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

Capto 1.2.9 - $29.99
Capto (was Voila) is an easy-to-use app that takes capturing, recording, video and image editing to the next level. With an intelligent file manager and quick sharing options, Capto is perfect for... Read more
Opera 51.0.2830.40 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
GarageSale 7.0.13 - Create outstanding e...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
1Password 6.8.7 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
Evernote 7.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.2.0 - $20.00
MacUpdate Desktop brings seamless 1-click app 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... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.3.5 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
EtreCheck 4.0.4 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
WhatsApp 0.2.8361 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
iClock 4.2 - Customize your menubar cloc...
iClock is a menu-bar replacement for Apple's default clock but with 100x features. Have your Apple or Google calendar in the menubar. Have the day, date, and time in different fonts and colors in the... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best games like Florence
Florence is a great little game about relationships that we absolutely adored. The only problem with it is it's over a little too soon. If you want some other games with some emotional range like Florence, check out these suggestions: [Read more] | Read more »
Angry Birds Champions adds cash prizes t...
Collaborating with developer Rovio Entertainment, GSN Games has released a twist on the Angry Birds formula. Angry Birds Champions features the same bird-flinging gameplay, but now you can catapult Red and co for cash. | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
148Apps is part of a family. A big family of sites that make sure you're always up to date with all the portable gaming news. Just like a real family, I guess. I don't know, my mum never told me anything about Candy Crush to be fair. [Read more] | Read more »
The Battle of Polytopia Guide - Tips for...
The addition of multiplayer to The Battle of Polytopia has catapulted the game from a fun enough time waster to a fully-fledged 4X experience on your phone. We've been playing quite a few matches over the past week or so, and we've put together a... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Hi there, and welcome to our round up of all the best games that are on sale for iOS at the moment. It's not a vintage week in terms of numbers, but I'm pretty sure that every single one of these is worth picking up if you haven't already played... | Read more »
Disc Drivin' 2 Guide - Tips for the...
We're all still playing quite a bit of Disc Drivin' 2 over here at 148Apps, and we've gotten pretty good at it. Now that we've spent some more time with the game and unlocked more powerups, check out some of these more advanced tips: | Read more »
Alto's Odyssey Guide - How to Tackl...
Alto’s Odyssey is a completely stunning and serene runner, but it can also be a bit tricky. Check out these to try and keep your cool while playing this endless runner: Don’t focus too much on tasks [Read more] | Read more »
Here's everything you need to know...
Alto's Odyssey is a really, really good game. If you don't believe me, you should definitely check out our review by clicking this link right here. It takes the ideas from the original Alto's Adventure, then subtly builds on them, creating... | Read more »
Alto's Odyssey (Games)
Alto's Odyssey 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Just beyond the horizon sits a majestic desert, vast and unexplored. Join Alto and his friends and set off on an endless... | Read more »
Vainglory 5v5: Everything you need to kn...
Vainglory just got bigger. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Use your Apple Education discount and save up...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $400 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution with a .edu email address qualify for the discount... Read more
Apple Canada offers 2017 21″ and 27″ iMacs fo...
 Canadian shoppers can save up to $470 on the purchase of a 2017 current-generation 21″ or 27″ iMac with Certified Refurbished models at Apple Canada. Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest... Read more
9″ iPads available online at Walmart for $50...
Walmart has 9.7″ Apple iPads on sale for $50 off MSRP for a limited time. Sale prices are for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: – 9″ 32GB iPad: $279.99 $50 off – 9″ 128GB iPad: $379.99 $... Read more
15″ Apple MacBook Pros, Certified Refurbished...
Save $360-$420 on the purchase of a 2017 15″ MacBook Pro with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each model from any reseller. An standard... Read more
Amazon restocks MacBook Pros with models avai...
Amazon has restocked 15″ and 13″ Apple MacBook Pros with models on sale for up to $251 off MSRP. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go (and some sell out quickly), so check... Read more
Lowest price of the year: 15″ 2.8GHz Apple Ma...
Amazon has the 2017 Space Gray 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro on sale today for $251 off MSRP. Shipping is free: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2148, $251 off MSRP Their price is... Read more
Apple restocks full line of Certified Refurbi...
Apple has restocked a full line of Apple Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Pros for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Lowest sale price available for 13″ 1.8GHz Ma...
Focus Camera has the 2017 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB Apple MacBook Air on sale today for $829 including free shipping. Their price is $170 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a current 13″... Read more
21-inch 2.3GHz iMac on sale for $999, $100 of...
B&H Photo has the 2017 21″ 2.3GHz iMac (MMQA2LL/A) in stock and on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis in stock again st...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more

Jobs Board

*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* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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: 113523441 Orange, CA, California, United States Posted: 21-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are you passionate Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform 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.