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September 95 - Multipane Dialogs

Multipane Dialogs

Norman Franke

As applications grow in power and complexity, so does the tendency to present users with numerous cluttered dialog boxes. To simplify the user interface, developers are moving increasingly to dialogs with multiple panes. This article describes how to implement multipane dialogs that users navigate by clicking in a scrolling list of icons.

Dialog boxes with multiple panes ("pages" of controls) are an increasingly popular element of the Macintosh user interface. Like simple dialogs, multipane dialogs can be presented when users need to indicate preferences, set attributes of text or graphic objects, or give specifications for complex operations such as searches or formatting, among other things. By grouping related options and providing a single point of interaction for manipulating them, multipane dialogs simplify life for the user and the developer.

Five different kinds of controls for navigating multipane dialogs are in general use: the scrolling list of icons, the pop-up menu, index tabs (simulating the look of tabs on the tops of file folders in a file cabinet), Next/Previous buttons, and icon button sets. Although there aren't any hard-and-fast rules about when you should use one over another, these considerations (suggested by Elizabeth Moller of Apple's Human Interface Design Center) generally apply:

  • Novice users have trouble with pop-up menus, so choose a different kind of control if your target audience includes large numbers of these users.

  • Index tabs work well for small numbers of panes, but they may not work well when the tabs start overlapping or the number of panes is variable.

  • Next/Previous buttons are a good choice when there's more than one mandatory pane. They make it easy for users to step through mandatory and optional panes in sequence.
The sample application MPDialogs on this issue's CD demonstrates the use of a multipane preferences dialog navigated by clicking in a scrolling list of icons, similar to the Control Panel in System 6 and print dialogs in QuickDraw GX. After describing the user interface presented by this sample program, I'll go into the details of how to implement a similar multipane dialog in your own application. Source code for the routines I'll discuss is also included on the CD. This code requires System 7 and is compatible with both black-and-white and color displays.

WHAT THE USER INTERFACE LOOKS LIKE

To experience how multipane dialogs work, run the sample program MPDialogs. When you choose Preferences from the File menu, you'll be presented with the interface shown in Figure 1. This is a good illustration of the elements of a multipane dialog.

Figure 1. The Communications pane of the sample multipane dialog

The long vertical rectangle on the left side of the dialog box contains the pane selection icon list. Each icon in this scrolling list has a one-word label under it for identification and represents one pane of the dialog, which is displayed when the user clicks the icon. If you click the Defense icon, for instance, you'll see the pane shown in Figure 2. The arrow and tab keys on the keyboard can also be used to change the pane selection; however, if the current pane contains multiple editable text fields, the tab key will work as in a normal dialog and move the cursor to the next text field.

Figure 2. The Defense pane of the sample multipane dialog

The bottom portion of the dialog below the line contains two buttons that act on the dialog as a whole: Cancel and OK. The OK button accepts the settings and Cancel aborts all changes and closes the dialog. The two buttons above the line act only on the current pane and are optional: Revert restores the control values in the current pane to what they were when that pane was last opened, and Use Defaults resets the control values in that pane to factory defaults.

The large region above the buttons is where the pane's controls are placed. The sample code supplied on the CD handles actions for checkboxes, radio button groups, and pop-up menus. Command-key equivalents can be used to toggle checkboxes and radio buttons, in addition to the standard keyboard equivalents for OK (Return/Enter) and Cancel (Escape/Command-period). After experimenting with making changes to the control values in the sample program, you can choose Display from the File menu to see the results of your changes.

A couple of custom capabilities can be added to a pane through optional procedures:

  • taking special action such as dimming or undimming other controls when items are clicked

  • performing data validation such that if validation fails, the user isn't permitted to change panes or exit the dialog with the OK button
These two capabilities are demonstrated in the sample multipane dialog. When you click the Enable Self-Destruct checkbox in the Defense pane, the Self-Destruct checkbox is undimmed. When you enter nondigits in the editable text field in the Communications pane, data validation fails and you're unable to change panes or click OK.

