TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Rez Is Your Friend

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Tools Of The Trade

Rez is Your Friend

by Marshall Clow
Edited by the MacTech Editorial Staff

What is Rez and why should I care?

What is Rez?

Every Macintosh program is made up of resources. Dialogs, Alerts, String Lists, the list goes on and on. These resources have to be created by the someone, and are part of the program. Every programmer is familiar with ResEdit or Resorcerer, which let you edit resources visually. Fewer programmers know about Rez, the resource compiler.

Rez is a compiler, like a C, Pascal or C++ compiler. It takes text files (usually with the suffix '.r' ) as input, and produces a resource file as output. MPW also ships with DeRez, which takes a resource file and produces a text file that can be input back into Rez. Originally, Rez ran only under MPW, but both Symantec and Metrowerks have shipped versions of Rez as part of their integrated development environments.

In this article, I'm not going to give a tutorial on Rez. Instead, I'm going to concentrate on the reasons that you should be using Rez to manage your resources. A full manual for Rez (and DeRez) can be found in Appendix C of "Building and Managing Programs in MPW, available at ftp://ftp.apple.com/devworld/Tool_Chest/Core_Mac_OS_Tools/MPW_etc./Documentation/MPW_Reference/Bldg%26Mng_Progs_In_MPW.sit.hqx.

A Little History

When first Macintosh development environments shipped (back in 1985), they included a tool called RMaker. (ResEdit didn't appear until late 1985 or early 1986) RMaker (short for Resource Maker), like Rez, was a resource compiler, translating a text file into a resource file. However, RMaker knew about only a few resource types, and was not easily extensible. So, when Apple shipped MPW 1.0 in 1986, they provided a completely new set of resource tools. Rez, DeRez, and RezDet. Joel West wrote an article for this magazine about the new tools in MPW 1.0. See www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.03/03.02/Rez-ervations/index.html for a description of those tools as they appeared in MPW 1.0.

An improved version of Rez shipped with MPW 2.0 in 1988, and Rez 3.0 included support for QuickDraw pictures.

Symantec shipped stand-alone versions of Rez and DeRez (cunningly named SA-Rez and SA-DeRez) with Think C 6, and incorporated Rez into the IDE with the THINK Project Manager 7.0 (68K) and the Symantec Project Manager (PPC).

Metrowerks incorporated Rez into their IDE starting with CodeWarrior 6.

Why Rez?

At this point you are probably asking yourself, "Why should I care about Rez? I do all my resource editing in ResEdit/Resorcerer, why would anyone use Rez?". There are several reasons:

Comments

Since Rez source files are text files, they can contain comments about why a resource contains some information. A change history is another good thing to put here. Unless you have a great memory, you will want to put comments in your resource files so that when you look back a year (or two later), you can tell why this number in a table was changed from a 23 to a 42. Since resource files are binary data, there is no place to put comments there.

Don't underestimate the importance of comments. Would you write code without comments? They have saved me hours (or days!) of debugging on many occasions.

Macros

This is a big feature. Since Rez supports C-style macro processing, you can give symbolic names to your resource types and IDs, and use these definitions in a header file for both your resources and your C/C++ code. Whenever I see a bit of code that says something like:

   h = Get1Resource ( 'Foo!', 234 );

I cringe. I just know that somewhere down the line, someone will need to change the ID of that resource, and they may or may not find all the places that load/use that resource. I use a header file that is shared between my resource files and my source files.

