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MDEFS, Part 2
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Getting Started

Related Info: Menu Manager Custom Menus

MDEFS, Part 2

Custom menus give you more control over behavior and appearance

By Dave Mark, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

Last month’s column presented two separate programs. The first implemented a menu definition procedure (a.k.a. MDEF), and the second was an application whose sole purpose was to take the MDEF for a test drive. In this month’s column, we’ll start off with a little bit of background on menu definition procedures, followed by a walk-through of both programs.

The Menu Definition Procedure

A normal Macintosh application features a menu bar made up of individual menus. At initialization time you’ll set up the menu bar (perhaps basing it on an MBAR resource). If a command-key keyDown or autoKey occurs, you’ll pass the character code to the Menu Manager function MenuKey(). MenuKey() maps the character code into its corresponding menu and item, returning the two-byte menu and item codes packed into a four-byte long.

When you detect a mouseDown in the menu bar, you’ll call the Menu Manager function MenuSelect(). MenuSelect() tracks the movement of the mouse until the mouse button is released. As the mouse passes over each menu title in the menu bar, MenuSelect() calls the menu definition procedure specified by that menu.

A menu definition procedure (more commonly known by its resource name, MDEF) is a chunk of code that brings a menu to life. An MDEF is designed to respond to different requests from the Menu Manager. The first request asks the MDEF to calculate the bounding rectangle for the menu. This is usually based on the width of the menu’s largest item and the number of items in the menu. Once it has the menu’s bounding rectangle, the Menu Manager can figure out exactly what pixels will be covered by the menu once it is drawn. Once it knows this, the Menu Manager copies those pixels to another location in memory so it can blast them back in as soon as the menu disappears.

Once it knows the menu’s bounding rectangle, the Menu Manager makes a second request, asking the MDEF to draw the menu inside the bounding rectangle. The MDEF mechanism gives your application incredible flexibility. If you like, you can make your menu look exactly like the standard Macintosh menu, drawing each item using 12-point Chicago and including the appropriate appointments, like command-key equivalents, check boxes and the like, and even an icon or two.

On the other hand, you can construct a menu that goes where no menu has gone before. Your menu can be made up of pictures, icons, text, anything you like. You can draw in black and white, gray-scale, or even living color. If you can draw it in a window, you can draw it in your menu.

Once the menu is drawn, the Menu Manager makes a third request, passing a mouse location to the MDEF. The MDEF uses the mouse location to determine which item should be highlighted. The MDEF unhighlights any previously highlighted item, highlights the new item, and returns the number of the newly highlighted item.

The flexibility of the MDEF lets you create all kinds of interesting menus. For example, you might create a menu with items in multiple columns. Figure 1 shows a menu that supports color and keeps its items in multiple rows and columns.

Figure 1 This MDEF lets you select from a
two-dimensional palette of colors.

Writing an MDEF

Writing a menu definition procedure is not quite the same as writing an application. First off, you’ll need to tell the compiler that you want to create a code resource. With THINK C, you’ll do this in the Set Project Type... dialog (Figure 2). Clicking the Code Resource radio button tells THINK C you want to create a code resource instead of an application. Since you are creating a resource and not an application file, you can ask THINK C to save the resource in a resource file. Setting the File Type to rsrc and the Creator to RSED will launch ResEdit when you double-click on the output file. Use a File Type of RSRC and a Creator of Doug if you want to launch Resorcerer when you double-click on the output file.

Figure 2 The Set Project Type... dialog,
showing settings for an MDEF.

The Type, Name, and ID fields tell THINK C what resource type to create, and what name and ID to give the new resource. In our case, we want to create an ‘MDEF’ resource with a name of “PICT” and an ID of 128. When you select Build Code Resource... from THINK C’s Project menu, once your code compiles you’ll be prompted for the name of a resource file in which to save your MDEF. This dialog box will feature a Merge checkbox, that let’s you add the resource to an existing resource file instead of creating a new one. To do this, type the name of an existing file in the file name field.

Now that your project is set up, let’s talk about the source code that actually implements the MDEF. Your source code will have a single entry point that follows this function prototype:

/* 1 */
pascal void MenuDef( short message, MenuHandle menu,
 Rect menuRectPtr, Point hitPt, short itemPtr );

The pascal keyword tells you that this code will be called by a Toolbox routine. The first parameter tells you what the Menu Manager wants you to do during this call. The four possible messages are:

• mSizeMsg - Calculate the menu’s width and height.