Note that multipane dialogs, like simple dialogs, can take one of three forms:

  • standard modal dialog -- a dialog that has a border around it and no title bar, that can't be moved around on the screen, and that stays frontmost as long as it's open

  • movable modal dialog -- a dialog that has a border around it and a title bar, that can be moved around on the screen, and that stays frontmost as long as it's open and the application is frontmost

  • modeless dialog -- a dialog that looks and behaves like a normal document window with a title bar and a close box, and that isn't always frontmost
The sample program displays a movable modal dialog, but the code provided supports all three forms.

That's all there is to the interface. For some words of wisdom about things to take into account as you design your own multipane dialogs, see "Tips for Designing Multipane Dialogs." Now we'll move along to the details of how to incorporate the multipane dialog routines on the CD into your own application: the resources you need to define, the calls to make to the main routines to open the dialog and handle events, and the customizing you can do with optional procedures.

TIPS FOR DESIGNING MULTIPANE DIALOGS

BY ELIZABETH MOLLER OF APPLE'S HUMAN INTERFACE DESIGN CENTER

A multipane dialog is appropriate only when the panes you're presenting are obviously related to one another in some way. With that caveat in mind, here are some suggestions for making your multipane dialogs easy to understand and use:

  • Provide a sentence or title to help clarify your intent. For example, you might precede a scrolling list of icons in a preferences dialog with a sentence like "Select items from this list to set your SurfWriter preferences."

  • If you use an icon list, label the icons in your list to help users recognize them.

  • Visually separate buttons that apply only to the current pane from those that work on all panes (like OK and Cancel in a modal dialog).

  • Don't change the size of the dialog or window as the user navigates from pane to pane. Pick a size that accommodates the pane with the most controls.

  • Design the dialog so that changing the settings in one pane doesn't change the settings in another. For example, clicking a checkbox in one pane shouldn't disable a checkbox in another pane, because the user won't see the latter action occur and thus won't understand the cause and effect.

  • Be consistent in your use of controls. If you use a particular type of control to mean "choose a setting," for instance, don't use the same type of control to mean "navigate between panes" in the same dialog. Users should be able to easily distinguish controls that navigate through multiple panes from controls that make choices in the dialog.

  • Order the panes from mandatory to optional, by frequency of use, from general to specific, or, when no other order is apparent, alphabetically. If there are mandatory fields and controls, be sure to put them in the first pane or step the user through mandatory panes before optional ones.

  • When the dialog is closed, remember the pane that was last used, unless there are mandatory controls in a pane. If there is a mandatory pane, it should always be displayed when the dialog reopens.

DEFINING NEEDED RESOURCES

The first step in incorporating the multipane dialog routines is to define the custom resources the code needs. You'll find ResEdit TMPL templates for all the needed resources on the CD. You can put these in the ResEdit Preferences file to make them available at all times or leave them in the application you're editing.

The first resource that needs to be created is the main DLOG and its associated DITL, which will form the basis for the dialog. A sample is provided in the file MPDialogs Resources that you can simply copy into a new project's resource file. The DITL should include six items, numbered as follows:

  • OK button
  • Cancel button
  • Revert button
  • Use Defaults button
  • a user item that defines the icon list rectangle
  • a hidden static text field for default Command-key equivalents
The Revert and Use Defaults buttons can be moved offscreen to make either of them unavailable. (Alternatively, the buttons can be removed and the control #defines in the main header file, MPDialogs.h, can be changed to reflect the new numbering.) The icon list is always displayed vertically, and the rectangle doesn't include the scroll bar. The sample application provides the standard Command-key equivalents for OK and Cancel. The standard equivalents for OK are handled in the code; those for Cancel are handled by means of the hidden static text field, which defines default Command-key equivalents for the rest of the controls in the dialog as well.

A DITL needs to be created for each pane. The first item is a hidden static text field that defines Command-key equivalents for the items in the pane; this is in addition to the default list in the main DITL. See "Code for Dialog Command-Key Equivalents" for details of the syntax.

CODE FOR DIALOG COMMAND-KEY EQUIVALENTS

The Command-key equivalent code I provide in the sample uses a modified version of KeyEquivFilter, a routine in Utilities.c, which is part of DTS Lib on the CD. It takes these two additional parameters:

  • The ID of the static text item that contains the mappings. My dialog code calls this routine twice, once for the bottom buttons and a second time for the items in the pane.