// File Foo.h
#define   kNormalFooResID

// File Foo.c
   h = Get1Resource ( 'Foo!', kNormalFooResID );

// File Foo.r
resource 'Foo!' ( kNormalFooResID, purgeable ) {

If you prefer a less made-up example, here's one that uses familiar resource types:

// File Foo.h
#define   kNoAppleEventsAlert      130

// File Foo.c
   if (( Gestalt( gestaltAppleEventsAttr, &attrs )) != noErr )
      Alert ( kNoAppleEventsAlert, nil );
   else { // normal processing

// File Foo.r
resource 'ALRT' ( kNoAppleEventsAlert ) {
   { 0, 0, 200, 400 },    // bounds for the alert
   kNoAppleEventsAlert,   // the DITL associated with this alert
   {                      // Alert Stages
      OK, visible, silent,
      OK, visible, silent,
      OK, visible, silent,
      OK, visible, silent
   },
   centerMainScreen       // Where to show the alert
   };

resource 'DITL' ( kNoAppleEventsAlert ) {
// Dialog items go here
   };

To renumber the alert, all I have to do is change one line in Foo.h and rebuild. The resources will be renumbered automatically, even the reference to the DITL inside the ALRT resource.

Not convinced yet? Here's another example. Suppose that you want all the buttons in your application to have the same "look". For the sake of argument, let's say that you want them all to have the same height. Using ResEdit or Resorcerer, this is a nightmare, because you would have to go through each and every dialog and find each button, and check (and possibly change) the height of each button, to conform to your standard. Heaven help you if some UI designer or product manager decides that all the buttons need to be two pixels higher (to aid in translation to Urdu, no doubt).

Using Rez, (and a little foresight), it's a one line change!

// File Foo.h
#define   kButtonHeight      20

// File Foo.r
resource 'ALRT' ( kNoAppleEventsAlert ) {
// We've seen this before.....
   };

resource 'DITL' ( kNoAppleEventsAlert ) {{
   {260, 129, 260 + kButtonHeight, 209},
                  Button { enabled, "OK" };
   {260,  40, 260 + kButtonHeight, 120},
                  Button { enabled, "Cancel" };
   {8, 72, 23, 264},            StaticText { disabled, "Hi Mom!" };
   };
   };

When I change the kButtonHeight constant in the header file, all the buttons in the application change to match the new regime.

Of course, you can extend this for button widths, height and widths of other items.

Extensibility

Rez is extensible, i.e, you can write resource definitions for you own resource types. In fact, Rez comes with a set of header files that define the structure of all the common Mac resources types; Rez does not have any "built-in" resource types. It does have a set of built-in types that you can use as fields in your resources, such as bytes, 16 and 32 bit integers, C and Pascal-style strings, and a few others. Here's an example of a C struct definition and a corresponding Rez definition:

// In a header file
struct FooListEntry {
   short   fooIndex;
   short   fooValue;
   };

struct FooResource {
   short   fooVersion;
   short   fooMinorVersion;
   long    fooCount;
   FooListEntry   fooList [ 1 ];
//   Really a list of 'fooCount'
   };

typedef   struct FooResource FooResource, *FooResourcePtr,             **FooResourceHandle;

// --------------- Rez ---------------
type 'Foo!' {
   integer;   // fooVersion
   integer;   // minor Version
   long = $$CountOf ( fooList );   // size filled in by Rez
   array fooList {
      integer;      // index
      integer;      // value
      };
   };

// Usage
resource 'Foo!" ( kDefaultFooList ) {
   kCurrentFooVersion, kCurrentFooMinorVersion,
   {
      12, 23;      // See bug #32
      34, 45;
      45, 56;      // 54 was wrong! changed to 56 mtc 07/02/98
      123, 987;
   };
};

In a perfect world, Rez would read C/C++ structure definitions directly, and we wouldn't need to have different definitions for the same data structure. However, a Rez definition specifies exactly how to lay out the bits in the data structure, while C/C++ compilers are allowed considerable leeway in structure alignments and padding. Look at Apple's header files. All those lines that start out '#pragma options align' are there to control structure alignment so that 68K and PowerPC programs can share data structures and data files.

Source and configuration control

There are several source control systems available today. Projector, SourceSafe, SCCS, are CVS are just a few. Most of them handle binary files, but they all handle text files much better. Diffing tools are designed to work on text files. Having your resources in text files makes it much easier to track changes, additions, and deletions of resources.

