TweetFollow Us on Twitter

ViewIt
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Tools of the Trade

Faceware's ViewIt

Differs from other interface designers and toolbox extenders in its simple code writing.

By Philip Borenstein, MacTutor Regular Contributing Author

What is ViewIt?

The promotional literature that FaceWare puts out describes ViewIt as a window designer and manager. That description is accurate, but it makes ViewIt sound like yet another interface design kit. FaceWare also describes ViewIt as extensions to the Macintosh Dialog Manager and Control Manager. And that’s true, too. What these descriptions don’t convey is how different ViewIt is from other interface designers and toolbox extenders.

Like other interface-building tools, ViewIt lets you create windows and lay out controls in those windows. But instead of generating source code that you customize, ViewIt uses code resources that already know how to manage those windows and controls. This approach has some clear advantages and some drawbacks. Depending on the kinds of applications you write, the advantages may outweigh the drawbacks.

The main advantage is that the code that you write is remarkably simple. Most of what you do is set up a window, call the main event loop routine, and check for hits in your controls. In general, you don’t need to concern yourself with the Macintosh Toolbox. The main disadvantage is that most of the behavior is locked away in code resources, so your application may be carrying around extra baggage that you don’t really need.

What’s in the package?

ViewIt works with most popular Macintosh development environments. The commercial version comes with demo programs for THINK C, THINK Pascal (both of which can be used with MPW C and MPW Pascal), Absoft Fortran, Language Systems Fortran, and MacFortran. The THINK C and THINK Pascal programs come with ready-to-use projects. Two separate utilities let you use FaceWare modules with HyperCard and Prograph.

The ViewIt package consists of three parts: FaceIt, ViewIt, and UtilIt. ViewIt is the part of the system that lets you lay out controls in windows. FaceIt is the part of the system that deals with the main event loop, the menu bar, and other program-wide features. UtilIt consists of utility routines used by FaceIt, ViewIt, and by your own program.

You can use the ViewIt module without the FaceIt module to design modal dialog boxes. With FaceIt you get automatic support for modeless windows. The documentation does tell you how you can use ViewIt modeless windows in programs that have an existing event loop, but if you’re starting from scratch, you may not want to go through the trouble.

All the modules that make up ViewIt live in a resource file called FaceWare. You can place this file in your System folder, so all your ViewIt-based applications can share it, or you can copy resources from the FaceWare file into your application to create stand-alone applications.

ViewIt costs $95. FaceWare distributes a shareware version that includes nearly everything that comes in the commercial package. You can use the shareware version for 30 days. After that, you either get rid of it, or you buy the commercial package.

How does it work?

Instead of customizing source code, you make calls to a dispatching routine called FaceIt() which loads the appropriate modules for program-wide behavior like cutting, pasting, and printing and for control-specific behavior. In addition the standard Macintosh control manager, which uses CDEFs and CNTLs, ViewIt uses its own control drivers (stored in FCMD resources) and control descriptions (stored in FCTL resources). These FCMDs are the code resources that do all the work.

To create windows and lay out controls, you don’t use a separate application. You don’t even need to use ResEdit. Instead, you lay out the controls while your application is running. Once you’ve created a window, you press the Command-Shift-Option keys to enter ViewIt’s editing mode. In this mode, you can add or delete new controls and edit existing controls. To see how they’ll work, you just press the Enter key and you’re back in run mode again.

Since the edit mode is part of ViewIt (it’s stored in the FaceWare file), you can fine tune your user interface without using your development environment. Suppose you’re doing a demo for your users, and they say, “This button should be red. That menu should be over there.” All you have to do is go into edit mode, make the changes, and try them out. ViewIt comes with a smaller FaceWare file without the edit mode that you can use when your application is finished.

The FaceWare file with the on-line editing support takes up about 1 MB, and the file without the on-line editing support is about 440K.

This picture shows one of the dialogs used for editing a control. The Driver Help button brings up another window that contains the on-line help for buttons.

What kinds of interface elements does ViewIt handle?

In addition to the standard controls that the Macintosh Dialog Manager provides (buttons, check boxes, radio buttons, static text, and editable text) ViewIt also gives you pop-up menus, picture-based palettes, graphic buttons based on PICTs, ICONs, and SICNs, dials, and more esoteric controls like a help text viewer and a scrap viewer.

You can specify the color and framing style of any control. For text-based controls, you can set the font, size, style, and text color. You can have buttons draw their text in bold, outline Palatino, or you can have right-justified check boxes with the check box on the right side of the text. Most controls have several variations. Pop-up menus, for example, come in several varieties. Some menus behave like menus in the main menu bar. Some menus check only one item at a time while others have several items checked.

