TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Split Button
Volume Number:7
Issue Number:6
Column Tag:HyperChat

Splitting Your Sides

By Carl J. Manaster, Globe, AZ

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

[Carl is a mining engineer and programmer whose appreciation for environments such as HyperCard and THINK Pascal is enhanced by painful memories of dBase and FORTRAN.]

Objectives

It’s endemic among HyperCard fans to try to “fill in” the gaps left by Apple. Such supplements often take the form of XCMDs and XFCNs, offering everything from standard file calls to color windows. Occasionally, the purists among us like to write these extensions in HyperTalk itself, keeping it “all in the family,” as it were. (Also, having once used TCL or MacApp, it’s hard to imagine going back to writing Pascal without such crutches - and they don’t help with code resources!)

One thing missing from HyperCard is polygonal buttons - arbitrary shapes that behave like a button. The need for these has been apparent since the first release and its Clip Art stack, where the user clicks on certain parts of the pictures to travel to related cards. Since it’s all done with transparent (rectangular) buttons, there’s a great deal of “slop” space, where a click that ought to be on a hat (for instance) is really in the rectangle of the man.

There are doubtless XCMDs available that solve this problem, and I’ve seen at least one article describing a HyperTalk-based solution; here is another.

The Basic Solution

My solution is to place buttons over each side of the polygon, and split the message chain along each button’s diagonal. The message to do this is in the stack’s script:

--1

--message split
--syntax: split(orientation,¬
----------------topMessage,bottomMessage)
--where: orientation is “/” or “\”
--topMessage is message to be called if click
------------------was in top half of target
--bottomMessage is message to be called if click
--------------------was in bottom half of target

on split
  put param(2) into topMessage
  put param(3) into bottomMessage
  put (the bottom of the target) - ¬
 (the clickV) into vDiff
  if param(1) is “/”
  then put (the clickH) - (the left of¬
 the target) into hDiff
  else put (the right of the target) - ¬
 (the clickH) into hDiff
  put vDiff * (the width of the target)¬
 > hDiff * (the height of the target)¬
 into doTop
  if doTop
  then send topMessage to target
  else send bottomMessage to target
end split

Each button’s mouseUp script calls split with the appropriate orientation and messages, thereby simulating two adjacent triangular buttons with differing mouseUp messages. With this script and the button tool, buttons can be placed around a polygon to simulate polygonal buttons.

Figure 1 - How a Split Button Simulates a Pair of Triangular Buttons

Getting Fancy

The obvious next step is to make it easier to generate polygonal buttons. The script in Listing #1, makePolyButton, does this. It tracks and records clicks until one is close to the first vertex, outlining the polygon as it is defined.

Figure 2 - Original Image with Polygonal Outline

Once all the vertices of the polygon have been entered, the maximum and minimum horizontal and vertical coördinates are determined, as well as the next-to-maximum and next-to-minimum.

A button is created whose sides are the next-to-extreme coördinates of the polygon’s vertices; most mouseUp messages reaching it will be within the polygon but not within any of the buttons around its edge.

Figure 3 - Polygon with Interior Button

Lastly, for each side of the polygon, a button is created whose mouseUp handler uses the split message to choose between the two messages that are passed to makePolyButton as parameters.

Figure 4 - Polygon with Border Buttons

Limitations and Flaws

Like most solutions, this one is imperfect; here are some of the problems associated with my implementation of polygonal buttons:

No AutoHilite or Outline

Because polygonal buttons have no single data structure where they are defined, autoHiliting is out of the question. Outlining is not impossible - a script could be written that included:

--2

choose line tool
if the script of the target¬
contains “split” and the script of¬
the target contains “/” then drag 

but it would not behave like normal outlining: painting would obscure it; moving the button would neither erase the old outline nor draw the new one; even if this were solved, erasing the old could mess up the paint layer with traces of white It is best to accept that outlining is not a feature of these polygonal buttons.

Sharp Corners Confuse

It is possible to generate polygons that are not modelled well with this technique. Indeed, the polygon used in Figures 2-4 shows some space that will report an “inside” message when certain “outside” areas are clicked (the upper right corner of the interior button, whose message is “inside”, extends beyond where border buttons cover it.) Similar mis-routing of the message chain can occur when the angles of a polygon are too sharp, and one border button overlaps another. This problem can be overcome by tweaking with the button tool, but even without such tweaking there is much less slop space than with plain, rectangular buttons.

Conclusions

The Spectrum of Solutions

There are countless ways in which a polygon may be made to act as a button in HyperCard; the methods differ in degree of resolution. The trade-off is between accuracy of representation on the one hand and programming demands, memory, and speed on the other. The roughest solution is to use rectangular buttons that more-or-less cover the polygon. At the fine end of the spectrum lie solutions such as pixel-sized buttons to fill the polygon, XCMDs, and complex scripts that rely on globals or fields to keep track of the polygon’s vertices.

