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Required Events
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:Getting Started

Related Info: Apple Event Mgr

The Required Apple Events

Supporting them is easy

By Dave Mark, MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

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

In last month’s column, I told you about a new class library we’ll be using as the basis for much of the software featured in this column. Ihope to bring you some Sprocket material starting next month. In the meantime, we’ve gotten a lot of requests for some code that handles the four required Apple events. That’s what this month’s column is all about.

The Required Apple Events

In the old days (before System 7), when a user double-clicked on a document, the Finder first looked up the document’s creator and type in its desktop database to figure out which application to launch. It then packaged information about the document (or set of documents if the user double-clicked on more than one) in a data structure, launched the appropriate application and passed the data structure to the application. To access this data structure, the application called the routine CountAppFiles() (to find out how many documents it needs to open or print) then, for each one, it called GetAppFiles() (to get the information necessary to open the file) and either opened or printed the file.

That model is no longer supported in the Power Mac interface files. It’s also way outdated. While existing applications which use the AppFiles method are supported as a compatibility feature of the system, any new code written these days should support the current Apple event scheme. When you mark your application as a modern, with-it application supporting high-level events, launching an application follows a different path. When a user opens a document, the Finder still uses the file’s creator and type to locate the right application to launch, but that’s where the similarity ends. Once the application is launched, the Finder sends it a series of Apple events.

• If the application was launched by itself, with no documents, the Finder sends it an Open Application Apple event. This tells the application to do its standard initialization and assume that no documents were opened. In response to an Open Application Apple event, the application will usually create a new, untitled document.

• If a document or set of documents were used to launch the application, the Finder packages descriptions of the documents in a data structure know as a descriptor, adds the descriptor to an Open Document Apple event, then sends the event to the application. When the application gets an Open Document event, it pulls the list of documents from the event and opens each document.

• If the user asked the Finder to print, rather than open a document or set of documents, the Finder follows the exact same procedure, but sends a Print Document Apple event instead of an Open Document event. In response to a Print Document Apple event, the application prints the document rather than opening it.

• Finally, if the Finder wants an application to quit (perhaps the user selected Shutdown from the Special menu) it sends the application a Quit Application Apple event. When the application gets a quit application event, it does whatever housekeeping it needs to do in preparation for quitting, then sets the global flag that allows it to drop out of the main event loop and exit.

These events are the four required Apple events. As the name implies, your application must handle these events. There are a couple of other situations where your application might receive one of these events.

For starters, any application can package and send an Apple event. If you own a recent copy of QuicKeys, you’ve got everything you need to build and send Apple events. If you install AppleScript, you can use the Script Editor to write scripts that get translated into Apple events. If you make your application recordable (so that the user can record your application’s actions using the Script Editor, or any other Apple event recording application) you’ll wrap all of your program’s actions in individual Apple events. This means that when the user selects Open from the File menu, you’ll send yourself an Open Document Apple event. If the user quits, you’ll send yourself a Quit Application event.

In addition to the events described above, there are other situations in which the Finder will send you one of the four required Apple events. If the user double-clicks on (or otherwise opens) one of your application’s documents, the Finder will package the document in an Open Document Apple event and send the event to your application. The same is true for the Print Document Apple event.

The user can also drag a document onto your application’s icon. If your application is set up to handle that type of document, your application’s icon will invert and, when the user let’s go of the mouse, the Finder will embed the document in an Open Document Apple event and send the event to your application. Note that this technique can be used to launch your application or to request that your application open a document once it is already running.

Apple Event Handlers

Apple events are placed in an event queue, much like the events you already know, love, and process, such as mouseDown, activateEvt, and updateEvt. So far, the events you’ve been handling have all been low-level events, the direct result of a user’s actions. The user uncovers a portion of a window, an updateEvt is generated. The user clicks the mouse button, a mouseDown is generated.

