TweetFollow Us on Twitter

DeeMaker
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:Tools of the Trade

Related Info: Dialog Manager Window Manager

DeeMaker for DeeManager

A new refreshing way to create human interfaces

By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Regular Contributing Author Don Bresee, MacTutor Technical Editor

If you’re tired of dealing with the Dialog Manager and wish that it would do more than it does, Dees are the answer. With Dees, you get all the functionality of the Dialog Manager and much more. DeeMaker for DeeManager version 1.0.4 enhances the standard Macintosh user interface without sacrificing the standard. [As of print time, n Dimensions is now shipping DeeMaker Version 1.1. - Ed.]

DeeMaker is a unique dialog creation tool designed to quickly develop robust, professional fixed layout windows. The three fixed layout constructs of the human interface are: modal, modeless and floating windows (windoids). DeeMaker has taken a big step forward in providing you with a MacDraw-like interface and the power of the best draw applications. Each data type has been crafted carefully so that runtime calls are minimized as you specify your intention with this high level tool. What’s really neat is that you’ve got a transparent way to substantially modify your human interface, without affecting your code and its recompilation.

DeeManager is designed from scratch to work with an object-driven model. Each item is an instance of an object. As objects, all items share several important attributes. One of these attributes is the item method interface.

Each Dee item is completely customizable because DeeManager has a full-range messaging system. With DeeMaker you specify the messages that your method wants to receive and install (or engage) the method by calling the DeeManager function EngageMethod(ProcPtr theMethod; id: Integer). All methods are of the form: MyMethod(Var DeeMessages: msg). This allows creation of just about any human interface effect you could want.

The on_Action message is especially important because it allows you to create modeless windows whose entire action code resides in a separate method. You would never need to fix your main event loop. This and other design factors of DeeManager will let you create very clean and maintainable programs.

Each item has an optional member list. The simplest member list is a string list, such as a STR# resource. Suppose you had a check box that could have one of three titles. You would just assign three members and change the items current member to change the title. The member list is part of the item object itself and thus all the data that could ever appear on the screen will reside in one place. You may have buttons, static text items, or windows with several titles.

Member list elements are objects too, by default they contain a string, but could have other data. This is how DeeManager implements the Alert mechanism for you. You assign an “alert meaning” to each string of a member list associated with a static text item. The meaning being, Note, Stop or Caution Alert. Then, with a single call to DeeManager: DeeAlert(deeId: Integer; member: Integer), an alert is displayed with the appropriate alert icon. Changing later the type of an alert is done with DeeMaker and is transparent to the program.

Parameter substitution capabilities are far and above the Dialog Manager also. DeeManager allows 26 parameters instead of 4. Button, CheckBox, Radio, and Window titles, as well as static text items are analyzed by DeeManager for parameter substitution. The key sequence being “=a” thru “=z” (instead of “^0” thru “^3”). Any of the built-in 26 params can be loaded at runtime with one of several DeeManager parameter loader functions.

Figure 1: Method Interface Editor

Another feature of each item object is its ShineThrough™ property. This is perhaps the most profound feature of this development tool. You have seen conventional Draw/CAD applications that give multiple views. The interface paradigm there is the creation of layers without addressing the physical aspect of space. DeeMaker’s paradigm is the use of a view space. You don’t have to create layers - as each Dee is automatically postulated to have a view space (currently 32 views). This presupposed space allows for the ShineThrough™ phenomena to occur and for the easiest most intuitive way we have ever seen of addressing the problem of superimposition of human interface elements. With DeeMaker you simply assign a ShineThrough™ vector to an item, to allow the item to be active through every view it shines through.

Figure 2: Member Editor

What’s really great about DeeMaker is that it was actually created with itself, and it uses ShineThrough™ to implement its elegant type editors. For example, the Text editor has another view for setting edit type attributes. When the EditTypes button is pressed, some 40 elements swiftly change position. In conventional tools you would have to write 40 calls in your program to physically move the items. Here, you just call DeeManager SetView(2) and what you saw in the DeeMaker editing environment is what you get at runtime: all items which either belong to view 2 or shine through to view 2 from view 1 are presented, all others are hidden. No item is physically moved anywhere; rather, you, the observer, moves to another view or dimension. There is a tremendous time saving here. Using DeeMaker, a non-programmer could easily stupefy an experienced developer who could spend hours to implement, in hard coded sweat, the movement of items.