  • An offset to add to the item numbers when a hit occurs. This allows the code to use relative item numbering for easier specification of Command-key equivalents in panes.

The static text item is an item-match string that follows the general format =cxxyyzz or ccxxyyzz. The =c matches the character c, and cc matches the character by its ASCII value. The next number, xx (a flag byte with the bits set to specify the modifier keys you're checking for), is logically ANDed with the modifier flags from the key-down event and compared to yy (a flag byte with the bits set to specify the values of the modifier keys -- for example, you can force the Control key to be up). If this comparison is true and if the character c matches the character the user typed, the item zz is returned as being hit.

Each item-match string is eight characters long and is separated from other such strings that follow by a comma. The numbers in the strings are hexadecimal and case is significant for character matches.

For example, the hidden static text field that's checked for each pane in the sample application is

=.190102,1B190102,1B190002
The first item-match string checks for a period and for the Control, Option, and Command keys. If only the Command key has been pressed, item 2 is returned as being hit. Similarly, the next item-match string handles Command-Escape (Escape is 1B) and the last item-match string handles Escape by itself.


The items are numbered local to each DITL, so that, for example, the first control would be item 2. All user items in the DITL are set to the DrawGray procedure, which outlines the item's rectangle with either the gray color or a stippled gray pattern, depending on the user's monitor.

Next, a DTL# resource should be created with the same resource ID as the main DLOG resource. It contains a list of the resource IDs of the DITLs that comprise a specific multipane dialog and the text displayed under each icon in the list. Then the icon groups are created; they have the same resource ID as the DITL to which they correspond. Small versions of the icons aren't needed, but color versions should be created for display on color-capable Macintosh computers.

Optional DGRP resources can be created for specifying radio button groups. The resource ID is the same as that of the corresponding pane's DITL. Each DGRP can contain multiple groups per pane, if desired; however, a particular radio button should only be used in a single group. Like the per-pane Command-key equivalent strings, items are numbered local to the DITL.

You should also copy the following:

  • the pseudo-CDEF with resource ID 251, which provides support for using the icon list as a control (in the file MPDialogs Resources)

  • the LDEF with resource ID 130, which implements the icon list definition for the List Manager (in the file Icon LDEF in the LDEF folder)

  • optionally, the 'hdlg' resource and corresponding STR# resource for Balloon Help support (in the file MPDialogs Resources)
You can add Balloon Help to a multipane dialog by adding two help items to the individual DITL resources that make up each pane. One is for the controls in the main DITL and uses an 'hdlg' resource and an STR# resource with the same ID. The second help item is an 'hdlg' resource for each pane's DITL; it should start at item 8 for the first control in the pane. See the file MPDialogs.u.rsrc on the CD for a sample 'hdlg' resource for the first pane.

CALLING THE MAIN ROUTINES

Now we'll review the calls your application needs to make to the main routines in order to open and close the multipane dialog, handle events, and access the values of the controls in the dialog. But first, let's look at the data your application needs to maintain.

POINTERS AND HANDLES

Your application must maintain a DialogPtr for each dialog used. You also need to declare a handle for storing the returned settings. Passing a pointer to NULL causes the code to allocate a new handle and return it to the caller; otherwise, a handle to an existing record must be provided. For a preferences dialog, this data should be maintained in the application's preferences file in the Preferences folder.
    Implementing preferences files is discussed in the article "The Right Way to Implement Preferences Files" in develop Issue 18.*
The sample code internally allocates an MPDHdl for each open multipane dialog for storing state information. The handle is stored in the refCon of the dialog.

OPENING, HANDLING EVENTS, AND CLOSING

Your application should call OpenMPDialog for each desired multipane dialog, taking any actions necessary when a dialog is opened, such as disabling menus. This call is passed the resource ID of the DLOG for the dialog, a reference to the handle that stores the returned settings, and four optional parameters, which are described later. Here's an example:
DialogPtr prefDlog = NULL;
Handle thePrefs = NULL;

prefDlog = OpenMPDialog (kPrefDLOG, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL,
                        &thePrefs);
if (prefDlog) SetMenusBusy();
// If NULL, the dialog couldn't be opened. 