Split buttons fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The marginal costs over using rectangular buttons (a little programming, slightly more difficulty creating, moving, and deleting, and one more handler in the message chain) are relatively small, and the gains are significant. The accuracy is not as good as the pixel-perfect solutions (both HyperCard- and XCMD- based), but much less programming is required, and split buttons should be much faster than the HyperCard-based solutions.

This via media is realized by using each button to focus information, like relying on an airplane to get across the country and then getting to your house by car. The rough end of the spectrum relies on HyperCard to do all of the work (flying home on a 747); the fine end solutions do all of the work themselves (driving cross-country); split buttons rely on HyperCard for what it’s good at - the rough determination of which rectangular button contained the click - and concentrate on further distilling the information.

Because split buttons represent a compromise, they will not be appropriate for every stack calling for polygonal buttons. Because they represent a good compromise, however, they may find many applications.

LISTING #1 - makePolyButton script
--message makePolyButton
--syntax: makePolyButton(inMessage,outMessage)
----------inMessage is message to be called by 
----------------clicks within the polyButton
----------outMessage is message to be called by 
----------------clicks outside the polyButton

on makePolyButton inMessage,outMessage
 put empty into pointList
 choose line tool
 set the cursor to cross
 wait until the mouseClick
 put the clickLoc into pointList

 repeat
 wait until the mouseClick
 put return & the clickLoc after pointList
 put the number of lines of pointList¬
 into count
 drag from (line count-1 of pointList)¬
 to (line count of pointList)
 if abs(item 1 of last line of pointList¬
 - item 1 of first line of pointList)<2¬
 and abs(item 2 of last line of pointList¬
 - item 2 of first line of pointList)<2¬
 then exit repeat
 end repeat

 put line 1 of pointList into¬
 last line of pointList
 put the number of card buttons into cbCount
 set lockScreen to true
 doMenu revert
 choose button tool

 put item 1 of line 1 of pointList into maxV
 put item 1 of line 2 of pointList into maxPenV
 put item 1 of line 1 of pointList into minV
 put item 1 of line 2 of pointList into minPenV

 put item 2 of line 1 of pointList into maxH
 put item 2 of line 2 of pointList into maxPenH
 put item 2 of line 1 of pointList into minH
 put item 2 of line 2 of pointList into minPenH

 repeat with i=2 to count

 get item 1 of line i of pointList
 if it > maxPenV then--find the largest
 if it > maxV then --and second largest v
 put maxV into maxPenV
 put it into maxV
 else
 put it into maxPenV
 end if
 end if

 if it < minPenV then   --find the smallest
 if it < minV then --and second smallest v
 put minV into minPenV
 put it into minV
 else
 put it into minPenV
 end if
 end if

 get item 2 of line i of pointList
 if it > maxPenH then--find the largest
 if it > maxH then --and second largest h
 put maxH into maxPenH
 put it into maxH
 else
 put it into maxPenH
 end if
 end if

 if it < minPenH then--find the smallest
 if it < minH then --and second smallest h
 put minH into minPenH
 put it into minH
 else
 put it into minPenH
 end if
 end if

 end repeat

 add 1 to cbCount--create the interior button
 doMenu “new button”
 set the style of card button cbCount¬
 to transparent
 set the showName of card button cbCount¬
 to false
 set the autoHilite of card button cbCount¬
 to false
 set the rect of card button cbCount¬
 to minPenV,minPenH,maxPenV,maxPenH
 put “on mouseUp” into theScript
 put return & inMessage after theScript
 put return & “end mouseUp” after theScript
 set the script of card button cbCount¬
 to theScript
 repeat with i=1 to count-1
 add 1 to cbCount--create the edge buttons
 set the cursor to busy
 put line i of pointList into firstPoint
 put line (i+1) of pointList into secondPoint
 doMenu “new button”
 set the name of card button cbCount¬
 to “split” && i

 --determine the coördinates of the button:
 if (item 1 of firstPoint) < (item 1¬
 of secondPoint) then
 put item 1 of firstPoint into top
 put item 1 of secondPoint into bottom
 else
 put item 1 of secondPoint into top
 put item 1 of firstPoint into bottom
 end if
 if (item 2 of firstPoint) > (item 2¬
 of secondPoint) then
 put item 2 of firstPoint into right
 put item 2 of secondPoint into left
 else
 put item 2 of secondPoint into right
 put item 2 of firstPoint into left
 end if

 set the rect of card button cbCount¬
 to top,left,bottom,right
 set the style of card button cbCount¬
 to transparent
 set the showName of card button cbCount¬
 to false
 set the autoHilite of card button cbCount¬
 to false