Here is a small example of view usage. This is the modeless handler method of DeeMaker’s ShortCuts taken from its manual. Such a handler would process any number of shortcut views (up to 32) without any change to code.

{1}

Procedure ShortCutsHandler(Var Msg: DeeMessage);
CONST
 bNext  = OK;
 bPrev  = 2;

VAR
 whichView: Integer;
 whichIsBold: Integer;

BEGIN
 WITH Msg, dResult DO
 CASE dMessage OF
 on_Activate:
 BEGIN
 IF LastDeeView(whichView) THEN
 whichIsBold := bPrev
 ELSE
 whichIsBold := bNext;
 DimItem(Not dActivate, whichIsBold)
 END;

 On_Action:
 CASE Id OF
 bPrev:
 BEGIN
 whichView := TheDeeView;
 {previous button belongs to view 2}
 IF whichView = 2 THEN  
 SetDeeKey(Char(13), bNext);
 SetView(whichView - 1);
 END;
 
 bNext:
 BEGIN
 whichView := TheDeeView;
 SetView(whichView + 1);
 IF LastDeeView(whichView) THEN
 SetDeeKey(Char(13), bPrev);
 END
 END
 END
END; {of ShortCutsHandler}

Figure 3: DeeMaker Tool Palette

DeeManager includes support for windoids. These windoids are defined with DeeMaker to have a windoid frame and otherwise are Dees with all the benefits of being a Dee. n Dimensions has solved a very sticky problem here for the entire developer community: how to implement easily any number of floating windows that might be either modeless (such as DeeMaker’s tool palette) or appear in modal contexts (being removed when the modal window is removed from the screen). A brilliant idea was implemented here to allow your code to be orderly and modular. A windoid may be linked with the DeeManager function Link_Windoid(theWindoid, theDee: DeePtr). After this function call, the windoid is linked to a Dee owner, and actions in the windoids are reported to the controlling code of the owner. Not only that, any windoid can be torn off any menu by calling Link_Menu(theWindoid: DeePtr; theMenu: MenuHandle). DeeManager tears off the windoid palette for you and when MenuSelect returns -1, you call Tear_Windoid() to physically move the windoid to a new place.

All the sticky problems of having another floating window layer on top of regular windows are seamlessly handled by DeeManager. You only need to substitute in your event loop at the critical places, old window manager calls with matching DeeManager calls. Thus HideWindow, SelectWindow, DragWindow are replaced with Hide_Window, Select_Window and Drag_Window. Once you write a “DeeManager compatible event loop” (Examples are provided) - any number of windoids and modeless windows can be added to your interface as your project develops. Consider that you can change a modeless window to be floating without affecting your program. This change that would otherwise result in hundreds of source line changes, is entirely transparent using the DeeMaker development tool.

At the heart of DeeMaker is a powerful toolkit called DeeManager (25K). This is the runtime package which supports your Dee dialogs. You almost can’t tell that DeeManager wasn’t originally a part of the Macintosh Toolbox, because DeeManager has A-Trap interface. This is the first commercial product to come with such an interface. All DeeManager functions are inline substituted for A-Trap code. (To do that only a single patch is performed. The original Dialog/Window managers are untouched and are fully operable.)

You will gain access to DeeManager through a small object file, DeeLib.o (1K), which is linked to your modules. DeeLib.o contains the glue functions, OpenDeeMgr and CloseDeeMgr, to establish communication between DeeManager which resides in a ‘DeeM’ resource and your code. DeeManager was written entirely in 68000 macro assembly language. Efficiency was designed into it from the very start.