The main event loop should call DoMPDialogEvent after each event is returned from WaitNextEvent. If DoMPDialogEvent returns true, the multipane dialog routines have handled the event; your application should inspect the DialogPtr to determine whether the dialog has been closed, so that the application can recover from the dialog state. A return value of false indicates that your application should process the event as it would normally. For example:
if (DoMPDialogEvent(&prefDlog, &mainEventRec)) {
   // A NULL DialogPtr means the dialog has been closed. 
   if (!prefDlog)
      SetMenusIdle();
} else {
   // Process the event as usual. 
   ...
}
To dispose of the dialog without user interaction, your application can call CloseMPDialog:
CloseMPDialog(prefDlog);
After the dialog has been closed, it's the application's responsibility to dispose of or save the data handle created with the call to OpenMPDialog. The code I've provided assumes this handle is maintained by the application after creation.

ACCESSING CONTROL VALUES

The following two routines are provided for accessing the control values stored in the data handle:
  • GetMPDItem retrieves the value of the control corresponding to the pane and item specified and stores it in a buffer.

  • SetMPDItem stores in the handle a value retrieved from a buffer.
Both of these routines assume that the caller knows the length and type of the control's data representation. Items are numbered differently from in the DITL resource -- only items that have a value are included, and the values for radio button groups come after those for all other controls in the data. The values of checkboxes, enabled buttons in radio button groups, and pop-up menus are stored as 16-bit integers. Return codes are defined in the header file. Errors are returned for invalid pane and item numbers and buffer lengths.

The routines are declared as follows:

short GetMPDItem (Handle theData, short pane, short item, Ptr ptr,
                  short len)
short SetMPDItem (Handle theData, short pane, short item, Ptr ptr,
                  short len)
The sample application, in the code for DialogDisplay, provides a basic example of the use of these routines to display the current settings of the controls in the previously closed dialog.

Normally, these routines should be sufficient to access the data in the handle. However, those applications for which it would be more efficient to manipulate the handle directly can use the following format:

Last Open Pane
Offset to Pane 1, Offset to Pane 2, ..., Offset to Pane n, NULL
(Pane 1) Length of Item 1, Data for Item 1, ..., Length of Item m,
   Data for Item m, NULL
...
(Pane n) Length of Item 1, Data for Item 1, ..., Length of Item m,
   Data for Item m, NULL
The Last Open Pane and the Offset to Pane fields are all long integers and the Length of Item fields are all short integers. The Length of Item value doesn't include the length of itself; to get to the next field you would add
Length of Item + sizeof(short)
to the pointer. The Last Open Pane field allows the multipane dialog code to display the dialog with the last pane the user had open as the current pane.

That's all you need to know to make basic use of my multipane dialog code. But you can also go a step further: you can customize certain aspects of a multipane dialog by using the four optional parameters to OpenMPDialog mentioned above.

CUSTOMIZING WITH OPTIONAL PROCEDURES

The second through fifth parameters to OpenMPDialog can indicate action procedures that customize dialog behavior by responding to certain events. A value of NULL for any of these parameters tells the application to use the default behavior. To provide custom behavior, you would pass a universal procedure pointer instead of NULL. The procedures can also be changed dynamically, with the InstallAction routine.

The action procedures and the default actions are as follows:

  • The Set Defaults action procedure (parameter 2) provides factory defaults for controls. The default action is to set them to 0.

  • The Click action procedure (parameter 3) enables you to customize the actions resulting from clicking a control, such as dimming or undimming other controls or performing data validation. The default action is to toggle checkboxes and handle radio buttons via the Radio Group action procedure.

  • The Edit action procedure (parameter 4) enables special handling of editable text fields, such as converting the string to an integer. The default action is to store the entire string as a Str255.

  • The Radio Group action procedure (parameter 5) enables you to customize the behavior of radio button groups, such as how the values are stored. The default action is to store the value as the index number of the radio button that's enabled in the group; the default value is 1 (the first radio button in the group).
All the action procedure pointers are declared as UniversalProcPtrs for compatibility in case of PowerPC compilation, so they must be allocated before use. The sample program does this by declaring a UniversalProcPtr for each desired action procedure. For example, the one for the Click action procedure is declared as follows:
ClickActionUPP myClickAction = NULL;
It's initialized in the main routine of the application like this:
myClickAction = NewClickActionProc(MyClickAction);
Depending on what you want to do in the action procedures, you may need to make use of the MPDHdl stored in the dialog's refCon, mentioned earlier. This is a handle to an MPDRec (shown in Listing 1), which is the main data structure used by the multipane dialog code for state information. None of the elements of this structure should be modified by user code. The four UPP fields can be manipulated via calls to InstallAction and RemoveAction.