• mDrawMsg - Draw the menu.

• mChooseMsg - Figure out which item was selected, deselect any highlighted items if necessary, and highlight the appropriate item.

• mPopUpMsg - Calculate the bounding rectangle in the case where the MDEF is used to implement a popup menu.

The second parameter is a MenuHandle, a handle to the menu which specified this MDEF in the first place. When message is either mDrawMsg or mChooseMsg, the third parameter specifies the menu’s bounding rectangle in global coordinates. It’s your job to make sure that the menu fits on the screen. If their are too many items for the menu to fit, you should create a scrolling menu with up (s) and down (t) scroll indicators as needed.

When the message is mPopUpMsg, the Menu Manager is asking the MDEF to calculate the rectangle, in global coordinates, in which the menu should appear. Typically, you’ll use the fourth parameter, hitPt, to determine the position of the menu. If appropriate, place the menu so that the default (or last selected) item is at hitPt, so that the item is selected as soon as the menu appears. Of course, if this puts part of the menu off the screen, you’ll have to make allowances.

By the way, code resources (such as the MDEF, LDEF, and WDEF) can’t have global variables. Fortunately, we can get by without them.

When the message is mSizeMsg, the Menu Manager is asking the MDEF to calculate the menu’s height and width and place those values in the MenuRecord’s menuHeight and menuWidth fields.

As already mentioned, the fourth parameter contains the mouse position, in global coordinates, for use when the message is either mChooseMsg or mPopUpMsg. On mChooseMsg, you’ll use hitPt to figure out which item should be selected. If the mouse was in a scroll indicator, you should scroll the menu one item in the appropriate direction (you’ll probably want to take advantage of ScrollRect()). On mPopUpMsg, hitPt contains the upper-left corner of the popup label.

The last parameter, itemPtr, points to a short containing the last item selected, or 0 if no item was selected yet. You’ll use this information when message is mChooseMsg to determine whether an item is currently highlighted and, if the highlighted item isn’t the same as the newly selected item, to unhighlight the old item.

Creating an MDEF for the PowerPC requires a little bit of extra work (and goes beyond the scope of this article). To learn how to deal with executable resources on a PowerPC, you’ll need to read Inside Macintosh: PowerPC System Software. You’ll want to focus on the Mixed Mode Manager and the Code Fragment Manager.

Walking Through MDEF.c

OK, here’s the MDEF source code. As you’ve already seen, this MDEF creates a menu built completely out of PICT resources (Figure 3). It doesn’t handle scrolling and it doesn’t handle the mPopUpMsg message. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to add them yourself.

kTopMargin is the number of pixels of blank space placed on top and below each PICT in the menu. kLeftMargin is the number of pixels placed to the left and right of each PICT.

/* 2 */
#define kTopMargin 1
#define kLeftMargin2

Here’s the function prototypes:

/* 3 */
void  DoSizeMessage( MenuHandle menu, Rect *menuRectPtr );
void  DoDrawMessage( MenuHandle menu, Rect *menuRectPtr );
void  DoChooseMessage( MenuHandle menu, Rect *menuRectPtr,
 Point hitPt, short *whichItemPtr );
void  InvertItem( short itemNumber, short itemHeight, Rect *menuRectPtr 
void  DrawCenteredPict( PicHandle pic, Rect *rectPtr );
void  CalcitemHeightAndWidth( short basePICTid, short numPICTs,
 short *widthPtr, short *heightPtr );
void  GetNumPICTs( MenuHandle menu, short *baseIDPtr,
 short *numPICTsPtr );

main() is declared according to the function prototype described at the beginning of the column.

/* 4 */
pascal void main( short message,
 MenuHandle menu,
 Rect *menuRectPtr,
 Point hitPt,
 short *whichItemPtr )

Each of the messages (remember, we don’t handle mPopUpMsg) is handled by its own routine.

