TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Constructing Apps
Volume Number:1
Issue Number:3
Column Tag:C Workshop

Basics in Constructing Applications

By Robert B. Denny

Last month’s C Workshop presented an application “template”, a program shell which can be used as the basis of many kinds of applications. The template can be used with most C systems since there are no calls to library functions. The only external services used are native Mac toolbox traps.

This month, we’ll look at some of the basics in constructing applications, including the tricky area of servicing desk accessories properly. If you have access to last month’s C Workshop, you can refer to the template application’s code for examples. It’s not necessary, though.

Common Requirements

Most applications share several common requirements. These are:

• Overall control is via the menu bar and pull-down menus.

• Detail control and input uses both the mouse and the keyboard.

• Multiple instances of multiple types of windows serve as user interfaces.

• All desk accessories must be usable during execution of the application, within the limits of available memory.

These requirements, combined with the Macintosh operating system, imply the overall application setup and control structure described below.

Applications should begin by initializing all of the system services that it intends to use. At a minimum, all applications should call InitGraf(), InitWindows(),InitFonts(), InitMenus(), InitDialogs() and TEInit(). Some desk accessories use dialogs, which in turn use TextEdit.

Menu Setup

Any application that supports desk accessories must support a menu bar with at least the “Apple”, “File” and “Edit” menus. These menus must be present as required by the Macintosh User Interface Guidelines, and desk accessories assume that they are present. Moreover, the “File” and “Edit” menu options must also conform to the User Interface Guidelines. Desk accessories make assumptions as to the order and meaning of options in these menus.

The “Apple” menu must be set up to contain the desk accessories for selection and opening. Your application must do this explicitly by first creating the menu then adding the desk accessories via the AddResMenu() service. For example:

MenuHandle mh;
 ...
InsertMenu(mh = GetMenu(1), 0);
AddResMenu(mh, ‘DRVR’);
 ...
DrawMenuBar();

In the example, GetMenu() loads the menu resource whose ID = 1 and returns a handle to it, which gets stored in mh. InsertMenu() then adds the menu to the menu bar. Next, AddResMenu() appends the names of all resources of type ‘DRVR’ to the menu. Desk accessories are “drivers” to the current Mac operating system, hence have the resource type of ‘DRVR’. Real drivers have names beginning with ‘.’ or ‘%’ and will not get added to the menu.

The “File” menu is not used (yet) by any of the standard desk accessories. It is up for grabs, though, and should follow the User Interface Guidelines. That is, the items should follow the order:

 New
 Open...
 Close
 Save
 Save as...
 ------
 Page Setup
 Print...
 ------
 Quit

Desk accessories are free to assume that the ordering (and therefore numbering) of menu items in the “File” menu conforms to the above.

The “Edit” menu is used by the Note Pad and other desk accessories. Again, the layout of the menu must follow the user interface guidelines, namely:

 Undo
 ------
 Copy
 Cut
 Paste
 ------
 Show Clipboard

To reiterate, the leftmost three menus must conform to the Macintosh User Interface Guidelines stated in Inside Macintosh if the application is to support desk accessories.

The Event Loop

The single most important character- istic of a Macintosh application is that it is event-driven. Most Mac applications have an “event loop” as their outermost control structure. Following initializa- tion, the application does something like:

while(TRUE)
 {
 SystemTask();
 if(!GetNextEvent(-1, &event))
 continue;
 switch(event.what)
 {

 ... cases for each event type
 ... our application handles

 default:  /* Junk other events */
 }
 }

It is vitally important to understand the event loop. Most trips around the loop circle back at the continue statement that gets executed if GetNextEvent() returns FALSE, meaning that there is no event for us to handle. In future versions of the Macintosh operating system which support multitasking, GetNextEvent() will probably return control to the scheduler, giving other tasks CPU time until an event occurs for the caller.

In any case, when an event for us does occur, GetNextEvent() returns TRUE and fills in our event record with information describing the nature of the event. In C, the event record can be defined as follows:

struct EventRecord
 {
 short  what;
 long   message;
 long   when;
 Point  where;
 short  modifiers;
 };

where the type Point is some mapping of the QuickDraw “point”, an ordered pair of 16-bit coordinates.

Control passes to the switch() statement, which dispatches to the event handling function appropriate for the event type. For example, an event type of mouseDown would dispatch to the function that handles mouse clicks.

In the example shown, the value for the first parameter to GetNextEvent() is -1. This parameter is the event mask, and in this case, it is set to “get” all types of events. The switch() statement should have case sections for each event type that the application explicitly handles. Other types of events use the default case, which does nothing.

If the event mask parameter specifies a subset of event types, those not specified will remain on the event queue for possible later processing. This may be needed for applications which use a certain event type to trigger processing of earlier events of other types not normally processed. This is tricky, though, and can be the source of some obscure bugs. Also, unprocessed events on the queue take up valuable memory space.