Listing 1. The MPDRec structure

typedef struct MPDRec {
  short           numPanes;    // Number of panes in the dialog
  short           currentPane; // Current pane being displayed 
  short           baseItems;   // Item number of first item in panes
  short           *paneIDs;    // List of IDs for the pane's DITLs
  short           paneDirty;   // Whether Revert should be enabled
  RadioGroupPt    radio;       // Linked list of radio button groups
  Handle          theData;     // Actual storage for dialog values
  Handle          tmpData;     // Temporary storage for dialog values
  Handle          *IconHandles;// List of icon suites
  ListHandle      theList;     // List Manager list for the icon list
  ClickActionUPP  ClickAction; // Action procedures
  EditActionUPP   EditAction;
  GroupActionUPP  GroupAction;
  DefActionUPP    DefAction; 
} MPDRec, *MPDPtr, **MPDHdl;
The baseItems field will be the most useful in the action procedures. It holds the item number of the first item in the pane, which is the hidden static text item used for Command-key equivalents. Thus, if dataH is of type MPDHdl, the index of the first real control (the second DITL entry) in the pane will be (*dataH)->baseItems + 1.

Now let's take a closer look at each of the action procedures.

THE SET DEFAULTS ACTION PROCEDURE

The Set Defaults action procedure provides factory defaults for checkboxes and other controls, except for radio button groups (handled in the Radio Group action procedure). It's called with a pointer to -- and the length of -- a buffer holding the internal representation of the value of a single control corresponding to a specific pane and item number. You can call DefaultAction to take the default action for items your code doesn't handle. The procedure is declared like this:
void MySetDefAction (Ptr theData, short len, short iType, short pane,
                    short item)
The Set Defaults action procedure's defaults for radio buttons apply only to those that aren't part of a radio button group. But using single radio buttons is definitely not advised; all radio buttons should be in groups to be consistent with the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines.

THE CLICK ACTION PROCEDURE

The Click action procedure enables you to customize the actions resulting from clicking a control. For instance, this procedure can handle dimming or undimming other items when certain controls are clicked. It can also provide validation for control settings when the user tries to change the pane or click OK, to ensure that the entered settings make sense. The procedure receives a DialogPtr and the pane and item numbers. It's declared as follows:
short MyClickAction(short mType, DialogPtr dlog, short pane,
                    short item)
The mType parameter specifies the message to process when the action procedure is called. The procedure is called with a kInitAction message right after the control is set when the pane is first displayed; this gives you an opportunity to set up the initial state of the dialog. The procedure is called with a kClickAction message after the user has released the mouse button in a control. A kValidateAction message is received for data validation; it's the responsibility of the Click action procedure to put up an alert to notify the user if a setting is unacceptable.

Listing 2 is a Click action procedure from the sample application that undims the third checkbox in the Defense pane (Self-Destruct) if the second checkbox (Enable Self-Destruct) is checked. It also ensures that the editable text field in the Communications pane contains only digits; if this field contains nondigits, the validation fails and the user can't change panes or click OK.

Listing 2. A sample Click action procedure

short MyClickAction(short mType, DialogPtr dlog, short pane,
                    short item)
{
   MPDHdl   dataH;
   short    iType, val = 0;
   Rect     iRect;
   Handle   iHandle;

   // Obtain multipane dialog state record.
   dataH = (MPDHdl) GetWRefCon(dlog);

   // Handle the second item validation.
   if (mType == kValidateAction) {
      // Validation fails if nondigits are in the field.
      if (pane == kCommPane &&
         item == kFrequency + (*dataH)->baseItems) {
         GetDialogItem(dlog, item, &iType, &iHandle, &
                       iRect);
         GetDialogItemText(iHandle, theStr);
         val = VerifyDigits(theStr);
         if (val)
            StopAlert(ALERT_Invalid, NULL);
      }
      // All other items validate OK.
      return val;
   }