/* 5 */
 switch( message )
 case mDrawMsg:
 DoDrawMessage( menu, menuRectPtr );
 case mChooseMsg:
 DoChooseMessage( menu, menuRectPtr, hitPt, whichItemPtr );
 case mSizeMsg:
 DoSizeMessage( menu, menuRectPtr );

DoSizeMessage() starts with a call to GetNumPICTs(). GetNumPICTs() looks for a ‘long’ resource with the same resource ID as the current menu. The ‘long’ resource is not a standard Mac resource. It consists of 2 sets of 2 bytes. The first 2 bytes of the resource specify the resource ID of the first PICT to display in this menu. The second 2 bytes tell you how many PICT’s to display. If the base resource ID is 128 and the number of PICT’s is 3, the menu will display PICT resources 128, 129, and 130.

/* 6 */
void  DoSizeMessage( MenuHandle menu,
 Rect *menuRectPtr )
 short  basePICTid, numPICTs, maxPICTWidth, maxPICTHeight;
 GetNumPICTs( menu, &basePICTid, &numPICTs );

We could have designed a menu where each item was a different height, but that wouldn’t have looked that great. Instead, this MDEF uses the width of the widest picture as the width of each item and the height of the tallest picture as the height of each item, with the kLeftMargin and kTopMargin factored in.

/* 7 */
 CalcitemHeightAndWidth( basePICTid, numPICTs, &maxPICTWidth, &maxPICTHeight 

The item width and height are then used to calculate the menu’s height and width, and those values are placed in the menuWidth and menuHeight fields of the menu.

/* 8 */
 (**menu).menuWidth = maxPICTWidth + 2 * kLeftMargin;
 (**menu).menuHeight = (maxPICTHeight+kTopMargin*2)*numPICTs;

DoDrawMessage() also starts with calls to GetNumPICTs() and CalcitemHeightAndWidth().

/* 9 */
void  DoDrawMessage( MenuHandle menu,
 Rect *menuRectPtr )
 short  basePICTid, numPICTs, 
           maxPICTWidth, maxPICTHeight, 
           itemHeight, i;
 Rect   r, tempRect;
 GetNumPICTs( menu, &basePICTid, &numPICTs );
 CalcitemHeightAndWidth( basePICTid, numPICTs, 
                          &maxPICTWidth, &maxPICTHeight );

We’ll use maxPICTHeight to calculate the height in pixels of a single item. We’ll use this value in our call to OffsetRect() at the bottom of the routine.

/* 10 */
 itemHeight = maxPICTHeight + kTopMargin * 2;

The Rect r is set to border the first item, inset by the margins specified by kTopMargin and kLeftMargin.

/* 11 */ = menuRectPtr->top + kTopMargin;
 r.left = menuRectPtr->left + kLeftMargin;
 r.bottom = + maxPICTHeight;
 r.right = r.left + maxPICTWidth;

In the loop, we’ll draw one picture, then move the Rect r down the height of one picture so we’ll be ready to draw the next one. We should probably check the value returned by GetPicture(), just in case we don’t have enough memory to load the PICT. We might want to draw a big X if GetPicture() failed. Hey, it’s better than crashing, right?

/* 12 */
 for ( i=0; i<numPICTs; i++ )
 pic = GetPicture( basePICTid + i );
 DrawCenteredPict( pic, &r );
 OffsetRect( &r, 0, itemHeight );

DoChooseMessage() is the most complex of all the message dispatching routines. As usual, it starts with calls to GetNumPICTs() and CalcitemHeightAndWidth().

/* 13 */
void  DoChooseMessage( MenuHandle menu,
 Rect *menuRectPtr,
 Point hitPt,
 short *whichItemPtr )
 short  basePICTid, selectedItem, numPICTs, 
         maxPICTWidth, maxPICTHeight, itemHeight;
 Rect r;

 GetNumPICTs( menu, &basePICTid, &numPICTs );
 CalcitemHeightAndWidth( basePICTid, numPICTs, 
                          &maxPICTWidth, &maxPICTHeight );

Next, the height of a single item is calculated, based on the height of the tallest picture plus a top and bottom margin.

/* 14 */
 itemHeight = (2 * kTopMargin) + maxPICTHeight;

If the mouse is currently inside the menu we’ll first figure out which item we’re in.

/* 15 */
 if ( PtInRect( hitPt, menuRectPtr ) )
 selectedItem = ((hitPt.v - menuRectPtr->top) / itemHeight) + 1;

If an item was already selected and its not the item we’re pointing at we have to deselect the old item.

