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
$101.66
Apple Inc.
+0.23
MSFT
$46.70
Microsoft Corpora
-0.31
GOOG
$575.62
Google Inc.
-5.73

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Screenshot Path 1.2.1 - Change the defau...
Screenshot Path lets you change the folder where OS X saves screenshots. Screenshots are saved by default to the user’s desktop. This is handy for the occasional screenshot but those looking to take... Read more
Fantastical 1.3.16 - Create calendar eve...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
GIMP 2.8.14 - Powerful, free image editi...
GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching,... Read more
HoudahSpot 3.9.3 - Advanced front-end fo...
HoudahSpot is an advanced file search tool built upon MacOS X Spotlight. Spotlight unleashed Create detailed queries to locate the exact file you need Narrow down searches. Zero in on files Save... Read more
djay 4.2.3 - Transform your Mac into a f...
djay transforms your Mac into a full-fledged DJ system, allowing you to mix your iTunes music library on a hyper-realistic turntable interface. Perform live, record mixes on-the-go, or enable... Read more
iDefrag 2.2.8 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
Bookends 12.2.3 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Copy 1.47.0410 - Cloud storage and file...
Note: You must first sign up to use Copy (get a 5GB sign-up bonus through our 'Download' link above). Copy lets you sync, protect, and share. Everywhere. Want to bring some files home? No problem!... Read more
Stacks 2.6.3 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver: A plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages that... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0 - Disable window restor...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This Week at 148Apps: September 8-12, 20...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iOS devotee to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check... | Read more »
Rejoice, Kittens! Kitty Powers’ Matchmak...
Rejoice, Kittens! | Read more »
Upcoming Digital Board Game SettleForge...
Upcoming Digital Board Game SettleForge is Headed to iOS Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 12th, 2014 [ permalink ] SettleForge is a single-player board game where players take on the role of the king as they try to | Read more »
Air Supply SOS Set to Bring Retro Sheep...
Air Supply SOS Set to Bring Retro Sheep Rescuing to iOS Soon Posted by Ellis Spice on September 12th, 2014 [ permalink ] Quantum Sheep has announced that the latest entry in the | Read more »
Star Wars: Commander Reveals Who is Winn...
Star Wars: Commander Reveals Who is Winning the Galactic Civil War Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 12th, 2014 [ permalink ] Disney Interactive has released a new infographic detailing the stat | Read more »
The New MOGA REBEL iOS Controller is Set...
The New MOGA REBEL iOS Controller is Set to Be Released on September 17 Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 12th, 2014 [ permalink ] MO | Read more »
Scuba Dupa Review
Scuba Dupa Review By Rob Thomas on September 12th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BUBBLE TROUBLEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Scuba Dupa is cute and simple fun, but you’re going to have to part with a bit too much sunken... | Read more »
Get Ready for the iPhone 6 – Amazon Trad...
Get Ready for the iPhone 6 – Amazon Trade-in Program Locks in Used Gadget Prices Until October 10 Posted by Ellis Spice on September 12th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Kings of the Realm Review
Kings of the Realm Review By Jennifer Allen on September 12th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STANDARD BASE BUILDINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Kings of the Realm offers some handy tweaks, but it’s still the familiar format... | Read more »
Five Nights at Freddy's (Games)
Five Nights at Freddy's 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save $75 on the 16GB iPad mini with Retina Di...
Best Buy has the 16GB iPad mini with Retina Display on sale for $324.99 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $75 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this mini.... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979, $120 of...
B&H Photo has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz iMa...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
Macally iPhone 6 Cases
Macally has introduced a Line of Snap-On Shell Cases, Frame Bumper Cases and a Rugged Protective Case for iPhone 6 with 4.7inch Screen, such as the SNAP case in a variety of brilliant metallic... Read more
Belkin Launches New Accessories iPhone 6 and...
Belkin has unveiled a new collection of products for iPhone 6 and iPhone Plus. Belkin’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus accessories include athletic-inspired armbands, classic phone cases and advanced... Read more
Skinit Debuts Customizable Apple iPhone 6 Cas...
Skinit, pioneer creators of protective personalized solutions for consumer electronic devices, has introduced its new collection of customizable Skinit cases and skins for the new Apple iPhone 6.... Read more
Apple refurbished MacBook Pros available for...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
Save $200 with Apple refurbished 27-inch Thun...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
Free $25 iTunes gift card with purchase of Ap...
The Apple Store is offering a free $25 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a $99 Apple TV for a limited time. Shipping is free. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.