine for each of the objects. Each object, in turn, called DeviceLoop with our DrawProc callback, which contained the actual drawing code for that object. Figure 1 shows this strategy.

[IMAGE Powers_article_rev2.GIF]

Figure 1 An Inefficient Way to Incorporate DeviceLoop

We used this DeviceLoop-within-each-object's-drawing-procedure approach until someone pointed out how inefficient it was to call DeviceLoop for every interface object. We realized that it would be much better to call DeviceLoop once and have the drawing procedure that we passed to it decide which object had to be drawn. We wound up with a single DeviceLoop call in the window's BeginUpdate/EndUpdate function, as shown in Figure 2. The use of a single DeviceLoop call in the window object really streamlined the design.

[IMAGE Powers_article_rev3.GIF]

Figure 2 A Better Way to Call DeviceLoop


One problem we encountered was that the compiler balked whenever we referenced our drawing routine (called DrawProc) in the DeviceLoop parameter list. We even included the scope -- TWin::DrawProc -- and that didn't help. The breakthrough came when we made DrawProc static. Unfortunately, changing it to static caused another problem: the compiler choked when we referencedthis within DrawProc. We forgot that static functions can't reference nonstatic member variables. (You C++ aficionados are probably smiling, but we recent converts must struggle at first.) We couldn't use static variables, however, because each of our objects required its own variables. Thus, to access an object's variables, we had to pass the window object pointer in the userData parameter of the DeviceLoop function.

AN EXAMPLE

The Developer CD Seriesdisc contains a sample application that shows how we used DeviceLoop for TArt objects in our interface. The application, DeviceLoopInDrag, displays a window that can be dragged between monitors of different bit depths. Figure 3 shows this window spanning a grayscale and a black-and-white monitor.

Excerpts from the DeviceLoopInDrag source code follow. First there's the update function that's called whenever the window needs to be redrawn. It just calls the drawing procedure for the window object (TWin).

[IMAGE Powers_article_rev4.GIF] Figure 3 DeviceLoop in Action

// TDoc::DoUpdate
// Document object.
// Entry for update event action.
void
TDoc::DoUpdate()
{
	BeginUpdate(this->fDocWindow);
	this->fWinObj->Draw();
	EndUpdate(this->fDocWindow);
}

The window's drawing procedure does little more than set up and call DeviceLoop. Notice that we're passing the reference to the current window object --this -- in DeviceLoop's userData parameter, as described earlier. Since we want the default DeviceLoop behavior, we set the flags to 0.

// TWin::Draw
// Window object.
// Within BeginUpdate/EndUpdate.
void
TWin::Draw()
{
	// Have DeviceLoop manage the drawing.
	// Pass the window object in userData.
	long					userData = (long)this;
	DeviceLoopFlags	flags = 0;
	GrafPtr				myPort;
	GetPort(&myPort);
	DeviceLoop(myPort->visRgn, TWin::DrawProc, userData, flags);
	// Draw the stuff we don't need DeviceLoop for.
	// We tell the subview to take care of that.
	this->fView->Draw();
};

Next, theTWin drawing procedure is the callback procedure that DeviceLoop invokes to coordinate the drawing of each of the elements on the screen.

// TWin::DrawProc
// Called by DeviceLoop.
// A static function. Must be in a resident segment, locked and
// unpurgeable. Because it's static, it can't access object member 
// variables directly. We use the window object passed in userData 
// to access its member variables.
#pragma segment Main
pascal void
TWin::DrawProc(short depth, short /*deviceFlags*/,
			GDHandle hTargetDevice, long userData)
{
	// Get the window object from userData.
	TWin* theWinObject = (TWin*) userData;
	// Use depth of 1 if we have a computer without Color QuickDraw.
	depth = (hTargetDevice==NULL)?1:depth;
	// Draw our objects.
	theWinObject->fBackground->Draw(depth);
	theWinObject->fLogo->Draw(depth);
	theWinObject->fText->Draw(depth);
	theWinObject->fButton->Draw(depth);
};

Finally, here's the actual TArt::Draw function, used for various items in the window. Based on the bit-depth parameter passed to it, the Draw function decides whether to use the black-and-white or the color version of its PICT.