DeeManager was designed with System 7.0 in mind. Balloon help is provided by adding a help member to your item object. The developers of DeeMaker for DeeManager have kept up with the latest and greatest System developments. Many of the concepts you see in DeeMaker were taken from observing how the HyperCard interface works. In the manual, n Dimensions formally acknowledges HyperCard as a great source of inspiration.

However inspirational, regretfully, DeeManager 1.0.4 doesn’t yet work with HyperCard 2.0. (Previous versions such as HyperCard 1.x.x use DeeManager correctly.) This is not because anything is wrong with DeeManager, but rather the architects of HyperCard have limited the freedom of external windows. Hopefully, someday Claris will rectify this.

DeeMaker moves far beyond the limits of the Dialog Manager that we are familiar with (including all the prototypers which generate code for it). You still have the traditional tools, but now you use them in a new way. DeeMaker allows you to choose flow of control, dimming, hiding, edit types, styles, window frames, grouping, command keys, initializers, ornamentation, automated edit sorting, fixed item identities, Extended List Format™, accurate alignments and other capabilities. In addition, you can easily assign key equivalents to any radio button, check box or button.

DeeMaker’s Group command permits all the necessary grouping you will need. You simply select the items and choose the Group command. Thus, Radios, Buttons, Edit Texts, CheckBoxes, PopUp and EditText items, can be grouped. Each group has its own distinct meaning implemented by DeeManager and your methods.

The following Dee is presented by DeeMaker when you select the GetInfo command for a Dee resource. The Attributes are implemented by grouping the CheckBoxes and assigning to each (with DeeMaker CheckBox editor) its InsideMac (Resource Manager chapter) bit value. The program need only have 2 lines of code to create the proper program interchange. theAttrs := GetCGroup(cResAttr); or SetCGroup(theAttrs , cResAttr). The synopsis was created with parameter substitution and member lists.

Figure 4: Dee Info

And if you wonder what is Extended List Format (ELF). It is DeeMaker’s concept of having its List items extend the familiar List Manager to create many types of Lists without having to write LDEFs. Lists are also part of a Dee’s TabTrail™ (System 7.0 feature) and receive keyboard events just like Editable text items. ELF format has allowed DeeManager to be able to integrate the Menu Manager and List Manager, supplying Menu2List and List2Menu which preserve all information. This is another way DeeManager has become like a master manager on top of the old toolbox, uniting distant formats into harmony.

DeeMaker has many features and we could not possibly cover all of them here. Each data type gives you more power than you would ever expect to get. All of these add tremendous savings in time and effort and return your investment in the product very quickly.

There is one problem that you will encounter if you use QuicKeys (and I hate not having my QuicKeys). DeeManager does not use the Control Manager for buttons (push buttons, check boxes and radio buttons). This means the “Buttons” feature in QuicKeys will not work with any Dee. You can sometimes overcome this by using the “Click” feature but not in most cases. All other features of QuicKeys seem to work fine with Dees. I did discover that floating windows cause a general confusion problem with QuicKeys, this is not due to Dees but instead will happen with any application that uses floating windows. This is due to the fact that the active window, whether it is a dialog (modal or modeless) or a document window, will not be the first window in the window list if floating windows are present. QuicKeys usually locates the desired window by counting windows starting with the frontmost. However, QuicKeys can also locate the desired window by title. This is only useful if the title never changes.

The package comes in an expensive customized three ring notebook. Pascal, C and Motorola 68000, are the preferred environments. But you could easily adapt DeeManager to work in any environment that uses A-Trap interface, such as Common Lisp or Fortran. The manual has three major sections: (1) Touring Dee Dialogs which covers all Dee human interface concepts as an introduction to Dee dialogs; (2) DeeMaker tutorial which describes the attributes of Dees and their capabilities, and (3) Inside DeeManager - a description of all DeeManager resources, data types and functions. A summary of all DeeManager functions and procedures is given for 68000, Pascal, and C. Unfortunatly, no index is provided and as with many programming tool manuals, some sections or statements don’t make a great deal of sense until you have actually played with the code. A few additional examples in other languages (e.g. Pascal) would be extremely helpful and at least one should be in an old fashioned procedural environment (for us dummies who are still a bit inexperienced with objects).

