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Modal Filter 2
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:8
Column Tag:Getting Started

Related Info: Dialog Manager Event Manager

The Modal Dialog Filter - Part II

Preprocessing events for a modal dialog.

By Dave Mark, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

By the time you read this, summer will be reaching towards the fall and MacWorld Expo will be on everybody’s mind. If you read this before (or at) MacWorld expo, stop by and say hello. I’ll be at the Addison-Wesley booth and at MacTech Live! I’d love to hear from you. By the way, has anyone picked up a copy of Learn C++ on the Macintosh yet? If you have, drop me a line on CompuServe or AOL and let me know what you think.

Last month, we entered and ran a program called DLOGFilter. DLOGFilter implemented a dialog box containing two text-edit fields (see Figure 1). The first field (labeled Ten chars max:) limited input to a maximum of 10 characters. The second text-edit field (labeled Number (1-100):) limited input to numeric characters only.

Figure 1. The DLOGFilter dialog box.

The dialog box requires that you enter a number between 1 and 100 in the Number field. If you click the OK button before a legal number is entered, a warning message is displayed (see Figure 2) and the dialog sticks around.

Figure 2. Here’s what happens when you click the OK button without entering a number.

The key to this program is the filter procedure, or filterproc, used to preprocess all events before they are passed on to the Dialog Manager. In this case, we are interested in intercepting all keyDown and autoKey events before the Dialog Manager interprets them as text-edit keystrokes. You’ll see how to do this as we walk through the DLOGFilter code.

Walking Through the DLOGFilter code

DLOGFilter starts off with a host of #defines. You’ll see these again as they are used throughout the code. I know this is obvious, but here’s a word or two about the naming convention I use in my code. Start all constants with a lower-case k, with two exceptions. Menu and dialog items start with a lower-case i and menu resource id’s start with a lower case m. Notice that the remainder of the constant name is spelled according to Pascal rules, as opposed to C rules. Pascal starts each word with an upper-case letter, while C traditionally uses all upper-case letters, separating each word by an underscore (_). I think the Pascal method is much easier to read. As it happens, most of Apple’s C code uses the Pascal convention as well.

/* 1 */

#define kDialogResID 128
#define kMBARid  128
#define kMessageAlertID   129

#define kSleep   60L
#define kMoveToFront (WindowPtr)-1L
#define kNULLFilterProc   (ProcPtr)0L

#define kOn 1
#define kOff0

#define kEditItemExists   true
#define kEventNotHandledYet false
#define kEventHandledtrue

#define kMaxFieldLength   10

#define kEnterKey3
#define kBackSpaceKey8
#define kTabKey  9
#define kReturnKey 13
#define kEscapeKey 27
#define kLeftArrow 28
#define kRightArrow29
#define kUpArrow 30
#define kDownArrow 31
#define kPeriodKey 46
#define kDeleteKey 127

#define iTenCharMaxText   4
#define iNumberText6

#define mApple   128
#define iAbout   1

#define mFile    129
#define iDialog  1
#define iQuit    3

As usual, we’ve declared the global gDone as a Boolean to tell us when to drop out of the main event loop. As always, we start global variables with the letter g. There are lots of other naming conventions for variables. For example, some folks start their variables with a letter indicating the type of the variable. This can come in handy if you are writing code that gets shared among a group of people.

/* 2 */

/*  Globals  */
Boolean gDone;

Here’s the function prototypes for every single routine in the program. Get in the habit of providing function prototypes for all your routines. Since C++ requires function prototypes, this is a good habit to get into.

/* 3 */

/*  Functions  */
void    ToolboxInit( void );
void    MenuBarInit( void );
void    EventLoop( void );
void    DoEvent( EventRecord *eventPtr );
void    HandleMouseDown( EventRecord *eventPtr );
void    HandleMenuChoice( long menuChoice );
void    HandleAppleChoice( short item );
void    HandleFileChoice( short item );
void    DoDialog( void );

Here’s an unusual prototype. Look at the return type for the function DLOGFilter().