If that isn’t enough, there’s a system- wide event mask that controls what event types are recognized and queued. Your application can disable the queueing of certain event types by calling the SetEventMask() service. If your applica- tion doesn’t process certain event types, you should disable them in the system event mask. This prevents wasting valuable event queue memory space with unprocessed event records.

The bottom line is ... call GetNextEvent() with an event mask of everyEvent (-1) to dequeue all event types, then let the default case dispose of the events you aren’t interested in.

Just prior to calling GetNextEvent(), notice the call to SystemTask(). This Mac system service causes control to pass to each open desk accessory, in turn, then back to the caller. Normally, one call at the beginning of the event loop is sufficient to give desk accessories the time they need. If you have any places in your application where you “spin your wheels”, consider calling SystemTask() to help waste some time.

In a multi-tasking version of the Mac, SystemTask() will probably do nothing. Rather, control will be given to the task only when there is a live event for that task. Timer services will be provided for passing control back to the scheduler (and other tasks) when a synchronous delay is needed in the current task.

The event loop is the fundamental control structure of a Macintosh applica- tion. If you haven’t studied The Event Manager: A Programmer’s Guide, a chapter in Inside Macintosh, you should take the time now to do so.

Mouse-Down Events

Any application which supports desk accessories must handle mouse-down events. A mouse click in a desk accessory window gets passed as an event to the application. This quirk in the Mac system architecture requires the application to determine whether the click was in a desk accessory window or in one of its own windows. I should mention that this approach to click handling minimizes the uncontrollable overhead in the operating system for applications which need every available CPU cycle and which do not support desk accessories (whew!).

So, if you want to support desk accessories, your application must detect and process mouse-down events. If you detect a mouse click, first call the Window Manager function FindWindow() to find out where the cursor was when the mouse button was clicked.

If FindWindow() returns the predefined constant inSysWindow, it means that the cursor was in a desk accessory window when the mouse was clicked. If this is the case, call the Desk Manager function SystemClick(). This passes control back to the operating system service which handles desk accessory windows.

Other returns from FindWindow() indicate mouse clicks in windows (including what “part” of the window) or the menu bar, or out in “no man’s land”, the desktop background. We’ll discuss window handling in a future C Workshop. If the click is in the menu bar, then our application must dispatch to a menu handler, another necessity if we are to handle desk accessories.

Menu Selections

If the mouse click is “in the Menu Bar”, then our application must first determine the selected menu number and the item number in that menu, then dispatch accordingly. First, call the MenuSelect() service to get a longword containing both the menu number and the item number in that menu, then use HiWord() and LoWord() to split them up:

 unsigned short menu_id, item_no;
 unsigned long result;
 unsigned short HiWord(), LoWord();
 unsigned long MenuSelect();
 ...
 result = MenuSelect(&event.where);
 menu_id = HiWord(result);
 item_no = LoWord(result);

Then use nested switch() statements to dispatch based on the menu and item selected.

If the “Apple” menu has the desk accessories, your application must activate a selected accessory. If the menu selected is the “Apple” menu, and you have determined that the selection was indeed an accessory, then you simply call OpenDeskAcc() with the name of the menu item (the desk accessory name). The latter can be obtained by calling GetItem() with the menu item number.

The “Edit” menu must also be handled specially if desk accessories such as the Note Pad are to be supported properly. Before trying to dispatch to your own edit-handling functions, you must call the SystemEdit() service. If it returns FALSE, then dispatch to your own function. If it returns TRUE, however, then the menu selection was made while an editing desk accessory was open. The desk accessory handled (used) the request; you must ignore it.

If you haven’t yet studied the The Desk Manager: A Programmer’s Guide, a section of Inside Macintosh, then you should do so now. It’s required reading for programmers who are developing applications which must support desk accessories.

Final Words: Resources Versus Static Data

I’d like to finish up this month’s C Workshop with some thoughts on the use of resources in C programs. Pascal has no facilities for statically initializing data structures. Therefore, Pascal program- mers have no choice but to load static data via the resource mechanism if they are to avoid ugly space-consuming “initialization segments”. You should carefully consider the tradeoffs before deciding whether to make a particular data structure static in your program or to place it in a resource.

Any data that is designed to be tailored after building the application belongs in a resource. Same with large data struc- tures that are used infrequently and can be “purged” from the heap. They too should go in a resource.

It’s my feeling that anything else belongs in your application’s static data area if you can affored the room. Why? The use of resources can slow down your application markedly. On 128K systems, heap space is fragmented by frequent resource manager activity, causing garbage collection cycles and purges to disk. Reading in of resources to initialize static data is far slower than having them present in your application’s address space when it is loaded. Last but not least, it is difficult to maintain programs which contain constants that depend on the contents of resources. For example, the numbering of menu items must track across the C code and the RMaker source as well. As a C programmer, you have a choice.

Author’s Note

During the last couple of months, this author has received some comments regarding bias toward a particular C language system. I feel that a few explanatory words are in order.

It is not the present editorial policy of MacTech to review software products, or otherwise make comparisons or recommendations. There are many Mac publications providing this service. This publication is devoted to providing meaningful technical information for serious programmers. Each developer must decide for himself the system that best meets his requirements.