Apple events, on the other hand, are known as high-level events, the result of interprocess communication instead of user-process communication. As you process events retrieved by WaitNextEvent(), you’ll take action based on the value in the event’s what field. If the what field contains the constant updateEvt, you’ll call your update handling routine, etc. If the what field contains the constant kHighLevelEvent, you’ll pass the event to the routine AEProcessAppleEvent():


/* 1 */
switch ( eventPtr->what )
{
 case mouseDown: 
 HandleMouseDown( eventPtr );
 break;
 case keyDown:
 case autoKey:
 theChar = eventPtr->message & charCodeMask;
 if ( (eventPtr->modifiers & cmdKey) != 0 ) 
 HandleMenuChoice( MenuKey( theChar ) );
 break;
 case updateEvt:
 DoUpdate( eventPtr );
 break;
 case kHighLevelEvent:
 AEProcessAppleEvent( eventPtr );
 break;
}

AEProcessAppleEvent() passes the event to the Apple event handler you’ve written specifically for that event. To handle the four required events, you’ll write four Apple event handlers. You’ll install the handlers at initialization time by passing the address of each handler (in the form of a universal-procedure-pointer) to AEInstallEventHandler(). AEProcessAppleEvent() calls your handler for you automatically. Once your handler is installed your work is done.

This Month’s Program: AEHandler

This month’s program, AEHandler, provides a skeleton you can use to add the required Apple events to your own programs. We’ll start off by creating the AEHandler resources. Create a folder called AEHandler in your development folder. Launch ResEdit and create a new file called AEHandler.Π.rsrc in the AEHandler folder.

1) Create an MBAR resource with an ID of 128 containing the MENU IDs 128, 129, and 130.

2) Use the specs in Figure 1 to create three MENU resources with IDs of 128, 129, and 130.

Figure 1. The three MENUs used by AEHandler.

3) Create a WIND resource with an ID of 128, having a top of 41, a left of 3, a bottom of 91, and a right of 303. Use the standard document proc (left-most in a ResEdit editing pane).

4) Copy the standard error alert from one of our previous programs. If you don’t have one, create an ALRT with an ID of 128, a top of 40, left of 40, bottom of 156, and right of 332. Next, create a DITL with an ID of 128 and two items. Item 1 is an OK button with a top of 86, a left of 219, a bottom of 106, and a right of 279. Item 2 is a static text item just like the one shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The static text item for the error alert.

That covers the standard resources. Next come the resources that link specific document types to our application and that tie a set of small and large icons to our application. The Finder uses these resources to display an icon that represents our application in different situations (a large icon when the app is on the desktop, a small icon to display in the right-most corner of the menu bar when our app is front-most). The Finder uses the non-icon resources to update its desktop database.

5) Create a new BNDL resource with a resource ID of 128. When the BNDL editing window appears in ResEdit, select Extended View from the BNDL menu. This gives you access to some additional fields.

6) Put your application’s four-byte signature in the Signature: field. Every time you create a new application, you’ll have to come up with a unique four-byte string unique to your application. To verify that the signature is unique, you’ll need to send it to the AppleLink address DEVSUPPORT. If you don’t have a signature handy, feel free to use mine (DM=a). I’ve registered it for one of my applications but since it’s not an application I distribute, you won’t run into any conflicts.

To register your creator/file types with Apple, you’ll need to fill out a special request form and send it in to the AppleLink address DEVSUPPORT. Here’s where you can find the form:

• AppleLink™ network (Developer Support:Developer Services:Developer Technical Support:Often used DTS Forms:Creator/File Type Form)

• Your monthly Developer CD (Apple Information Resources:Developer Info Assistant:Developer forms:Creator/File Type form)

• Internet: ftp.apple.com (IP address 130.43.2.3) using the path /ftp/dts/mac/registration/.

7) Put 0 in the BNDL’s ID field.

8) Put a copyright string in the © String field. This string will appear in the Finder’s get info window for your application.

9) Select New File Type from the Resource menu. Use the specifications in Figure 3 to fill out the information for the APPL file type. This ties the first row of icons to the application itself. To edit the icons, double-click on the icon area and ResEdit will open an icon family editing window.

Figure 3. The AEHandler BNDL resource.

10) Back in the BNDL editing window, select New File Type again to add a second row of file types to the BNDL window. This time use the specs in Figure 3 to fill out the info for files of type TEXT. By doing this, we’ve told the finder that files with the signature ‘DM=a’ and of type ‘TEXT’ belong to the application AEHandler. Once again, double-click on the icon family to edit the individual icons.