/* 4 */

pascal Boolean DLOGFilter( DialogPtr dialog, EventRecord *eventPtr, short 
*itemHitPtr );

The pascal keyword tells the compiler that this routine should be called using Pascal, as opposed to C, calling conventions. Here’s why this is important. When your code calls a regular C function, the compiler has no trouble using the C function-calling conventions. When you call a Toolbox function, the rules change a bit. Since the Toolbox was originally written in Pascal, all calls to it are made using the Pascal calling conventions. When you call a Toolbox function from your code, the compiler is smart enough to use the Pascal convention to pass parameters and return the return value to your code. The compiler knows to do this because the Toolbox function prototypes use the pascal keyword.

Where things get tricky is when you write a function in C that you’d like to be called by a Toolbox function. For example, in this program, we’re creating a function that will be called, periodically, by ModalDialog(). Which conventions do we use, C or Pascal? As it turns out, we yield to the Toolbox and declare our function using the pascal keyword. It’s not important to understand the difference between C and Pascal calling conventions, just as long as you remember this rule: If your routine is designed to be called by the Toolbox, be sure to declare it using the pascal keyword.

Here’s the rest of the function prototypes.

/* 5 */

Boolean ScrapIsOnlyDigits( void );
Boolean CallFilterProc( DialogPtr dialog, EventRecord
 *eventPtr, short *itemHitPtr );
short   CurEditField( DialogPtr dialog );
short   SelectionLength( DialogPtr dialog );
void    Message( Str255 messageStr );

Here’s some routines that arrived too late to be added to the THINK C 5 header files. They are part of System 7. The first three should be familiar to you from previous columns. The fourth will be used to retrieve the address of the default ModalDialog() filter procedure. You’ll see how this is used later on in the program.

/* 6 */

/* see tech note 304 */
pascal OSErr SetDialogDefaultItem( DialogPtr theDialog, 
 short newItem ) 
 = { 0x303C, 0x0304, 0xAA68 };        
pascal OSErr SetDialogCancelItem( DialogPtr theDialog, 
 short newItem )
 = { 0x303C, 0x0305, 0xAA68 };    
pascal OSErr SetDialogTrackCursor( DialogPtr theDialog, 
 Boolean tracks )
 = { 0x303C, 0x0306, 0xAA68 };
pascal OSErr GetStdFilterProc( ModalFilterProcPtr *theProc )
 = { 0x303C, 0x0203, 0xAA68 };

main() initializes the Toolbox and menu bar, then enters the main event loop. Notice the new spelling of ToolboxInit(). (I used to spell it ToolBoxInit() - Aack!)

/* 7 */

/************************************* main */
void  main( void )

Nothing new here...

/* 8 */

/************************************* ToolboxInit */

void  ToolboxInit( void )
 InitGraf( &thePort );
 InitDialogs( NULL );

Not too much new here. This time I added a constant for the MBAR resource id.

/* 9 */

/************************************* MenuBarInit */

void  MenuBarInit( void )
 Handle menuBar;
 MenuHandle menu;
 menuBar = GetNewMBar( kMBARid );
 SetMenuBar( menuBar );

 menu = GetMHandle( mApple );
 AddResMenu( menu, 'DRVR' );

Same old, same old...

/* 10 */

/************************************* EventLoop */

void  EventLoop( void )
 gDone = false;
 while ( gDone == false )
 if ( WaitNextEvent( everyEvent, &event, kSleep, NULL ) )
 DoEvent( &event );

Since our program only supports menus and a single dialog, we’ll only handle a few events. The dialog window events will be handled by the Dialog Manager.

/* 11 */

/************************************* DoEvent */

void  DoEvent( EventRecord *eventPtr )
 char   theChar;
 switch ( eventPtr->what )
 case mouseDown: 
 HandleMouseDown( eventPtr );
 case keyDown:
 case autoKey:
 theChar = eventPtr->message & charCodeMask;
 if ( (eventPtr->modifiers & cmdKey) != 0 ) 
 HandleMenuChoice( MenuKey( theChar ) );

Last month’s version of HandleMouseDown() included code for dragging a window around on the screen. Since we don’t have any windows, I took the liberty of deleting the offending lines. Sorry about the extra typing.