/* 16 */
 if ( ( *whichItemPtr > 0 ) 
         && ( *whichItemPtr != selectedItem ) )
 InvertItem( *whichItemPtr, itemHeight, menuRectPtr );

If the last item selected is not the item we’re currently pointing at, we’ll tell the Menu Manager which item is selected, then select this item.

/* 17 */
 if ( *whichItemPtr != selectedItem )
 *whichItemPtr = selectedItem;
 InvertItem( *whichItemPtr, itemHeight, menuRectPtr );

If the mouse was not in the menu’s rectangle, and if an item is currently selected, we’ll deselect the item and tell the Menu Manager that there is no longer an item selected.

/* 18 */
 else if ( *whichItemPtr > 0 )
 InvertItem( *whichItemPtr, itemHeight, menuRectPtr );
 *whichItemPtr = 0;

InvertItem() creates a Rect surrounding the item in question, then calls InvertRect() to invert the item. If your items will be drawn in color, you might want to use a different strategy for highlighting an item. You can use the highlight color (see the Color Quickdraw routine HiliteColor()) or perhaps a 2 pixel or more border around the currently selected item.

/* 19 */
void  InvertItem( short itemNumber,
 short itemHeight,
 Rect *menuRectPtr )
 Rect r;
 r = *menuRectPtr; += ( (itemNumber-1) * itemHeight );
 r.bottom = + itemHeight;
 InvertRect( &r );

DrawCenteredPict() centers and draws the specified picture in the Rect pointed to by rectPtr.

/* 20 */
void  DrawCenteredPict( PicHandle pic,
 Rect *rectPtr )
 Rect pictRect;
 pictRect = (**pic).picFrame;
 OffsetRect( &pictRect, rectPtr->left - pictRect.left,
    rectPtr->top  -;
 OffsetRect( &pictRect,(rectPtr->right - pictRect.right)/2,
   (rectPtr->bottom - pictRect.bottom)/2);
 DrawPicture( pic, &pictRect );

CalcitemHeightAndWidth() steps through each of the menu’s pictures, tracking values for the widest and tallest pictures.

/* 21 */
void  CalcitemHeightAndWidth( short basePICTid,
 short numPICTs,
 short *widthPtr,
 short *heightPtr )
 short  i;
 Rect   r;
 *widthPtr = 0;
 *heightPtr = 0;

 for ( i=0; i<numPICTs; i++ )
 pic = GetPicture( basePICTid + i );
 r = (**pic).picFrame;
 if ( r.bottom - > *heightPtr )
 *heightPtr = r.bottom -;
 if ( r.right - r.left > *widthPtr )
 *widthPtr = r.right - r.left;

GetNumPICTs() starts by retrieving the menu ID from the current menu. This ID is used as a resource ID to retrieve the appropriate ‘long’ resource.

/* 22 */
void  GetNumPICTs( MenuHandle menu,
 short *baseIDPtr,
 short *numPICTsPtr )
 Handle longHandle;
 long retrievedLong;
 short  menuID;
 menuID = (**menu).menuID;
 longHandle = GetResource( 'long', menuID );

This 4 byte value is then broken into two shorts, one holding the base 
PICT resource ID, and the other the number of PICT’s in the menu.

 retrievedLong = (*((long *)(*longHandle)));
 *baseIDPtr = HiWord( retrievedLong );
 *numPICTsPtr = LoWord( retrievedLong );

Walking Through Tester.c

There’s nothing magical about Tester. It implements a standard menu bar with three menus. What is unusual is that one of the menus uses the MDEF created by MDEF.c instead of the standard Apple MDEF. The standard Apple MDEF has a resource ID of 0. Our MDEF has a resource ID of 128. When you create a menu that uses a custom MDEF, be sure to change the MDEF id in whatever resource editor you use.

/* 23 */
#define kWindowResID 128
#define kMBARResID 128
#define kNULLStorage 0L
#define kMoveToFront (WindowPtr)-1L
#define kSleep   60L

#define mApple   128
#define iAbout   1

#define mFile    129
#define iQuit    1

#define mPICT    131

Tester uses two globals. gDone does its usual job and gCurPICTid keeps track of the current PICT.

