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

Backblaze 4.2.0.966 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.6.7beta02 - GUI for OpenVP...
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
calibre 2.65.1 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
jAlbum Pro 13.4 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. You can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly... Read more
jAlbum 13.4 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results - Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Parallels Desktop 12.0.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Firefox 48.0.2 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Apple iOS 9.3.5 - The latest version of...
iOS is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and it’s the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It comes with a collection of apps and features that let you do the everyday things... Read more
Spotify 1.0.36.124. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
Apple iOS 9.3.5 - The latest version of...
iOS is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and it’s the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It comes with a collection of apps and features that let you do the everyday things... Read more

How to get four NFL superstars for your...
Even though you're probably well on your way to building a top notch squad for the new season in Madden NFL Mobile, let's say you could beef it up by adding Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Von Miller, and Todd Gurley to your roster. That's... | Read more »
Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!...
Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! – Multiplayer Sports Game Starring Your Favorite Characters 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Become a soccer superstar with your... | Read more »
NFL Huddle: What's new in Topps NFL...
Can you smell that? It's the scent of pigskin in the air, which either means that cliches be damned, pigs are flying in your neck of the woods, or the new NFL season is right around the corner. [Read more] | Read more »
FarmVille: Tropic Escape tips, tricks, a...
Maybe farming is passé in mobile games now. Ah, but farming -- and doing a lot of a other things too -- in an island paradise might be a little different. At least you can work on your tan and sip some pina coladas while tending to your crops. [... | Read more »
Become the King of Avalon in FunPlus’ la...
King Arthur is dead. Considering the legend dates back to the 5th century, it would be surprising if he wasn’t. But in the context of real-time MMO game King of Avalon: Dragon Warfare, Arthur’s death plunges the kingdom into chaos. Evil sorceress... | Read more »
Nightgate (Games)
Nightgate 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Launch Sale: 25% OFF for a limited time! *** In the year 2398, after a great war, a network of intelligent computers known as... | Read more »
3 best fantasy football apps to get you...
Last season didn't go the way you wanted it to in fantasy football. You were super happy following your drafts or auctions, convinced you had outsmarted everyone. You were all set to hustle on the waiver wire, work out some sweet trades, and make... | Read more »
Pokemon GO update: Take me to your leade...
The Team Leaders in Pokemon GO have had it pretty easy up until now. They show up when players reach level 5, make their cases for joining their respective teams, and that's pretty much it. Light work, as Floyd Mayweather might say. [Read more] | Read more »
Ruismaker FM (Music)
Ruismaker FM 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Following up on the success of Ruismaker, here's her crazy twin-sister, designed for people who want to design their own... | Read more »
Space Marshals 2 (Games)
Space Marshals 2 1.0.15 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0.15 (iTunes) Description: The sci-fi wild west adventure in outer space continues with Space Marshals 2. This tactical top-down shooter puts you in... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Global Tablet Shipments Projected to Increase...
Digitimes’ Jim Hsiao reports that global tablet shipments will increase by 16.3 percent sequentially to reach nearly 47 million units in 2016′s third quarter, but that volume will still be down over... Read more
Apple’s 2016 Back to School promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available start...
Apple has Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2 available starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB Wi-Fi iPad Air 2: $499 - 64GB Wi-Fi iPad... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $961...
Overstock has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $961.63 including free shipping. Their price is $138 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
BookBook Releases SurfacePad, BookBook &...
BookBook has released three new covers just for iPad Pro: SurfacePad, BookBook and BookBook Rutledge Edition. BookBook for iPad Pro is a gorgeous leather case reminiscent of a vintage sketchbook.... Read more
Clean Text 1.0 for iOS Reduces Text Cleanup a...
Apimac today announced availability of Clean Text for iOS, a tool for webmasters, graphic designers, developers and magazine editors to reduce text cleanup and editing time, and also for any iPhone... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for up to $220 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1899 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 and 2015 13″ MacBook Airs now available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 2016 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad mini 2s available for...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad mini 2s for up to $80 off the cost of new minis. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 16GB iPad mini 2 WiFi: $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Seasonal Sales Associate - *Apple* Blossom...
Seasonal Sales Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1001993 Date:August 22, Read more
*Apple* Engineer - Softthink Solutions, Inc....
Job Description:- Proven experience in administering IOS and OSX Apple devices in enterprises - Experience in administering Apple devices in Windows environments Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
# Apple Professional Learning Specialist Job Number: 51234243 Portland, Maine, Maine, United States Posted: Aug. 18, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master do? At Best Buy, our mission is to leverage the unique talents and passions of our employees to inspire, delight, and enrich Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.