TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Date FKEY
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:Pascal/FKEY

Related Info: Event Manager

A Date-Typing FKEY

A one hour project

By Rob Spencer, East Lyme, Connecticut

This is a one-hour project with two goals: first, to provide a minor but useful tidbit for everyday use, and second, to present a short example of an FKEY that posts and modifies its own events.

For newcomers, an FKEY is a small routine that’s invoked when the user types a command-shift-number sequence, such as the command-shift-3 FKEY that captures the screen to a MacPaint document (under System 6) or Teach Text PICT document (System 7). An FKEY consists of stand-alone code with no global variables and usually little or no user interface; see Roy Lovejoy’s recent article (“FKEYs in THINK Pascal, Easy...”, MacTutor, June 1992, p. 53-55) for more discussion.

This FKEY does something simple and useful for those of us who type letters and memos every day: when the user types command-shift-6 (or whatever number from 0 to 9 you choose), the FKEY types the current date into the current document or edit field. It does this by getting the date from the Toolbox and sending it to the event queue as a sequence of keyDown events. The text appears in your document exactly as if you had typed it.

ASSEMBLE THE EVENT

The heart of the FKEY is the SendAString routine that posts each character of its input string as a keyDown event for the current application to catch. All that’s necessary is to assemble the appropriate message (a longint) for each character.

The low byte of message is charCode, which is just ord(theStr[i]). The next byte is the keyCode, which specifies which key was pressed. For most uses keyCode can be zero, since most keyDown dispatch routines ignore the keyCode and look only at charCode, like this:

with myEvent do begin
 myChar := CHR(BitAnd(message, charCodeMask));
 if BitAnd(modifiers, cmdKey) <> 0 then...

However, my testing with keyCode = 0 showed that some applications didn’t receive the proper string, so to be safe I had to do a little more work to fill in the correct keyCode byte.

Key codes are defined in the System’s KCHR resource, but rather than retrieve and parse that, we use a small bit of it in a fixed look-up table string (called keyMap in the listing). This contains the correct keyCode values for all letters, numbers, and the comma. The space character is handled separately, rather than make keyMap too long. Finally, keyCode is shifted to the second byte and added to charCode to produce the correct message.

REMOVE THOSE MODIFIERS

In the first version of the FKEY I simply used PostEvent and got unexpected results: since the user must have the command and shift keys down to invoke the FKEY, the keyDown events that it posts come with the cmdKey and shiftKey modifier bits set. Thus if the month is September, the first keyDown that the application sees will be command-S, and it will promptly save the current document! What we want is the FKEY to send the keyDowns without any modifiers; the solution is to use PPostEvent and then clear the appropriate bits from the new event, as shown in the listing.

TESTING and DEBUGGING

As both Roy Lovejoy and the THINK Pascal demo FKEY “BlockComment” point out, debugging an FKEY is simple. Just build a tiny program that includes the FKEY unit and then call the obligatory FKEY entry point called main. In my program I then use THINK’s Text window to receive the keyDown events, so we can see what day it is.

USING THE FKEY

Use ResEdit to paste the FKEY resource into the word processing application of your choice, or, if you want the FKEY universally available, paste it into the System file. That’s it!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Though FKEY’s are as old as the Mac, they aren’t widely appreciated. Perhaps this is partly because of what I just wrote above: “Use ResEdit...”. I decided to provide an easier way, though for the sake of brevity I’ll only mention it here: on the code disk for this month is a HyperCard stack which does a one-button installation of the FKEY to your System file.

Figure 1: bonus installation stack

This stack does this job with an original XFCN and XCMD. The XFCN, SystemResources, returns a list of System resources of a given type (to see if the FKEY already exists), while the XCMD, InstallFKEY, does the actual installation. The stack also includes the THINK Pascal source code for these externals.

LISTINGS
unit DateFKEY;
{ Types today’s date when the user types }
{ cmd-shift-6. In THINK Pascal 4.0 by    }  
{ Rob Spencer, August 1992.              }

interface

 procedure main;

implementation

 procedure main;

 { ----------------------------- }

 function SendAString (theStr: str255): OSErr;

 const
 { keyMap is a subset of the }
 { KCHR System resource.     }
 keyMap = 
 'ASDFHGZXCV*BQWERYT123465=97*80*OU*IP*LJ*K**,*NM';
 space = char(32);

 var
 i, keyCode: integer;
 theChar: char;
 theErr: OSErr;
 message, modifiers, modifierMask: longint;
 myQPtr: EvQElPtr;

 begin
 theErr := noErr;
 modifierMask := BitNot(shiftKey + cmdKey);

 if theStr <> '' then
 begin
 FlushEvents(keyDown, 0);
 for i := 1 to length(theStr) do
 begin
 { Get the proper keyCode. }
 theChar := theStr[i];
 if theChar in ['a'..'z'] then
 { Make theChar uppercase for }
 { our look-up string.        }
 theChar := char(ord(theChar) - 32);
 if theChar = space then
 keyCode := $31
 else
 keyCode := pos(theChar, keyMap) - 1;
 if keyCode = -1 then
 keyCode := 0;

 { Assemble the message.   }
 message := BitShift(keyCode, 8) +
 ord(theStr[i]);

 { Post the keyDown event. }
 theErr := PPostEvent(keyDown, message,
 myQPtr);
 if theErr <> noErr then
 leave;

 { Now strip off the cmdKey }
 { and shiftKey modifiers.  }
 modifiers := BitAnd(myQPtr^.evtQModifiers, 
 modifierMask);
 myQPtr^.evtQModifiers := modifiers;
 end;
 end;
 SendAString := theErr;
 end;

 { ============== main ============== }

 var
 dateStr: str255;
 tempLong: longint;

 begin
 { The queue can only hold 20 characters, }
 { so we strip off the day of the week.   }
 GetDateTime(tempLong);
 IUDateString(tempLong, LongDate, dateStr);
 if dateStr <> '' then
 if pos(char(32), dateStr) > 0 then
 Delete(dateStr, 1, pos(char(32), dateStr));
 if SendAString(dateStr) <> noErr then
 SysBeep(10);
 end;

end.

{ ====== shell program for debugging ===== }

program DateFKEYtest;

 uses
 DateFKEY;

 var
 myStr: str255;

begin
 main;  { Call our FKEY }
 { Make an active input window    }
 { to receive the keyDown events. }
 ShowText;
 read(myStr);
 writeLn;
 writeLn(myStr);
end.

{ =========== end of listings =========== }

Figure 2: the project window for debugging

Figure 3: the project window for the stand-alone FKEY

Figure 4: set up for FKEY #6.

 
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

This Week at 148Apps: April 14-18, 2014
Spring Into Our App Reviews   | Read more »
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 »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Deal Alert! 13-inch MacBook Pro on sale for $...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $200 off MSRP. Price is valid... Read more
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

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of 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* Inc. Research Data Specialist - Appl...
…of Worldwide Market Research & Intelligence. The team is responsible for conducting Apple branded consumer market research. It is also responsible for analyzing data Read more
*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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.