Every control belongs to a view, which is kind of a meta-control, and a window can have several views. Views can be longer than the window they belong to, and it’s easy to add both horizontal and vertical scroll bars to them. Views let you group controls, so you can move them around as a unit. Since you can show and hide views, you can use them for dialogs that have multiple pages.

ViewIt makes a distinction between a control’s appearance and its behavior. This distinction is useful for picture-based controls. For instance, you can have an icon behave like a button, so it highlights while the mouse button is pressed on it. Or you can have several icons behave like radio buttons where only one icon of a group is highlighted at a time. Of course, some combinations, like editable buttons, don’t work because the CDEF or FCMD doesn’t support a particular behavior, and other combinations, like check boxes that behave like radio buttons, will get you into trouble with the user interface police.

If you want to make a control behave a little (or a lot) differently, ViewIt gives you hooks that let you intercept virtually everything a control does.

In traditional dialog box programming, when you have a list of radio buttons, check boxes, or other controls, you need to set the controls’ values from one of your data structures. When the user dismisses the dialog, you need to get the value of each control and set your data structure accordingly. ViewIt has a nice feature called Data Linking that does this for you automatically. When you create a window, you pass ViewIt the address of a record. When you design your controls, you give the offset into the record where the value is stored. ViewIt takes care of doing all the numeric to string conversions-even for real numbers.

Of course, you don’t have to use Data Linking. You can have controls report when they’ve been hit. ViewIt uses a mechanism similar to menu events to tell you which control has been hit. ViewIt variables tell you which control, in which view, and in which window received the click. The ViewIt routines let you get the state of the control so you can tell what’s in an editable field, whether a check box is on or off, and so forth.

This picture shows a ViewIt window with two views in editing mode. The left view is a scrolling view that shows assorted controls. The right view is a Help Control that shows text.

Documentation

All of the ViewIt documentation is on-line, and it’s always available when you’re in edit mode. When you’re editing a specific control, you can click on a button to get its documentation. The documentation is right where you need it when you’re working, and it doesn’t clutter your desk. A printed manual, though, would have made learning ViewIt a bit easier.

With printed documentation you can flip through the pages to get a sense of what a piece of software is about, and even the manual’s physical size gives you a hint about the complexity of the software. With on-line manuals a list of topics in a menu may refer to half a kilobyte of text or two half a megabyte text. There’s no way to know.

The demo programs that come with ViewIt are complete in the sense that they show off virtually every feature, but a little hand-holding would have been nice. You can copy controls from the ViewIt demos and paste them into your own application, or you can try modifying them to see how different settings work.

Who is ViewIt for?

ViewIt is ideal for in-house programmers and consultants who need to write Macintosh applications quickly. Often, these programmers need to respond quickly to requests for new features, and ViewIt’s edit mode makes it easy for the programmer and the user to collaborate on the user interface. In-house programmers can take advantage of the fact that many ViewIt-based programs can share the same FaceWare file. This arrangement keeps the application size small.

ViewIt is also useful for programmers who have existing programs that they need to port to the Macintosh. ViewIt is much easier to learn to use than the Macintosh Toolbox. It’s certainly easier to learn ViewIt than it is to learn object-oriented programming, and for vanilla Macintosh programs, ViewIt handles most of the Macintosh housekeeping tasks.

Commercial (and shareware) software vendors may find that ViewIt’s overhead makes ViewIt-based applications larger than hand-rolled applications, particularly for small applications. It is possible to move only the resources your application uses from the FaceWare file. ViewIt comes with a utility program to do just that.

Summary

ViewIt is a surprisingly powerful interface-builder. Its approach to the problem is considerably different from the other tools on the market, so it may be difficult to get into it at first. For non-Macintosh programmers who need to put together a Macintosh application in a hurry, ViewIt takes care of most of the standard housekeeping chores. ViewIt doesn’t require you to learn object-oriented programming or a class library.

The only way you’ll be able to decide whether ViewIt will work for your application is to try it. You can use the shareware version of ViewIt for 30 days, and if you like it, you’re obligated to buy the full version. If not, you can wipe it off your disk, and program like you programmed before.