/* 24 */

Boolean gDone;
short   gCurPICTid;

Here are all the function prototypes...

/* 25 */
void  ToolboxInit( void );
void  MenuBarInit( void );
void  WindowInit( 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  HandlePICTChoice( short item );
void  DoUpdate( WindowPtr window );
void  DrawPictInWindow( PicHandle pic, WindowPtr window );
short GetBasePICTid( short menuID );

main() initializes the Toolbox, sets up the menu bar, then creates an empty window. Next, gCurPICTid is set to the first one in the sequence. The picture will be drawn in the window when an updateEvt is processed for the window. Finally, the main event loop is entered.

/* 26 */
void  main( void )
 gCurPICTid = GetBasePICTid( mPICT );

ToolboxInit() and MenuBarInit() are the same as they ever were.

/* 27 */
void  ToolboxInit( void )
 InitGraf( &thePort );
 InitDialogs( NULL );

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

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

WindowInit() retrieves a ‘WIND’ resource. If there’s a problem, we’ll just beep and exit.

/* 28 */
void  WindowInit( void )
 window = GetNewWindow( kWindowResID, kNULLStorage,
  kMoveToFront );
 if ( window == NULL )
 SysBeep( 20 );  /* Couldn't load WIND */
 SetPort( window );
 ShowWindow( window );

Nothing unusual about EventLoop(), DoEvent(), or HandleMouseDown().

/* 29 */
void  EventLoop( void )
 gDone = false;
 while ( gDone == false )
 if ( WaitNextEvent( everyEvent, &event, kSleep, nil ) )
 DoEvent( &event );

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 ) );
 case updateEvt:
 DoUpdate( (WindowPtr)eventPtr->message );


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 );
 case inDrag : 
 DragWindow( window, eventPtr->where,
  &(screenBits.bounds) );

As usual, HandleMenuChoice() dispatches a menu selection. Notice that a selection from the Picture menu is dispatched just like any other menu selection. You can make changes to your MDEF without affecting the Tester code.

/* 30 */
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 );
 case mPICT:
 HandlePICTChoice( item );
 HiliteMenu( 0 );

HandleAppleChoice() and HandleFileChoice() are remarkable in their lack of excitement.

/* 31 */
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 );

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

HandlePICTChoice() erases the window and then calls InvalRect() to force an updateEvt. Finally, gCurPICTid is updated, based on the item selected.

/* 32 */
void  HandlePICTChoice( short item )
 window = FrontWindow();
 EraseRect( &window->portRect );
 InvalRect( &window->portRect );
 gCurPICTid = GetBasePICTid( mPICT ) + item - 1;

DoUpdate() starts the update process by calling BeginUpdate(), loads the current PICT, then calls DrawPictInWindow() before calling EndUpdate().

/* 33 */
void  DoUpdate( WindowPtr window )
 BeginUpdate( window );
 pic = GetPicture( gCurPICTid );

 if ( pic == NULL )
 SysBeep( 20 );  /* Couldn't load PICT */
 DrawPictInWindow( pic, FrontWindow() );
 EndUpdate( window );

DrawPictInWindow() centers the picture in the window, then draws it.

/* 34 */
void  DrawPictInWindow( PicHandle pic, WindowPtr window )
 Rect   pictRect, windRect;
 pictRect = (**pic).picFrame;
 windRect = window->portRect;
 OffsetRect( &pictRect, windRect.left - pictRect.left,  -;
 OffsetRect( &pictRect,(windRect.right - pictRect.right)/2,
   (windRect.bottom - pictRect.bottom)/2);
 DrawPicture( pic, &pictRect );

GetBasePICTid() loads the appropriate ‘long’ resource, returning the first two bytes of the four bytes retrieved.

/* 35 */
short GetBasePICTid( short menuID )
 Handle longHandle;
 long retrievedLong;
 longHandle = GetResource( 'long', menuID ); 
 retrievedLong = (*((long *)(*longHandle)));
 return( HiWord( retrievedLong ) );

Till Next Month

This is an incredibly busy month for me. Between MacWorld in DC, Ultimate Mac Programming (still due in August), and the World-Wide Developer’s Conference, I’ve definitely got my hands full. Not to worry, though. With all that’s going on, I’ll definitely have a lot of great material to draw from for next month’s column. See you in a month...


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*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
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