/* 12 */

/************************************* HandleMouseDown */

void  HandleMouseDown( EventRecord *eventPtr )
 short  thePart;
 long   menuChoice;
 thePart = FindWindow( eventPtr->where, &window );
 switch ( thePart )
 case inMenuBar:
 menuChoice = MenuSelect( eventPtr->where );
 HandleMenuChoice( menuChoice );
 case inSysWindow : 
 SystemClick( eventPtr, window );

Pretty standard menu handling code. HandleMenuChoice() dispatches the menu selection...

/* 13 */

/************************************* HandleMenuChoice */

void  HandleMenuChoice( long menuChoice )
 short  menu;
 short  item;
 if ( menuChoice != 0 )
 menu = HiWord( menuChoice );
 item = LoWord( menuChoice );
 switch ( menu )
 case mApple:
 HandleAppleChoice( item );
 case mFile:
 HandleFileChoice( item );
 HiliteMenu( 0 );

HandleAppleChoice() handles selections from the • menu. Feel free to add an about alert of your own design.

/* 14 */

/************************************* HandleAppleChoice */

void  HandleAppleChoice( short item )
 MenuHandle appleMenu;
 Str255 accName;
 short  accNumber;
 switch ( item )
 case iAbout:
 SysBeep( 20 );
 appleMenu = GetMHandle( mApple );
 GetItem( appleMenu, item, accName );
 accNumber = OpenDeskAcc( accName );

HandleFileChoice() handles the File menu selections. The first item in the File menu is the Dialog... item, which brings up our filtered dialog. The dialog is handled by the routine DoDialog().

/* 15 */

/************************************* HandleFileChoice */

void  HandleFileChoice( short item )
 switch ( item )
 case iDialog:
 case iQuit:
 gDone = true;

DoDialog() starts by loading the DLOG resource using GetNewDialog().

/* 16 */

/************************************* DoDialog */

void  DoDialog( void )
 BooleandialogDone = false;
 short  itemHit, iType;
 Handle iHandle;
 Rect   iRect;
 Str255 numberStr;
 long   number;

Strictly speaking, you should check the value returned by GetNewDialog(). This will keep you from an embarassing crash if the DLOG resource couldn’t be loaded for some reason (like there’s no more memory left, or the darn thing just wasn’t there).

/* 17 */

 dialog = GetNewDialog( kDialogResID, NULL, kMoveToFront );

As usual, we make the dialog visible, make it the current port, then call the three new System 7 routines.

/* 18 */

 ShowWindow( dialog );
 SetPort( dialog );
 SetDialogDefaultItem( dialog, ok );
 SetDialogCancelItem( dialog, cancel );
 SetDialogTrackCursor( dialog, kEditItemExists );

Check out the tech note that describes these new routines. You can find them on the developer CDs and, I’ll bet, on-line somewhere. If you can’t find it, write to Neil and maybe he’ll include them on the next MacTech CD.

// Be sure to read tech note #304 which covers 
// these three routines

With the dialog window visible, we can enter the main dialog loop. We’ll drop out of the loop once dialogDone is set to true.

/* 19 */

 while ( ! dialogDone )

The loop consists of a call to ModalDialog() and a switch to interpret the result returned in itemHit. The first parameter is a pointer to a filter function. Our filter function is named DLOGFilter. Note the lack of parentheses in the function name. If we included the parens, the function would be called in place and the return value would be passed as the first parameter to ModalDialog(). We’ll get to DLOGFilter() in a minute.

/* 20 */

 ModalDialog( DLOGFilter, &itemHit );

 switch( itemHit )

If the OK button was clicked, we’ll call GetDItem() and GetIText() to retrieve the text in the Number (1-100): text-edit field.