A few examples are provided in the manual but the DeeMaker bundle comes with a complete C++ example, DeeApp™, and all the source code that is necessary to immediately start deriving professional programs. This collection of classes demonstrates very clearly the usage of DeeManager. It also includes a very useful MPW tool MenuRez for allowing DeeApp applications to have menu command numbers independent of menu id and item position.

A final note about the screen shots in this article. DeeManager has a very convenient function SnapDee(theDee: DeePtr): PictHandle. DeeMaker implements its snapshot commands by calling this DeeManager function which takes any Dee and translates it to QuickDraw PICT format. Instead of taking screen snapshots which are bitmaps, DeeMaker’s RedSnapper (Cmd-Shift-7), provides the same effect only with PICT opcodes which take 1/10 of the space of the picture as bits, allowing you to print to a PostScript printer any Dee window (SnapDee snaps window frames too) with laser quality. This is how we generated the above snapshots for this article.

Bottom Line

DeeManager is a very powerful development tool with a well thought out design. The tool is set up in a logical manner allowing for easy customization of the basic behavior of Dees. DeeMaker is an effective design tool that allows even the novice programmer to quickly and easily design a full-featured, working interface in almost no time. It is complete and it is fast. The product’s only drawbacks are that buttons won’t work with utilities such as QuicKeys because controls are not always implemented using the Control Manager. In fairness, n Dimensions is aware of this and will be working on the problem. Overall, two thumbs up!

DeeMaker for DeeManager includes a license to make 100 copies of DeeManager. A flat fee is available for unlimited copies per end user. DeeMaker is licensed for use on one computer just as most commercial software is. Site licenses may be purchased for additional copies.

n Dimensions has a permanent folder on AppleLink at location: “Software Sampler:3rd Party Demos/Updates:Software Updates:n Dimensions.” You may download from that location an unabridged copy of DeeMaker.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read... | Read more »
How to upgrade your character in Spellsp...
So you’ve mastered the basics of Spellspire. By which I mean you’ve realised it’s all about spelling things in a spire. What next? Well you’re going to need to figure out how to toughen up your character. It’s all well and good being able to spell... | Read more »
5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »
How to navigate the terrain in Sky Charm...
Sky Charms is a whimsical match-'em up adventure that uses creative level design to really ramp up the difficulty. [Read more] | Read more »
Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »
PsyCard (Games)
PsyCard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers och Card City Nights, Progress To 100 and Ittle Dew PSYCARD is a minesweeper-like game set in a cozy cyberpunk... | Read more »
Sago Mini Robot Party (Education)
Sago Mini Robot Party 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: -- Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice -- | Read more »
How to get a high score in every level o...
Sky Charms is an adorable match three puzzler that provides a decent challenge thanks to its creative level design. It regularly presents something new, forcing you to think on your feet. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks Certified Refurbished Mac mini...
Apple has restocked 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 Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller (and... Read more
Apple Beats Microsoft at Own Game; Amazon Pri...
First quarter seasonality combined with an overall disinterested customer base led to an annual decline of 14.7% in worldwide tablet shipments during the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16). Worldwide... Read more
Tablets Had Worst Quarter Since 2012, says St...
The global tablet market began 2016 just as 2015 left off, down. Tablet shipments fell 10% to 46.5 million units during the Q1 2016, according to the new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and... Read more
Clearance 13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple refurbi...
Apple recently dropped prices on certified refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs with 4GB of RAM with models now available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks with models now available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping... Read more
Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more
Sale! Amazon offers 27-inch iMac, 13-inch 2.9...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.2GHz 5K iMac and the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $300 off MSRP, each including free shipping, for a limited time: - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD 5K iMac (model MK462LL/A): $... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Take $200 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (model MF839LL/A) at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099.99 $200 off MSRP Act now if... Read more

Jobs Board

Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary 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
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 48260200 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Posted: Apr. 22, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.