   // If this isn't the second checkbox, handle things the default
   // way.
   if (pane != kMiscellaneousPane ||
         item != kEnableSelfDestruct + (*dataH)->baseItems)
      return (DefaultClickAction(mType, dlog, pane, item));

   // Initialize and Click messages are handled almost the same.
   // Dim the third checkbox based on the value of the second.
   GetDialogItem(dlog, item, &iType, &iHandle, &iRect);
   val = GetControlValue((ControlHandle) iHandle);
   switch (mType) {
      // Toggle the item in response to the user click.
      case kClickAction:
         val = !val;
         SetControlValue((ControlHandle) iHandle, val);
         // Fall through!
      // In either case, enable/disable next checkbox.
      case kInitAction:
         AbleDItem(dlog, kSelfDestruct + (*dataH)->baseItems, val);
         break;
   }

   // Initialize and Click messages should never fail.
   return 0;
}
The default Click action procedure, DefaultClickAction, calls the Radio Group action procedure to handle buttons in a radio button group; thus, actions in response to a click in a radio button group should be handled there. Call DefaultClickAction to inherit default functionality for controls not handled in your customization procedure.

THE EDIT ACTION PROCEDURE

The Edit action procedure enables special handling of editable text fields. A common implementation is to store the field's string as a long integer, converting the string value to and from this form as needed.

This procedure receives a pointer to a buffer for storage of the control's internal value, a handle to the control, and the pane and item numbers; it returns the length of the space required for the text field. The first parameter is a message that informs the procedure whether to calculate the storage size for this field, initialize the value, or copy the value to or from the field.

The procedure is declared as follows:

short MyEditAction(short mType, Ptr hPtr, Handle iHandle, short pane,
                   short item)
The kCalcAction message requests the amount of storage required for the representation of the field value in memory. The kInitAction message requests that the value of the field be initialized. The kP2TAction message requests that the code retrieve the value of the field and store it in memory (in other words, that the permanent storage value be transferred to the temporary storage area -- P2T is shorthand for "permanent to temporary"). Conversely, the kT2PAction message ("temporary to permanent") requests that the code set the field to the value indicated by the representation in memory. Default behavior can be maintained by calling DefaultEditAction, if desired.

Listing 3 is an Edit action procedure from our sample application. Normally, the procedure should check the item and pane numbers to distinguish between different text fields, but the sample application has only one such field.

Listing 3. A sample Edit action procedure

short MyEditAction(short mType, Ptr hPtr, Handle iHandle, short pane,
                   short item)
{
   short      ret = 0;
   long      val;
   Str255   textStr;

   Assert(hPtr != NULL);
   switch (mType) {
      case kP2TAction:      // Save value of control.
         GetItemDialogText(iHandle, textStr);
         StringToNum(textStr, &val);
         *(long *) hPtr = val;
         ret = sizeof(long);
         break;
      case kT2PAction:      // Set value of control.
         val = *(long *) hPtr;
         NumToString(val, textStr);
         SetIText(iHandle, textStr);
         ret = sizeof(long);
         break;
      case kInitAction:      // Initialize value.
         *(long *) hPtr = 0;
         ret = sizeof(long);
         break;
      case kCalcAction:      // How much storage do we need for this?
         ret = sizeof(long);
         break;
   }
   return ret;
}

THE RADIO GROUP ACTION PROCEDURE

To simplify using radio button groups, a single value is stored for the entire group. This value is the relative item number of the enabled button in the group. For example, the value of a group of three radio buttons with the second one enabled would be 2.

In the sample program, radio button groups are stored in a linked list starting from the radio field of the MPDRec structure. The RadioGroup structure is defined as shown in Listing 4.

Listing 4. The RadioGroup structure

typedef struct RadioGroup {
   struct RadioGroup *next;
   short pane;
   short num;
   short items[1]; 
} RadioGroup, *RadioGroupPtr;
The next field points to the next radio button group, to enable traversing the linked list of groups. The pane field is the pane number this group belongs to. The num field holds the number of items that make up this radio button group. The relative item numbers of these radio buttons are stored in the items array.