/* 21 */

case ok:
 GetDItem(dialog, iNumberText, &iType, &iHandle, &iRect );
 GetIText( iHandle, numberStr);

If the field is empty, we’ll print a message asking the user to enter a number in the field.

/* 22 */

 if ( numberStr[ 0 ] == 0 )
  Message("\pYou must enter a number in the number field!");

Otherwise, we’ll convert the text in the field into a number, then test to see if the number is between 1 and 100. If so, we can drop out of the loop.

/* 23 */

 StringToNum( numberStr, &number );
 if ( (number >= 1) && (number <= 100) )
 dialogDone = true;

If the number is not in the required range, we’ll print the appropriate message, then highlight all the text in the field.

/* 24 */

 Message("\pPlease enter a number between 1 and 100..." );
 SelIText( dialog, iNumberText, 0, 32767 );

How can we be sure that the text in the field is a number? As you’ll see, that’s part of the job of the filter procedure. DLOGFilter() makes sure that only numeric characters are entered in the number field.

If the Cancel button was pressed, we’ll drop out of the dialog loop.

/* 25 */

 case cancel:
 dialogDone = true;

Once out of the loop, we’ll free up the memory occupied by the dialog, then print an appropriate message.

/* 26 */

 DisposDialog( dialog );
 if ( itemHit == ok )
 Message( "\pYour number was valid!!!" );
 Message( "\pDialog cancelled..." );

DLOGFilter() gets called every time ModalDialog() encounters an event. Pointers to the dialog and event are passed as the first two parameters. The third parameter allows DLOGFilter() to set the value of itemHit.

If the event is handled by DLOGFilter() (and we want ModalDialog() to ignore it) we’ll return a value of true, being sure to set the value of itemHit first (via itemHitPtr). If we didn’t handle the event, we’ll return false, asking ModalDialog() to process the event.

/* 27 */

/************************************* DLOGFilter */

pascal  Boolean  DLOGFilter( DialogPtr dialog, EventRecord *eventPtr, 
short *itemHitPtr )
 char   c;
 short  iType;
 Handle iHandle;
 Rect   iRect;
 Str255 textStr;
 long   scrapLength, scrapOffset;
 short  selecLength;

In this program, we’re only interested in keyDown and autoKey events. Feel free to add whatever events you like to the switch.

/* 28 */

 switch ( eventPtr->what )
 case keyDown:
 case autoKey:

If the key pressed was one of those in the if clause, we’ll call the default filter procedure (the one ModalDialog() calls if we don’t provide one), returning the result returned by the default filterproc.

/* 29 */

 c = (eventPtr->message & charCodeMask);

 if ( (c == kReturnKey) || (c == kEnterKey) ||
 (c == kTabKey) || (c == kBackSpaceKey) ||
 (c == kEscapeKey) || (c == kLeftArrow) ||
 (c == kRightArrow) || (c == kUpArrow) ||
 (c == kDownArrow) || (c == kDeleteKey) )
 return(CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr ));

Otherwise, we’ll check to see if the edit cursor is inside the Ten chars max: field.

/* 30 */

 else if ( CurEditField( dialog ) == iTenCharMaxText )

If so, we’ll retrieve the text from that field.

/* 31 */

 GetDItem(dialog, iTenCharMaxText, &iType, 
 &iHandle, &iRect);
 GetIText( iHandle, textStr);

Next, we’ll find out how many characters in that field are currently selected.

/* 32 */

 selecLength = SelectionLength( dialog );

If the current event represents the key sequence V, we’ll check to make sure the text in the clipboard won’t push us over our ten character limit.

/* 33 */

 if ( ( (eventPtr->modifiers & cmdKey) != 0) && 
 (c == 'v') )

First, we’ll call GetScrap() to find out how many characters are in the clipboard. To programmers, the clipboard is known as the scrap, thus the name GetScrap(). Since the scrap can contain many types of data, we need to specify that we are interested in ‘TEXT’ data (as opposed to ‘PICT’ data, for example).