If your application will support file types belonging to other applications, create file type entries in the BNDL resource for them as well, but don’t edit the icons - leave them blank.

In addition, be aware that the Finder uses the file type entries to determine what files can drop launch your application. Right now, the Finder will only let you drop launch files with the signature ‘DM=a’ and of type ‘TEXT’ on AEHandler. To make AEHandler respond to all file types, create a new file type entry with the file type ‘****’. Don’t edit the icons - leave them blank.

11) Save your changes and close the resource file.

12) In ResEdit, create a new resource file called test.text.

13) Select Get Info for test.text from the File menu.

14) When the info window appears, set the file’s type to TEXT and its creator to whatever signature you used (if you used mine, it’s DM=a).

That’s it. Save your changes, quit ResEdit, and let’s create the project.

Creating the AEHandler Project

Pick your favorite development environment and create a new project called AEHandler.Π, saving it in the AEHandler folder. Immediately edit your project type info (In THINK C, select Set Project Type... from the Project menu. In Code Warrior, pick the Project icon in the Preferences dialog). Set the project’s creator to the creator you used (mine was ‘DM=a’). Next, be sure to set the High-Level Event Aware flag in the SIZE resource flags. If you don’t do this, the Apple Event Manager won’t call your handlers!

Next, add either MacTraps or MacOS.lib to your project. Then, create a new source code file, save it as AEHandler.c and add it to your project. Here’s the source code:


/* 2 */
#include <GestaltEqu.h>
#include <AppleEvents.h>

#define kBaseResID 128
#define kErrorALRTid 128
#define kWINDResID 128

#define kVisible true
#define kMoveToFront (WindowPtr)-1L
#define kSleep   60L
#define kNilFilterProc    0L
#define kGestaltMask 1L
#define kKeepInSamePlane  false

#define kWindowStartX20
#define kWindowStartY50

#define mApple   kBaseResID
#define iAbout   1

#define mFile    kBaseResID+1
#define iClose   1
#define iQuit    3


Globals

Boolean gDone;
short   gNewWindowX = kWindowStartX,
 gNewWindowY = kWindowStartY;

Functions

void    ToolboxInit( void );
void    MenuBarInit( void );
void    AEInit( void );
void    AEInstallHandlers( void );
pascal OSErr DoOpenApp(   AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon );
pascal OSErr DoOpenDoc(   AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon );
OSErr CheckForRequiredParams( AppleEvent *event );
pascal OSErr DoPrintDoc(  AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon );
pascal OSErr DoQuitApp(   AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon );
void    OpenDocument( FSSpec *fileSpecPtr );
WindowPtr CreateWindow( Str255 name );
void    DoCloseWindow( WindowPtr window );
void    EventLoop( void );
void    DoEvent( EventRecord *eventPtr );
void    HandleMouseDown( EventRecord *eventPtr );
void    HandleMenuChoice( long menuChoice );
void    HandleAppleChoice( short item );
void    HandleFileChoice( short item );
void    DoUpdate( EventRecord *eventPtr );
void    DoError( Str255 errorString );


main
void  main( void )
{
 ToolboxInit();
 MenuBarInit();
 AEInit();
 
 EventLoop();
}


ToolboxInit

void  ToolboxInit( void )
{
 InitGraf( &qd.thePort );
 InitFonts();
 InitWindows();
 InitMenus();
 TEInit();
 InitDialogs( 0L );
 InitCursor();
}


MenuBarInit
void  MenuBarInit( void )
{
 Handle menuBar;
 MenuHandle menu;
 
 menuBar = GetNewMBar( kBaseResID );
 
 if ( menuBar == NULL )
 DoError( "\pCouldn't load the MBAR resource..." );
 
 SetMenuBar( menuBar );

 menu = GetMHandle( mApple );

 AddResMenu( menu, 'DRVR' );
 
 DrawMenuBar();
}


AEInit
void  AEInit( void )
{
 OSErr  err;
 long feature;
 
 err = Gestalt( gestaltAppleEventsAttr, &feature );
 
 if ( err != noErr )
 DoError( "\pError returned by Gestalt!" );
 
 if (   !( feature 
 & ( kGestaltMask << gestaltAppleEventsPresent ) ) )
 DoError("\pThis configuration does not support Apple events...");
 