For more information

FaceWare

1310 N. Broadway, Urbana, IL 61801

217/328-5842 • AppleLink: D1323

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Google Chrome 63.0.3239.108 - 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
Paparazzi! 1.0b7 - Make user-defined siz...
Paparazzi! is a small utility for OS X that makes screenshots of webpages. This very simple tool takes screenshots of websites which do not fit on one screen. You specify the desired width, minimal... Read more
Remotix 5.0.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
Apple Configurator 2.6 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy to deploy iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices in your school or business. Use Apple Configurator to quickly configure large numbers of devices connected to... Read more
Amadeus Pro 2.4.4 - Multitrack sound rec...
Amadeus Pro lets you use your Mac for any audio-related task, such as live audio recording, digitizing tapes and records, converting between a variety of sound formats, etc. Thanks to its outstanding... Read more
Mellel 4.0.3 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard for long form documents since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical... Read more
Suitcase Fusion 8 19.0.3 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 8 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Final Cut Pro X 10.4 - Professional vide...
Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution. Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Compressor 4.4 - Adds power and flexibil...
Compressor adds power and flexibility to Final Cut Pro X export. Customize output settings, work faster with distributed encoding, and tap into a comprehensive set of delivery features. Features... Read more
Cocktail 11.2 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Match blocks to pull off dance moves in...
Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is a brand new match three puzzler based on the animated movie of (almost) the same name. As you can expect, you have to match blocks together to complete a bunch of puzzling levels and earn a high score. [Read more] | Read more »
Lineage 2: Revolution’s end of year upda...
Now available in 54 countries worldwide, Lineage 2: Revolution is continuing its global quest to be the most popular mobile MMORPG by launching a jam-packed end of year update. Complete with many subtle tweaks to help improve users’ online... | Read more »
The 5 best Star Wars games on iOS
The time has almost come.Star Wars: The Last Jedifinally hits theaters in the cinematic event that might be bigger than Christmas. To celebrate, we're taking a look at the best--and only the best--Star Warsmobile games to date. [Read more] | Read more »
Life Is Strange (Games)
Life Is Strange 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Life Is Strange is a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by... | Read more »
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty (Game...
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** PLEASE NOTE: Requires 3.6GB free space to install. Runs at variable resolutions based on device capabilities.... | Read more »
Gorogoa (Games)
Gorogoa 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Gorogoa is an elegant evolution of the puzzle genre, told through a beautifully hand-drawn story designed and illustrated by Jason... | Read more »
Why Guns of Boom will be big for mobile...
Earlier this week, Game Insight, the minds that brought you Guns of Boom, revealed plans for an esports mode in the popular FPS title, with big implications for the game's future. Guns of Boom has been quite popular for some time now, so it's... | Read more »
The best mobile games to play on lazy ho...
With the holidays in full swing, there's hopefully going to be a lot of time off work lazing around the house. With all of that free time, it's a perfect opportunity to catch up on some mobile games that you might have missed out on earlier this... | Read more »
Rules of Survival guide - how to boost y...
It's not easy surviving in the "every-man-for-himself" world of Rules of Survival. You'll be facing off against many other players who might be more skilled than you, or are luckier than you. There are a lot of factors weighing against you. With... | Read more »
FEZ Pocket Edition (Games)
FEZ Pocket Edition 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Updated Price Trackers: Macs, iPads, iPhones,...
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: – 15″... Read more
How to preorder a new iMac Pro and pay zero s...
B&H Photo and Adorama are accepting preorders on multiple configurations of the new Apple iMac Pro. Both resellers charge sales tax for residents of NY & NJ only, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple Macs back in stock at Amazon with model...
Amazon has MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of their Holiday/Christmas sale. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go (and... Read more
Apple offering free overnight delivery on all...
Apple is now offering free overnight delivery on all in stock products until 3pm local time on December 22nd. This includes new as well as refurbished computers. Click here for more information. Read more
Beats Holiday sale at B&H, headphones and...
B&H Photo has Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, earphones, and speakers on sale for up to $80 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Expedited shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax to NY... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple resellers offer 2017 15″...
MacMall has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $220-$300 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2179, $220 off MSRP – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Silver (... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple resellers offer 13″ MacBo...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (... Read more
Apple Watch Series 2, Certified Refurbished,...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Apple Watch Nike+ Series 2s, 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Anthracite/Black Nike Sport Bands, available for $249 (38mm) or $279 (42mm). The 38mm model was out of... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ R...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $949. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
B&H drops price on 13″ 256GB MacBook Air...
B&H has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB Apple MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A) now on sale for $1079 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price... 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
Payments Counsel, *Apple* Pay (payments, cr...
# Payments Counsel, Apple Pay (payments, credit/debit) Job Number: 112941729 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 13-Dec-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 113124408 Waterford, CT, Connecticut, United States Posted: 17-Oct-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are you Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.