// TArt::Draw
// All art objects (PICTs) are drawn here. This is where we
// distinguish between B&W or color renderings of TArt objects.
// The B&W rendering has a resource ID that's kBWOffset larger
// than its color counterpart value.
void
TArt::Draw(short depth)
{
	// Don't draw empty art.
	if(this->fPictID==0)
		return;
	PicHandle	hPict;
	if(depth<8)
	{
		// Use B&W PICT.
		hPict = (PicHandle) GetResource('PICT',
		    this->fPictID+kBWOffset);
	}
	else
	{
		// Use color PICT.
		hPict = (PicHandle) GetResource('PICT', this->fPictID);
	}
	if(hPict)
	{
		Rect	theDrawRect;
		this->GetDrawRect(theDrawRect);
		HLock((Handle) hPict);
		DrawPicture(hPict, &theDrawRect);
		HUnlock((Handle) hPict);
	}
};

SUMMING UP

How did we wind up feeling about DeviceLoop? After we first discovered it, our tendency was to use it everywhere. We even used it to call a drawing routine that always drew in black and white, no matter what the bit depth. We later stripped this use out of the interface because it offered no advantage and added extra code.

One concern we had was that performance would degrade to an intolerable level as we added objects to be drawn. To see what would happen, the mischievous test engineer for our project devised a case with 99 separate TArt objects in the same window. Predictably, the 99 objects weren't displayed all at once. While you can expect some lag between the appearance of first object in a window and the last, however, the drawing time when you use DeviceLoop is really very short, well within user tolerance.

All in all, our design team was very pleased with DeviceLoop. We were glad to have found such an easy way to solve the problem of displaying interface objects on monitors of different bit depths. The interface designer got the look she wanted, and we were able to accomplish the job with a minimum of hassle and a minimum of code. This was one challenge that left everyone happy.

JOHN POWERS (AppleLink JOHNPOWERS) started his career as a behavioral scientist, studying how people use computers. He worked his way up the management ladder, and then cofounded a company that developed software for the first home computers. That lead him to Atari, but Atari got weird, so John joined Convergent Technologies to develop the WorkSlate notebook computer, eight years before the PowerBook. That led him to another management ladder and into The Learning Company, where he developed software for children. Locked in his management office, John discovered the Macintosh and decided to become a Macintosh software developer. Now he's at Apple Computer developing Macintosh software that helps people use computers. *

The DeviceLoop call first appears in System 7. If your application will be running under an earlier version of system software, you'll need to implement your own DeviceLoop function. For an example of how to do this, see the column "Graphical Truffles: Multiple Screens Revealed" in Issue 10 of develop.*

THANKS TO OUR TECHNICAL REVIEWERS Edgar Lee and Brigham Stevens. Special thanks to Pat Coleman, the Interface Designer on the project that inspired this article.*

 
AAPL
$119.00
Apple Inc.
+1.40
MSFT
$47.75
Microsoft Corpora
+0.28
GOOG
$540.37
Google Inc.
-0.71