Batch Processing

Since Rez files are text files, it is easy to generate them from other sources. A long time ago, I worked on a project to print to plotters. We had a database (in Hypercard!) that contained information on a variety of plotters (margins, paper sizes, commands supported, etc.). We had many people gather this information and enter it into the stack. This stack generated a ".r" file that we then compiled.

Today, a great deal of information is contained in databases. Sometimes you have to include information from a database into your application. Most databases have extensive report-writing facilities. It is usually fairly easy to make a database divulge the data that you are interested in formatted in Rez format. This also makes it easy to "refresh" the data in your application, by including up-to-date information as part of the build process. The database could hold anything, from sample data for the user to manipulate to the current structure of your web site.

Translation

One of the main reasons for the existence of resources is to decouple the user interface from the code, thereby making changes (especially translation between languages) easier. When I wrote printer drivers at HP we put all of our literal strings into a single header file, along with comments about how the string was used. When the time came for translation, we sent this single text file to the people doing the translations. They sent us back a translated file, and we built a translated driver. After that, all that was required of the translators was to adjust the layout of the dialogs, to take into account the changed sizes of some of the dialog items. Using this scheme, we were able to ship 12 different language versions of our driver software within 3 weeks of releasing our English version.

When Not to Use Rez

There are some resource types for which Rez is not appropriate. For example, there is no real structure for ICON (or icl8, etc.) resources. They are really just small bitmaps. So a Rez definition of a ICON resource is just a string of hex digits. Icon files are better kept as binary files, and edited with a resource editor. However, you can still have your cake and eat it too; by using Rez to assemble the final resource file. Suppose that you have an icon in a file called "Foo.rsrc", and in that file it is 'ICN#'(128). You can include it using Rez thusly:

include "Foo.rsrc" 'ICN#' ( 128 ) as 'ICN#' ( kFooIcon );

This will include the icon into your output file, while giving it the resource ID that you want (which is defined by a symbolic constant).

Conclusion

Keeping your resources as text files and using a resource compiler has many advantages over using a resource file editor. You can add comments to your resources, use symbolic constants, define your own resource types, and use all the tools that exist for maintaining and manipulating text files. The next time you find yourself reaching for ResEdit or Resorcerer, consider a third option. Sometimes the old tricks work best, and often Rez is the right tool.

Bibliography and References

West, Joel. "No Rez-ervations Needed!". MacTech Magazine (formerly MacTutor) 3:2 (February 1986).


Marshall Clow is a programmer. He has worked for Palomar Software, Hewlett-Packard, and Aladdin Systems. Among other things, he has written PICT Detective, Aladdin's Resource Compression Toolkit, and way too many resource processing tools. He currently works for Adobe Systems, where his title is "Bad Influence". When he's not coding, he can be found mountain biking or checking out micro breweries. He can be reached at mclow@mailhost2.csusm.edu