 AEInstallHandlers();
}


AEInstallHandlers
void  AEInstallHandlers( void )
{
 OSErr  err;
 
 err = AEInstallEventHandler( kCoreEventClass, 
 kAEOpenApplication,
 NewAEEventHandlerProc( DoOpenApp ), 0L, false );
 
 if ( err != noErr )
 DoError( "\pError installing 'oapp' handler..." );
 
 err = AEInstallEventHandler( kCoreEventClass, 
 kAEOpenDocuments,
 NewAEEventHandlerProc( DoOpenDoc ), 0L, false );
 
 if ( err != noErr )
 DoError( "\pError installing 'odoc' handler..." );
 
 err = AEInstallEventHandler( kCoreEventClass, 
 kAEPrintDocuments,
 NewAEEventHandlerProc( DoPrintDoc ), 0L, false );
 
 if ( err != noErr )
 DoError( "\pError installing 'pdoc' handler..." );
 
 err = AEInstallEventHandler( kCoreEventClass, 
 kAEQuitApplication,
 NewAEEventHandlerProc( DoQuitApp ), 0L, false );
 
 if ( err != noErr )
 DoError( "\pError installing 'quit' handler..." );
}


DoOpenApp

pascal OSErrDoOpenApp( AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon )
{
 OpenDocument( nil );
 
 return noErr;
}


DoOpenDoc

pascal OSErrDoOpenDoc( AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon )
{
 OSErr  err;
 FSSpec fileSpec;
 long   i, numDocs;
 DescType returnedType;
 AEKeywordkeywd;
 Size   actualSize;
 AEDescList docList = { typeNull, nil };

 // get the direct parameter--a descriptor list--and put
 // it into docList
 err = AEGetParamDesc( event, keyDirectObject,
 typeAEList, &docList);

 // check for missing required parameters
 err = CheckForRequiredParams( event );
 if ( err )
 {
 // an error occurred:  do the necessary error handling
 err = AEDisposeDesc( &docList );
 return err;
 }

 // count the number of descriptor records in the list
 // should be at least 1 since we got called and no error
 err = AECountItems( &docList, &numDocs );
 
 if ( err )
 {
 // an error occurred:  do the necessary error handling
 err = AEDisposeDesc( &docList );
 return err;
 }

 // now get each descriptor record from the list, coerce
 // the returned data to an FSSpec record, and open the
 // associated file
 for ( i=1; i<=numDocs; i++ )
 {
 err = AEGetNthPtr( &docList, i, typeFSS, &keywd,
 &returnedType, (Ptr)&fileSpec,
 sizeof( fileSpec ), &actualSize );

 OpenDocument( &fileSpec );
 }

 err = AEDisposeDesc( &docList );

 return err;
}


CheckForRequiredParams

OSErr CheckForRequiredParams( AppleEvent *event )
{
 DescType returnedType;
 Size   actualSize;
 OSErr  err;

 err = AEGetAttributePtr( event, keyMissedKeywordAttr,
 typeWildCard, &returnedType,
 nil, 0, &actualSize);

 if ( err == errAEDescNotFound ) // you got all the required
 //parameters
 return noErr;
 else
 if ( err == noErr )      // you missed a required parameter
 return errAEParamMissed;
 else   // the call to AEGetAttributePtr failed
 return err;
}


DoPrintDoc

pascal OSErrDoPrintDoc(   AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon )
{
 return noErr;
}

DoQuitApp
pascal OSErrDoQuitApp(  AppleEvent *event, 
 AppleEvent *reply, long refcon )
{
 SysBeep( 20 );
 gDone = true;
 
 return noErr;
}

OpenDocument

void  OpenDocument( FSSpec *fileSpecPtr )
{
 WindowPtrwindow;
 
 if ( fileSpecPtr == nil )
 window = CreateWindow( "\p<Untitled>" );
 else
 window = CreateWindow( fileSpecPtr->name );
}


CreateWindow

WindowPtr CreateWindow( Str255 name )
{
 WindowPtrwindow;
 short  windowWidth, windowHeight;
 
 window = GetNewWindow( kWINDResID, nil, kMoveToFront );
 