/* 34 */

 scrapLength = GetScrap( NULL, 'TEXT', &scrapOffset );

If the text that’s in the current field, plus the length of the scrap, minus the selection length (remember, the selection will be replaced by whatever is pasted) exceeds the 10 char limit, we’ll beep and return true.

/* 35 */

 if (textStr[0]+ scrapLength - selecLength > kMaxFieldLength)
 SysBeep( 20 );
 *itemHitPtr = iTenCharMaxText;
 return( kEventHandled );

Otherwise, we’ll let the default filterproc handle the paste.

/* 36 */

 return(CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr) );

If the field is full and no characters are selected (and thus replaced by the typed character), we’ll beep and return false.

/* 37 */

 if ((textStr[ 0 ] == kMaxFieldLength) && (selecLength == 0))
 SysBeep( 20 );
 return( kEventHandled );

Otherwise, we’ll let the default filterproc handle the event normally.

/* 38 */

 return( CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr ) );

So much for the Ten chars max: field. Now we’ll handle an event that occurs when the current field is the Number (1-100): field.

/* 39 */

 else if ( CurEditField( dialog ) == iNumberText )

This next line is superfluous. Feel free to delete it.

/* 40 */

 GetDItem( dialog, iNumberText, &iType, 
 &iHandle, &iRect );

Once again, we’ll retrieve the length of the current selection.

/* 41 */

 selecLength = SelectionLength( dialog );

Next, we’ll check to see if a V was typed. By the way, the Dialog Manager will convert a selection of Paste from the Edit menu to a V for us. Try it. This code should still work.

/* 42 */

 if ( ( (eventPtr->modifiers & cmdKey) != 0) && 
 (c == 'v') )

If V was typed, we’ll check to be sure the scrap contains only digits. If so, we’ll let the default filterproc handle the paste.

/* 43 */

 if ( ScrapIsOnlyDigits() )
 return( CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, 
 itemHitPtr ) );

Otherwise, we’ll beep and return.

/* 44 */

 SysBeep( 20 );
 *itemHitPtr = iNumberText;
 return( kEventHandled );

If the character typed was not a digit, and the command key was not held down, we’ll beep and return.

/* 45 */

 else if ( ((c < '0') || (c > '9')) && 
 ( (eventPtr->modifiers & cmdKey) == 0) )
 SysBeep( 20 );
 *itemHitPtr = iNumberText;
 return( kEventHandled );

If the character typed was a digit, or if a command-key sequence of any type was entered, we’ll let the default filterproc handle it.

/* 46 */

 return( CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr ) );

If anything else slips through, we’ll let the default filterproc handle it.

/* 47 */

 return( CallFilterProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr ) );

You may have noticed that we started the filter off by checking for characters like return, enter, tab, delete, and the arrow keys. These are context-free keys. In other words, their importance is not related to the current field. We try to get those out of the way first, before we start checking for input related to a specific field.

ScrapIsOnlyDigits() checks the contents of the scrap to make sure each character is a digit, between ‘0’ and ‘9’.

/* 48 */

/************************************* ScrapIsOnlyDigits */

Boolean ScrapIsOnlyDigits( void )
 Handle textHandle;
 long   scrapLength, scrapOffset;
 BooleanonlyDigits = true;
 unsigned short  i;

First, we’ll allocate a new, minimum-sized handle. The Mac’s Memory Manager will allocate the minimum size block of memory, then return a pointer to a pointer to the block. We’ll get into handles in a later column. For the moment, just bear with me.

/* 49 */

 textHandle = NewHandle( 0 );

We pass that handle to GetScrap(), asking it to retrieve data of type ‘TEXT’ from the scrap, resizing the handled block to a size appropriate to hold the retrieved text.

/* 50 */

 scrapLength = GetScrap( textHandle, 'TEXT', &scrapOffset );

If the scrap was empty, or if text couldn’t be retireved (scrapLength was negative), we’ll return false.