My philosophy of teaching strongly emphasizes both reading and writing. Programs provided in this column are intended to serve as “reading material”. In the interest of completeness, I feel that the particular C system used to implement a program should be part of the program’s documentation.

I do not endorse any C language system. There are many C systems on the market at this time, and more are appearing every month. Each of these systems has it’s own library and interface to the native Macintosh environment.

In order to minimize the dependence on a particular C system, the example programs given in this column will use a minimum of library support. The template program shown in the October 1984 edition has no library dependency at all.

 
AAPL
$118.93
Apple Inc.
-0.07
MSFT
$47.81
Microsoft Corpora
+0.06
GOOG
$541.83
Google Inc.
+1.46

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Adobe Photoshop Elements 13.0 - Consumer...
Adobe Photoshop Elements 12--the #1 selling consumer photo editing software--helps you edit pictures with powerful, easy-to-use options and share them via print, the web, Facebook, and more.Version... Read more
Skype 7.2.0.412 - Voice-over-internet ph...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred G...
Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove HD Review By Jennifer Allen on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad A decent new installment for the popular Mystery Case Files series.   | Read more »
Castaway Paradise – Tips, Tricks, and St...
Ahoy there, castaways: Were you curious about our own thoughts regarding this pristine shipwreck? Check out our Castaway Paradise review! Castaway Paradise is out for iOS, finally giving mobile gamers the opportunity to enjoy the idyllic lifestyle... | Read more »
Castaway Paradise VIP Subs are on Sale f...
Castaway Paradise VIP Subs are on Sale for a Limited Time, and a Special Holiday Update is Coming Soon Posted by Rob Rich on November 28th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Primitive Review
Primitive Review By Jordan Minor on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FOLK ARTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad True to its name, Primitive is about as straightforward as runners get.   | Read more »
7 tips to get ahead of the competition i...
7 tips to get ahead of the competition in Dynasty of Dungeons Posted by Simon Reed on November 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playcrab has launched their action-packed new dungeon crawler, Dynasty of Dungeons, today. | Read more »
Master of Tea Kung Fu Review
Master of Tea Kung Fu Review By Jordan Minor on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ONE DROP RULESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Master of Tea Kung Fu is a creative and complex caffeinated brawler.   | Read more »
Monster Strike Review
Monster Strike Review By Campbell Bird on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BILLIARD STRATEGYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Collect monsters and battle by flinging them across the battlefield in this strangely... | Read more »
Proun+ Review
Proun+ Review By Jennifer Allen on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TWITCHY RACINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Twitchy racing aplenty in Proun+, an enjoyably tricky title.   | Read more »
Lucha Amigos (Games)
Lucha Amigos 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Forget Ninja Turtles, and meet Wrestlers Turtles! Crazier, Spicier and…Bouncier! Sling carapaces of 7 Luchadores to knock all... | Read more »
Record of Agarest War Zero (Games)
Record of Agarest War Zero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: HyperDevbox Holiday Turkey Black Friday Special Pricing! To celebrate the opening of the holiday season HyperDevbox... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Up To 75% Off Infovole Text Apps Over Black F...
Infovole’s entire range of apps, including the Textkraft family of word processors for iPads and iPhones, is being offered at 50-75% off over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. The five-day... Read more
Black Friday: Up to $60 off Mac minis, NY tax...
 B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $60 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449.99 $50 off... Read more
Black Friday: 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 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
Karalux Announces 24K Gold-Plated iPhone 6
Karalux, a Vietnam-based jewellery firm, has launched a unique 24 karat gold-plated iPhone 6 version with gold-cast monolithic dragon on its back panel. The real 24 karat gold plated enclosure doesn’... Read more
Black Friday: 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook P...
 B&H Photo has lowered their price for the 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro to $1159 for Black Friday. That’s $140 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model (except for Apple’s $1099... Read more
View all the Black Friday sales on our Mac Pr...
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. View Black Friday sale prices at a... Read more
Black Friday: 11-inch MacBook Air for $779, s...
 Best Buy has lowered their price for the 2014 11″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air to $779.99 for Black Friday. That’s $120 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale... Read more
Apple Store Black Friday sale for 2014: $100...
BLACK FRIDAY The Apple Store has posted their Black Friday deals for 2014. Receive a $100 PRODUCT(RED) branded iTunes gift card with the purchase of select Macs, $50 with iPads, and $25 with iPods,... Read more
Black Friday: 15% off iTunes Gift Cards
Staples is offering 15% off $50 and $100 iTunes Gift Cards on their online store as part of their Black Friday sale. Click here for more information. Shipping is free. Best Buy is offering $100... Read more
BEVL Releases Dock Tailored for iPhone 6 and...
Seattle based BEVL has released their first product: an iPhone dock that is divergent in build quality, rock-solid function and visual simplicity to complement the iPhone. BEVL is now accepting... 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.