 --determine the orientation of the
 --”split” of the button:

 put “on mouseUp” into theScript

 if (item 1 of firstPoint) > (item 1¬
 of secondPoint) then
 if (item 2 of firstPoint) > (item 2¬
 of secondPoint) then
 put return & “split “ & quote & “\”¬
 & quote & “,” & inMessage & “,” &¬
 outMessage after theScript
 else
 put return & “split “ & quote & “/”¬
 & quote & “,” & inMessage & “,” &¬
 outMessage after theScript
 end if
 else
 if (item 2 of firstPoint) > (item 2¬
 of secondPoint) then
 put return & “split “ & quote & “/”¬
 & quote & “,” & outMessage & “,” &¬
 inMessage after theScript
 else
 put return & “split “ & quote & “\”¬
 & quote & “,” & outMessage & “,” &¬
 inMessage after theScript
 end if
 end if

 put return & “end mouseUp” after theScript

 set the script of card button cbCount¬
 to theScript
 end repeat

 choose browse tool
end makePolyButton
 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Boom 2 1.0.1 - System-wide pro audio app...
Boom 2 is a system-wide volume booster and equalizer app that is designed especially for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It comes with a smart interface, self-calibrates itself according to your Mac, offers... Read more
Apple Security Update 2015-001 - For OS...
Apple Security Update 2015-001 is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.... Read more
Drive Genius 4.0.1 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius 4 gives you faster performance from your Mac while also protecting it. The award-winning and improved DrivePulse feature alerts you to hard drive issues before they become major problems... Read more
Yosemite Cache Cleaner 9.0.3 - Clear cac...
Yosemite Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. YCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
xScope 4.1.1 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 - Apple's lat...
OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels entirely fresh, yet inherently familiar. The apps you use every day, enhanced with new features. And a... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1.3 - The latest version of...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.19 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.5 - 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
Duet 1.2.2 - Use your iPad as an externa...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $14.99 iOS companion app. Version 1.2.2:... Read more

Storm & Skye – Magical Adventure Sto...
Storm & Skye – Magical Adventure Story For Kids Review By Amy Solomon on January 28th, 2015 Our Rating: iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad The first book in the Storm & Skye series includes... | Read more »
New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your App...
New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your Appetite for WOTA: Wolves of the Atlantic. Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Warship Solitaire Review
Warship Solitaire Review By Nadia Oxford on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: A WAR OF NUMBERSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Warship Solitaire might lack frills and looks, but it offers some thought provoking... | Read more »
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule...
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule With Shifts Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
All Star Quarterback Review
All Star Quarterback Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: PLAY YOUR PARTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Train your way to the Super Bowl in this free-to-play sports management game.   | Read more »
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign...
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign and More Posted by Ellis Spice on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Wheel & Deal Review
Wheel & Deal Review By Tre Lawrence on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A simple arcade shooter that has a retro feel.   | Read more »
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW...
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Earthworm Alchemy Review
Earthworm Alchemy Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: FEED THE WORMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Feed this funny looking worm and dodge bombs in this charming, free-to-play arcade game.   | Read more »
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfl...
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfly Attack has Received Some New Episodes Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New Good Management Suite Simplifies Enterpri...
Good Technology has announced the availability of the Good Management Suite, a comprehensive cross-platform solution for organizations getting started with mobile business initiatives. Built on the... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1489 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is... Read more
15-inch 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon has the 15″ 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $2319.99 including free shipping. Their price is $180 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller. Read more
iPad Turns Five – The ”Book Mystique
Five years ago this week, the late Steve Jobs took the stage at an Apple special press event to unveil the first Apple iPad — a slab-shaped, hand-holdable device that was to shake the personal... Read more
Sale! 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $150 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1889.99... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 of...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz... Read more
Apple Releases New Tranche Of OS Updates For...
Apple has released incremental bugfix and security updates for its most recent Mac and iOS versions. OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 Update Apple says this update includes the following improvements: Resolves... Read more
Samsung To Be Main Supplier Of A9 Chips For i...
Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper reports that Samsung has beat out its chipmaking rivals, Taiwan’s Qualcomm and TSMC, as supplier of chipsets for the next generations of both its own Galaxy S6 and... Read more
Save up to $340 on iMacs with Apple Certified...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $340 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
AppleCare Protection Plans on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 3-Year AppleCare Warranties on sale for up to $105 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - Mac Laptops 15″ and Above: $244 $105 off MSRP - Mac Laptops 13″ and... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
*Apple* Tree Children's Center is hirin...
Apple Tree Learning Center is Hiring Preschool Teachers! Phoenix Childrens Academy is a national leader in the early childhood education industry and we are currently Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.