/* 51 */

 if ( scrapLength <= 0 )
 return( false );

Since we are about to singly dereference the handle, we have to lock it. Once again, we’ll talk about this in a future column.

/* 52 */

 HLock( textHandle );

Next, we’ll walk through the text, checking for non-digits.

/* 53 */

 for ( i=0; i<scrapLength; i++ )
 if (((*textHandle)[i] < '0') || ((*textHandle)[i] > '9'))
 onlyDigits = false;

Next, unlock the handle, release the memory, and return the result.

/* 54 */

 HUnlock( textHandle );
 DisposHandle( textHandle );
 return( onlyDigits );

CallFilterProc() makes use of the fourth System 7 routine mentioned at the very top of the program.

/* 55 */

/************************************* CallFilterProc */

Boolean CallFilterProc( DialogPtr dialog, EventRecord *eventPtr, short 
*itemHitPtr )
 OSErr  myErr;

GetStdFilterProc() retrieves the default filterproc. The default filterproc takes care of things like drawing the outline around the default button, checking for the cancel key-equivalents, and changing the cursor to the i-beam when the cursor is over a text-edit field.

/* 56 */

 myErr = GetStdFilterProc(&theModalProc);

 if (myErr == noErr)
 return( theModalProc( dialog, eventPtr, itemHitPtr ) );
 return( kEventNotHandledYet );

CurEditField() peeks into the dialog’s data structure and returns the adjusted value hidden in the editField field.

/* 57 */

/************************************* CurEditField */

short CurEditField( DialogPtr dialog )
 return( ((DialogPeek)dialog)->editField + 1 );

SelectionLength() starts by retrieving the current TEHandle from the specified dialog. The TEHandle is a handle to the struct describing the current text-edit field. The selEnd and selStart fields describe the position of the end and beginning of the text selection.

/* 58 */

/************************************* SelectionLength */

short SelectionLength( DialogPtr dialog )
 TEHandle teH;
 teH = ((DialogPeek)dialog)->textH;
 return( (**teH).selEnd - (**teH).selStart );
Message() puts up an alert containing the specified text string.

/************************************* Message */

void  Message( Str255 messageStr )
 short unused;

 ParamText( messageStr, "\p", "\p", "\p" );
 unused = NoteAlert( kMessageAlertID, kNULLFilterProc );

Till Next Month...

As an exercise, try changing the program so the OK button is dimmed unless a legal number is entered. You’ll need to check and adjust the OK button inside the filterproc.

Where to next month? I’m not sure yet. I’m vaccilating between a column on user interface design and one on memory management. Till then, enjoy MacWorld, and let me know what you think of Learn C++ on the Macintosh.


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Apple refurbished 9-inch and 12-inch iPad Pro...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... Read more
Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available f...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Sale! 15-inch 2.6GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook...
DataVision has the 15″ 2.6GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW72LL/A) on sale for $2199 including free shipping. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (... Read more
A Kaby Lake Processor Upgrade For The MacBook...
Now they tell me! Well, actually Apple hasn’t said anything official on the subject, but last week Bloomberg News’s Mark Gurman and Alex Webb cited unnamed “people familiar with the matter”... Read more
Kodak’s Camera-First Smartphone EKTRA Launche...
The Eastman Kodak Company and Bullitt Group have announced the availability of a U.S. GSM version of the KODAK EKTRA Smartphone. The U.S. launch coincides with a software update addressing requests... Read more
Apple Launches App Development Curriculum for...
Apple today launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download today from Apple... Read more

Jobs Board

Data Engineer - *Apple* Media Products - Ap...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
*Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple, Inc (U...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
*Apple* Integration Specialist - A3 Solution...
Apple Integration Specialist Contract-To-HireWe are searching for dedicated, well-experienced and energetic individuals for an information technology corporation Read more
Sr. Software Engineer, *Apple* Online Store...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
Senior Engineering Project Manager, *Apple*...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
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