TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Window Barrier
Volume Number:4
Issue Number:1
Column Tag:ABC's of C

Breaking the Four Window Barrier

By William Rausch, Kennewick, WA

It seems that every good Macintosh example program (of a text editor, graphics program, or whatever) is hung up on the idea of four windows. Of course, those that aren’t such good example programs only use one window! This limit always seems to be a result of the unnecessary use of global data structures.

Most multi-window Macintosh example programs contain some lines that look like:

WindowPtr some_windows[how_many];
data_structure some_data[how_many];

where how_many is defined to be four. The programmer will claim that it is easy to change this number to be as large as necessary, and the application can be easily recompiled. That is fine for the programmer, but what about the end user. He is stuck with whatever number the programmer happens to choose. If the programmer happens to choose a number of windows and data structures that perfectly fits a 512K Macintosh, then the user is probably not able to take advantage of the extra memory of a Macintosh Plus, much less a Macintosh with even more memory.

In actuality, it is not necessary to predefine any number of windows, or the data structures that are associated with them. Since the Macintosh has an operating system that knows all about windows and how to keep track of them, it makes little sense for the application programmer to duplicate this effort.

The window data structure contains a 32-bit field called refCon which Inside Macintosh describes as “the window’s reference value field, which the application may store into and access for any purpose”. One such purpose, which is mentioned but not demonstrated in many books on Macintosh programming, is to store a handle to some application specific data structure which contains the information that is pertinent to that window.

Since every event given to an application by the Event Manager will contain a pointer to the window concerned, there is no need for the application to keep an array of WindowPtrs; and since each window contains a refCon field, there is no need to keep an array of data structures. Instead, allocate the necessary space for the data structure at the time the new window is created, and put its handle in the refCon field of the window’s data structure. Then, whenever an event is processed, just pass the WindowPtr along to the functions which are going to process the event. These functions then can get access to the data structure when they need it.

The code fragments which follow demonstrate the concepts described:

enum window_type
  {
  type_a,
  type_b,
  type_c
  };

typedef union
  {
  struct
    {
    ...         /* type_a window data */
    } a;
  struct
    {
    ...         /* type_b window data */
    } b;
  struct
    {
    ...         /* type_c window data */
    } c;
  } content,*content_ptr,**content_hndl;

typedef struct 
  {
  enum window_type xxx;   /* optional, appl. specific */
  content_hndl yyy;   /* could include union directly */
  ...
  } window_data, *data_ptr, **data_hndl;

...

make_window(type)
enum window_type type;
  {
  WindowRecord *a_window;
  data_hndl a_data;
  content_hndl a_content;
  ...

  a_window = 
    (WindowRecord *)NewWindow(...);
  a_data = 
    (data_hndl)NewHandle(sizeof(w_data));
  a_content = (content_hndl)NewHandle
                       (sizeof(content));
  (**a_data).xxx = type;
  (**a_data).yyy = a_content;
  a_window->refCon = (long)a_data;
  ...
  }

...

event_loop()
  {
  EventRecord the_event;
  WindowPtr which_window;
  int window_code;
  ...

  while (TRUE)
    {
    if (GetNextEvent(everyEvent, 
                     &the_event))
      {
      switch (the_event.what)
        {
        case mouseDown:
        window_code = FindWindow
                      (the_event.where, 
                       &which_window);
        switch (window_code)
          {
          case inSysWindow:
          SystemClick(&the_event,
                      which_window);
          break;
          
          case inContent:
          process_window(which_window);
          break;

          ...
          }
        break;

        ...
        }
      }
    else
      {
      }
    }
  }

...

process_window(the_window)
WindowRecord *the_window;
  {
  data_hndl the_data;
  ...

  the_data = 
      (data_hndl)(the_window->refCon);
  switch ((**the_data).xxx)
    {
    case type_a:
    process_a_window(the_window);
    break;

    case type_b:
    process_b_window(the_window);
    break;

    case type_c:
    process_c_window(the_window);
    break;
    }
  ...
  }

This general technique may, in some very particular cases, slow things down a little. Generally, this won’t be the case because most applications spend a majority of their time processing NULL events. If you wanted to speed things up a little bit and still maintain the dynamic allocation capabilities of this programming approach, use just one globally declared WindowPtr and one data_handle and just update them to always point at the window/data_structure that the current event refers to. Then you wouldn’t have to pass the event’s WindowPtr to the called function(s).

Of course, most applications need to be able to find all of their windows at times, e.g., when Quitting the application so that changes can be saved, or when updating the windows. At those times, it is still possible to avoid using a global array merely by calling FrontWindow() and following the linked list of pointers stored in the nextWindow field of the window’s data structure.

This approach to creating windows in an application, which I call “fire and forget” (and which could be considered as a small first step towards object oriented programming), will allow your application to create as many new windows (and their associated data structures) as the user desires. It is also a convenient way of manipulating different types of windows in a single application. (It is very easy, for example, to imagine MacDraw and MacWrite in a single application!) Of course, your application has to check available memory each time it tries to create a new window/data structure to make sure there is enough available, but that is a small price to pay for the increased utility the user can get from having a program that “grows” with his hardware.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Civilization VI 1.0.1 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Chromium 55.0.2883.75 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 55.0.2883.75: Security fixes: High CVE-2016... Read more
Google Chrome 55.0.2883.75 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.10 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Pixa 1.1.9 - Quickly and easily organize...
Pixa is an image-organizing application. The new app functions well, is easy to use, and helps people organize their images quickly and easily on their computers. For those who prefer not to use the... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.10 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Pixa 1.1.9 - Quickly and easily organize...
Pixa is an image-organizing application. The new app functions well, is easy to use, and helps people organize their images quickly and easily on their computers. For those who prefer not to use the... Read more
Civilization VI 1.0.1 - Next iteration o...
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the next entry in the popular Civilization franchise. Originally created by legendary game designer Sid Meier, Civilization is a strategy game in which you attempt to... Read more
Google Chrome 55.0.2883.75 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Chromium 55.0.2883.75 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 55.0.2883.75: Security fixes: High CVE-2016... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »
KORG iWAVESTATION (Music)
KORG iWAVESTATION 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A revolutionary new world of sound.The Wave Sequence Synthesizer for iPad - KORG iWAVESTATION | Read more »
Don't Grind Guide: Tips for becomin...
Don’t Grind is a surprising, derpy little one touch game with fun hand-drawn graphics. The goal is simple -- get the high score without being chopped to bits. That can be tough when you’re not used to the game, and that’s compounded by the fact... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLVP2LL/A) in stock today and on sale for $1749 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price... Read more
Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more
Finnair Adopts iOS Enterprise iPad Apps from...
Finnair and IBM have announced a first-of-its-kind agreement to utilize iOS enterprise apps from IBM to support the airline’s overall digital transformation. Finnair is focused on Asia-Europe traffic... Read more
Tech21 Launches Evo Go iPhone 7 Case Availabl...
Tech21 has announced the launch of the Evo Go case for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, exclusively at T-Mobile. Available online and at participating T-Mobile stores nationwide, Evo Go cases start... Read more
Apple Turns (RED) with More Ways to Join the...
In recognition of World AIDS Day, Apple is offering more ways than ever for customers to join (RED) in its mission to create an AIDS-free generation. Apple is the worlds largest corporate contributor... Read more
Deals on new 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros,...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today with some available for $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Brand Ambassador (Macy's) - The...
…(T-ROC), is proud of its unprecedented relationship with our partner and client, APPLE ,in bringing amazing" APPLE ADVOCATES"to "non" Apple store locations. Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- White P...
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
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.