The Radio Group action procedure enables you to customize the behavior of radio button groups. For instance, an application could choose to store radio button group values differently from the default or handle dimming or undimming of items in response to the user's actions. The Radio Group action procedure receives the same messages as the Edit action procedure. It returns the length of the space required for the radio button group's internal storage; the default is four bytes per group, two for the number of radio buttons and two for the value as a short integer.

Like the Edit action procedure, the Radio Group action procedure is called with the kInitAction and kCalcAction messages. However, these messages occur before the dialog is opened, so the DialogPtr will be NULL at that time. The procedure is declared like this:

short MyGroupAction(short mType, RadioGroupPtr group, Handle dataH,
                    DialogPtr dlog, Ptr hPtr, short pane, short item)
Note that in response to the kInitAction message, the action procedure is expected to store the number of radio buttons in the group in the first two bytes of the internal storage. Here's an example from the default Radio Group action procedure (dataH is of type MPDHdl):
for (i = 0; i < group->num; i++) {
  if (GetCheckOrRadio(dlog, group->
        items[i] + (*dataH)->baseItems - 1))*(short *) hPtr = i + 1;
}
To obtain the actual item number for the control in the dialog, you just add
(*dataH)->baseItems - 1
to the relative number stored in the items array, as shown in the above code. As mentioned earlier, the baseItems field of dataH is the number of the first pane-specific item in the dialog.

NOW WHAT?

The code that accompanies this article on this issue's CD provides an easy-to-implement method for adding icon-selected multipane dialogs to any application. (The routines for managing radio button groups could be extracted without much difficulty and used elsewhere.) The sample program also provides an example of using the AppendDITL and ShortenDITL routines. So experiment with the sample application and then try out multipane dialogs as a way of simplifying the user interface in your own application.

NORMAN FRANKE misses the large electrical storms and green things of his native Pennsylvania, but not the humidity. He's using the B.S. in computer science he earned from Carnegie Mellon as he writes Macintosh software for a large national laboratory in northern California. Now working on an M.S. in computer science at Stanford, he enjoys writing sound manipulation software for his Macintosh and watching classic and action/adventure movies in his spare time.*

Thanks to our technical reviewers Tim Craycroft, Nitin Ganatra, C. K. Haun, and Elizabeth Moller. Thanks also to Eric Soldan for ListControl and KeyEquivFilter from DTS Lib.*

 
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SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

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Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Baseball Battle Review
Baseball Battle Review By Jennifer Allen on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE HITTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Simple and cute, Baseball Battle is a fairly fun baseball game for those looking for something... | Read more »
Checkmark 2.1 Update Released, and it’s...
Checkmark 2.1 Update Released, and it’s on Sale for a Limited Time Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Labor Day Weekend MacBook Pro sale; 15-inch m...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Labor Day Weekend iPad mini sale; $50 to $100...
Best Buy has the iPad mini with Retina Display (WiFi models) on sale for $50 off MSRP on their online store for Labor Day Weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $899,...
Adorama has the new 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
It’s Official: Apple Issues Invitations To Se...
Apple has issued one of its characteristically cryptic press invitations for a special event to be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in hometown Cupertino on Sept. 9, 2014 at 10:00 am... Read more
Tablet Shipments To See First On-year Decline...
TrendForce analyst Caroline Chen notes that when the iPad launched in 2010, it was an instant hit and spurred a tablet PC revolution, with tablets so popular that that notebook PC sales stagnated and... Read more
SOBERLINK Releases Apple iOS Compatible Handh...
Cypress, California based SOBERLINK, Inc., creator of the first handheld Breathalyzer designed to improve recovery outcomes, continues to show prominence in the mobile alcohol monitoring space with... Read more
New 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale again for $999, s...
Best Buy has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their online store. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for online orders only, in-... Read more
Smartphone Outlook Remains Strong for 2014, U...
According to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, more than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2014,... Read more
Save up to $60 with Apple refurbished iPod to...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Many, but not all... Read more
12-Inch MacBook Air Coming in 4Q14 or 2015 –...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that according to Taiwan-based upstream supply chain insiders, Apple plans to launch a thinner MacBook model either at year end 2014 or in 2015, and that... Read more

Jobs Board

*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* 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* 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* 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
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
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