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Brackets 1.9.0 - Open Source Web design...
Brackets is an Open-Source editor for Web design and development built on top of Web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The project was created and is maintained by Adobe, and is... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.3.4 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.7.1a - GUI for OpenVPN.
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.3.5721 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
BBEdit 11.6.6 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
BBEdit 11.6.6 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Brackets 1.9.0 - Open Source Web design...
Brackets is an Open-Source editor for Web design and development built on top of Web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The project was created and is maintained by Adobe, and is... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.3.4 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.7.1a - GUI for OpenVPN.
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.3.5721 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Clash of Clans' gets a huge new upd...
Clash of Clans just got a massive new update, and that's not hyperbole. The update easily tacks on a whole new game's worth of content to the hit base building game. In the update, that mysterious boat on the edge of the map has been repaired and... | Read more »
Thimbleweed Park officially headed to iO...
Welp, it's official. Thimbleweed Park will be getting a mobile version. After lots of wondering and speculation, the developers confirmed it today. Thimbleweed Park will be available on both iOS and Android sometime in the near future. There's no... | Read more »
Pokémon GO might be getting legendaries...
The long-awaited legendary Pokémon may soon be coming to Pokémon GO at long last. Data miners have already discovered that the legendary birds, Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos are already in the game, it’s just a matter of time. [Read more] | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
If you’ve got the Monday blues we have just the thing to cheer you up. The week is shaping up to be a spectacular one for sales. We’ve got a bunch of well-loved indie games at discounted prices this week along with a few that are a little more... | Read more »
Honor 8 Pro, a great choice for gamers
Honor is making strides to bring its brand to the forefront of mobile gaming with its latest phone, the Honor 8 Pro. The Pro sets itself apart from its predecessor, the Honor 8, with a host of premium updates that boost the device’s graphical and... | Read more »
The 4 best outdoor adventure apps
Now that we're well into the pleasant, warmer months, it's time to start making the most of the great outdoors. Spring and summer are ideal times for a bit of trekking or exploration. You don't have to go it alone, though. There are plenty of... | Read more »
Things 3 (Productivity)
Things 3 3.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $7.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Meet the all-new Things! A complete rethinking of the original, award-winning task manager – with a perfect balance between... | Read more »
Oddball mash-up Arkanoid vs Space Invade...
In a move no one was really expecting, Square Enix has put forth an Arkanoid/Space Invaders mash-up aptly titled Arkanoid vs Space Invaders. The game launched today on both iOS and Android and the reviews are actually quite good. [Read more] | Read more »
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders (Games)
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LAUNCH SALE: GET THE GAME AT 20% OFF! Two of the most iconic classic games ever made meet in Arkanoid vs Space... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
Things got off to a bit of a slow start this week, but as we steadily creep towards Friday a bunch of great games have started cropping up. If you're looking for a quality new release to play this weekend, we've got you covered. Here's a handy... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

touchbyte Releases PhotoSync 3.2 for iOS With...
Hamburg, Germany based touchbyte has announced the release of PhotoSync 3.2 for iOS, a major upgrade to the versatile and powerful app to transfer, backup and share photos and videos over the air.... Read more
Emerson Adds Touchscreen Display and Apple Ho...
Emerson has announced the next evolution of its nationally recognized smart thermostat. The new Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat combines proven smarthome technology with a color touchscreen display and... Read more
SurfPro VPN for Mac Protects Data While Offer...
XwaveSoft has announced announce the release and immediate availability of SurfPro VPN 1.0, their secure VPN client for macOS. SurfPro VPN allows Mac users to protect their internet traffic from... Read more
13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (... Read more
Tuesday deal: $200 off 27-inch Apple iMacs
Amazon has select 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP, each including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799 $200 off MSRP Keep an eye on our... Read more
Five To Six Million 10.5-inch iPad Pro Tablet...
Digitimes’ Siu Han and Joseph Tsai report that upstream supply chain shipments for Apple’s new 10.5-inch iPad Pro have been increasing, with monthly shipment volume expected to hit 600,000 units by... Read more
Georgia Tech Students Win Toyota and Net Impa...
Earlier this year, a team of students at Georgia Tech realized that there was a critical gap in transportation services for people who use wheelchairs, and wondered if the solution could be in the... Read more
13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale...
Amazon has the 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLL42LL/A) on sale for $1299.99 including free shipping. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s currently the lowest price available... Read more
Roundup of 15-inch MacBook Pro sale prices, m...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro (MJLQ2LL/A) on sale for $1849 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $150 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Technical Support - Atrilogy (United...
Our direct client is looking for an Apple Technical Support / Apple Help Desk Specialist for a Full Time Direct Hire role in West Los Angeles by Playa Vista, CA Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Director *Apple* Platform, IS Data Manageme...
…a real difference. Come, shine with us! Astellas is announcing a Director Apple Platform, IS Data Management Lead opportunity in Northbrook, IL. Purpose & Scope: Read more
Director *Apple* ERP Integration Lead - Ast...
…make a real difference. Come, shine with us! Astellas is announcing a Director Apple ERP Integration Lead opportunity in Northbrook, IL. Purpose & Scope: This role Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.