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

HoudahSpot 3.9.6 - Advanced file search...
HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool built upon MacOS X Spotlight. Spotlight unleashed Create detailed queries to locate the exact file you need Narrow down searches. Zero in on files Save... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.3 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
iPhoto Library Manager 4.1.10 - Manage m...
iPhoto Library Manager lets you organize your photos into multiple iPhoto libraries. Separate your high school and college photos from your latest summer vacation pictures. Or keep some photo... Read more
iExplorer 3.5.1.9 - View and transfer al...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.3 - Discover and i...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
SteerMouse 4.2.2 - Powerful third-party...
SteerMouse is an advanced driver for USB and Bluetooth mice. It also supports Apple Mighty Mouse very well. SteerMouse can assign various functions to buttons that Apple's software does not allow,... Read more
iMazing 1.1 - Complete iOS device manage...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
PopChar X 7.0 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more
OneNote 15.4 - Free digital notebook fro...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.3 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Raby (Games)
Raby 1.0.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.3 (iTunes) Description: ***WARNING - Raby runs on: iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini Retina, iPad Mini 3, iPad 4, iPad Air,... | Read more »
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (Games)
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** PLEASE NOTE: Oddworld Stranger's Wrath requires at least an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad Mini or iPod Touch 5th gen... | Read more »
Bounce On Back (Games)
Bounce On Back 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Make Way for Fat Chicken, from the Maker...
Make Way for Fat Chicken, from the Makers of Scrap Squad Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 26th, 2014 [ permalink ] Relevant Games has announced they will be releasing their reverse tower defense game, | Read more »
Tripnary Review
Tripnary Review By Jennifer Allen on November 26th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRAVEL BUCKET LISTiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Want to create a travel bucket list? Tripnary is a fun way to do exactly that... | Read more »
Ossian Studios’ RPG, The Shadow Sun, is...
Ossian Studios’ RPG, The Shadow Sun, is Now Available for $4.99 Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 26th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Mmmm, Tasty – Having the Angry Birds for...
The very first Angry Birds debuted on iOS back in 2009. When you sit back and tally up the number of Angry Birds games out there and the impact they’ve had on pop culture as a whole, you just need to ask yourself: “How would the birds taste... | Read more »
Rescue Quest Review
Rescue Quest Review By Jennifer Allen on November 26th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PATH BASED MATCH-3Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Guide a wizard to safety by matching gems. Rescue Quest might not be an entirely original... | Read more »
You Can Play the Final Chapter of Lone W...
You Can Play the Final Chapter of Lone Wolf: Dawn Over V’taag Right Now Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 26th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Swords of Anima (Games)
Swords of Anima 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A new tactical turn-based RPG experience. Command the Savior Rex Squad in an epic journey of courage and deception. Can you... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

2014 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $...
 B&H Photo has the new 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new model. Adorama... Read more
Early Black Friday pricing on 27-inch 5K iMac...
 B&H Photo continues to offer Black Friday sale prices on the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac, in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP... Read more
Early Black Friday sale prices on iPad Air 2,...
 MacMall is discounting iPad Air 2s by up to $75 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday sale. Shipping is free: - 16GB iPad Air WiFi: $459 $40 off - 64GB iPad Air WiFi: $559 $40 off - 128GB iPad Air... Read more
Early Black Friday MacBook Air sale prices, $...
 MacMall has posted early Black Friday MacBook Air sale prices. Save $101 on all models for a limited time: - 11″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $798 - 11″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $998 - 13″ 1.4GHz/... Read more
Why iPhone 6 Tablet/Laptop Cannibalization Is...
247wallst.com blogger Douglas A. McIntyre noted last week that according to research posted on the Applovin blog site the iPhone 6 is outselling the iPhone 6 Plus by a wide margin . Hardly a surprise... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Growth Expected to Slow to 7...
The global tablet market is expected to record massive deceleration in 2014 with year-over-year growth slowing to 7.2%, down from 52.5% in 2013, according to a new forecast from International Data... Read more
Touchscreen Glove Company Announces New Produ...
Surrey, United Kingdom based TouchAbility specializes in design and manufacture of a wide variety of products compatible with touchscreen devices including smartphones, tablets and computers. Their... Read more
OtterBox Alpha Glass Screen Protectors for iP...
To complement the bigger, sharper displays on the latest Apple devices, OtterBox has introduced Alpha Glass screen protectors to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The fortified glass screen protectors... Read more
Early Black Friday Mac Pro sale, 6-Core 3.5GH...
 B&H Photo has the 6-Core 3.5GHz Mac Pro on sale today for $3499 including free shipping plus NY sales tax. Their price is $500 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from... Read more
Early Black Friday sale price: 15-inch 2.2GHz...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale today for $1699.99. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $300 off MSRP, equalling Best Buy’s price... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.