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
 
AAPL
$524.94
Apple Inc.
+5.93
MSFT
$40.01
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$536.10
Google Inc.
-20.44

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VMware Fusion 6.0.3 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
Tweetbot 1.5.1 - Popular iOS twitter cli...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 4.1.7 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... 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
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Bas...
Have a Special Dead Trigger 2 Easter Basket Full of Goodies, Courtesy of Madfinger Games Posted by Rob Rich on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Dead Trigger 2 | Read more »
Almost All of Playdek’s Library is on Sa...
Almost All of Playdek’s Library is on Sale Right Now, and You Should Check it Out Posted by Rob Rich on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playdek has released quite a few great iOS ports of board and card games over the years, and now most of them... | Read more »
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Exper...
Zynga Launches Brand New Farmville Experience with Farmville 2: Country Escape Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
David. Review
David. Review By Cata Modorcea on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINIMALISTIC IN A DIFFERENT WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad David is a minimalistic game wrapped inside of a soothing atmosphere in which the hero... | Read more »
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service Th...
Eyefi Unveils New Eyefi Cloud Service That Allows Users to Share Media Across Personal Devices Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair...
Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair Review By Jennifer Allen on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY ADVENTURINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Treading a safe path, Tales from the Dragon Mountain: The Lair is a... | Read more »
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced E...
Yahoo Updates Flickr App with Advanced Editing Features and More Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to...
My Incredible Body - A Kid's App to Learn about the Human Body 1.1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.00 (iTunes) Description: Wouldn’t it be cool to look inside yourself and see what was going on... | Read more »
Trials Frontier Review
Trials Frontier Review By Carter Dotson on April 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: A ROUGH LANDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Trials Frontier finally brings the famed stunt racing franchise to mobile, but how much does its... | Read more »
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin I...
Evernote Business Notebook by Moleskin Introduced – Support Available in Evernote for iOS Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Free HopTo 2.2 Helps Enhance Your Productivit...
The HopTo app helps you do more on your iPad by providing more and easier adaccess to files and documents. Version 2.2 adds Egnyte and HopTo’s Mac OSX File Connector. If you already have the hopTo... Read more
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month:...
As the country recognizes National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Sprint is reminding wireless consumers to focus on driving while behind the wheel, to not text or email while driving, and to... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
Abt has the 13″ 2.4GHz 128GB Retina MacBook Pro available for $1229 including free shipping. Their price is $70 off MSRP. Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP this we...
Best Buy has iMacs on sale for up to $160 off MSRP for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Prices are valid for online orders only, in-store... Read more
iPad Airs on sale this weekend for up to $100...
Best Buy has WiFi iPad Airs on sale for $50 off MSRP and WiFi + Cellular iPad Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time, with prices now starting at $449. Choose free... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Hyundai Brings Apple CarPlay To The 2015 Sona...
Hyundai Motor America has announced it will bring Apple CarPlay functionality to the 2015 Sonata. CarPlay is pitched as a smarter, safer and easier way to use iPhone in the car and gives iPhone users... Read more
Updated iPads Coming Sooner Than We Had Thoug...
MacRumors, cites KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, well-respected as an Apple product prognisticator, saying that Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini in 2014/Q3, meaning the... Read more
Toshiba Unveils New High And Low End Laptop M...
Toshiba has announced new laptop models covering both the high-end and low-end of the notebook computer spectrum. Toshiba 4K Ultra HD Laptop Toshiba’s new Satellite P55t features one of the world’s... Read more
Save up to $270 with Apple refurbished 13-inc...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished October 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $1099, with models up to $270 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Automotive Parts Department position...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive, we 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* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic 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.