 SetWTitle( window, name );
 
 MoveWindow( window, gNewWindowX, gNewWindowY, 
  kKeepInSamePlane );
 
 gNewWindowX += 20;
 windowWidth = window->portRect.right 
 - window->portRect.left;
 
 if ( gNewWindowX + windowWidth > qd.screenBits.bounds.right )
 {
 gNewWindowX = kWindowStartX;
 gNewWindowY = kWindowStartY;
 }
 
 gNewWindowY += 20;
 windowHeight = window->portRect.bottom 
 - window->portRect.top;
 
 if ( gNewWindowY + windowHeight > 
 qd.screenBits.bounds.bottom )
 {
 gNewWindowX = kWindowStartX;
 gNewWindowY = kWindowStartY;
 }
 
 ShowWindow( window );
 SetPort( window );
 
 return window;
}


DoCloseWindow

void  DoCloseWindow( WindowPtr window )
{
 if ( window != nil )
 DisposeWindow( window );
}


EventLoop

void  EventLoop( void )
{
 EventRecordevent;
 
 gDone = false;
 while ( gDone == false )
 {
 if ( WaitNextEvent( everyEvent, &event, kSleep, nil ) )
 DoEvent( &event );
 }
}



DoEvent

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


HandleMouseDown

void  HandleMouseDown( EventRecord *eventPtr )
{
 WindowPtrwindow;
 short  thePart;
 long   menuChoice;
 
 thePart = FindWindow( eventPtr->where, &window );
 
 switch ( thePart )
 {
 case inMenuBar:
 menuChoice = MenuSelect( eventPtr->where );
 HandleMenuChoice( menuChoice );
 break;
 case inSysWindow : 
 SystemClick( eventPtr, window );
 break;
 case inGoAway:
 if ( TrackGoAway( window, eventPtr->where ) )
 DoCloseWindow( window );
 break;
 case inContent:
 SelectWindow( window );
 break;
 case inDrag : 
 DragWindow( window, eventPtr->where, &qd.screenBits.bounds );
 break;
 }
}


HandleMenuChoice

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


HandleAppleChoice

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

HandleFileChoice

void  HandleFileChoice( short item )
{
 switch ( item )
 {
 case iClose:
 DoCloseWindow( FrontWindow() );
 break;
 case iQuit:
 gDone = true;
 break;
 }
}


DoUpdate

void  DoUpdate( EventRecord *eventPtr )
{
 WindowPtrwindow;
 
 window = (WindowPtr)eventPtr->message;
 
 BeginUpdate(window);
 EndUpdate(window);
}


DoError

void  DoError( Str255 errorString )
{
 ParamText( errorString, "\p", "\p", "\p" );
 
 StopAlert( kErrorALRTid, kNilFilterProc );
 
 ExitToShell();
}

Running AEHandler

Save your code, then build AEHandler as an application (In MetroWerks, just run the application) and then run it. An untitled window should appear. If it didn’t, go back and check your SIZE resource to make sure the High-Level-Event Aware flag is set.

As you look through the code, you’ll see that the untitled window is created by the Open Application handler. Now double click on the file test.text. A window titled test.text should appear. This window was created by the Open Documents handler.

With AEHandler still running, go into the Finder and select Shutdown from the Special menu. The Finder should bring AEHandler to the front and send it a Quit Application Apple event. Our Quit Application handler beeps once then sets gDone to true. When you quit normally, you won’t hear this beep.

Till Next Month

Hopefully, next month will bring the first Sprocket column. Till then, read up on the Apple Event Manager. Play around with the AEHandler code. Add some code to the Open Document handler to open the specified file and display info about the file in its window (maybe the file’s size). If you are interested in learning more about Apple events, check out the first few chapters of Ultimate Mac Programming, due out in January from IDG Books. See you next month

 
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Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
$250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Retina Ma...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2249, $250 off... Read more
More iPad Upgrade Musings – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
Much discussed recently, what with Apple reporting iPad sales shrinkage over two consecutive quarters, is that it had apparently been widely assumed that tablet users would follow a two-year hardware... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $999.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $100 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... 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
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full 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
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