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

 
AAPL
$97.03
Apple Inc.
-0.16
MSFT
$44.40
Microsoft Corpora
-0.47
GOOG
$593.35
Google Inc.
-2.63

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.0 - Record and enh...
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 with Audio Hijack... Read more
Intermission 1.1.1 - Pause and rewind li...
Intermission allows you to pause and rewind live audio from any application on your Mac. Intermission will buffer up to 3 hours of audio, allowing users to skip through any assortment of audio... Read more
Airfoil 4.8.7 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.8 - Connect...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
xACT 2.30 - Audio compression toolkit. (...
xACT stands for X Aaudio Compression Toolkit, an application that encodes and decodes FLAC, SHN, Monkey’s Audio, TTA, Wavpack, and Apple Lossless files. It also can encode these formats to MP3, AAC... Read more
Firefox 31.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox for Mac 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... Read more
Little Snitch 3.3.3 - Alerts you to outg...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activityAs soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Thunderbird 31.0 - Email client from Moz...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
Together 3.2 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

LEX Goes Free For One Day In Honor of Ne...
LEX Goes Free For One Day In Honor of New Update Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Thomas Was Alone Goes Universal, Slashes...
Thomas Was Alone Goes Universal, Slashes Price to $3.99 Posted by Ellis Spice on July 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Meerkatz Challenge Review
Meerkatz Challenge Review By Jennifer Allen on July 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FONDLY PUZZLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Cute and challenging, Meerkatz Challenge is a fun puzzle game, particularly for fans of... | Read more »
Book Your Appointment with F.E.A.R. this...
Book Your Appointment with F.E.A.R. | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Epic Skater
For all the hate that it gets for being a pastime for slackers, skateboarding really does require a lot of skill. All those flips and spins take real athleticism, and there’s all the jargon to memorize. Fortunately for us less extreme individuals,... | Read more »
Cultures Review
Cultures Review By Jennifer Allen on July 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLOW-PACED EMPIRE BUILDINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Cute it might seem, but Cultures is a bit too slow paced when it comes to those pesky timers to... | Read more »
More Paintings Have Been Added to Paint...
More Paintings Have Been Added to Paint it Back! Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Order of Souls Review
The Order of Souls Review By Campbell Bird on July 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STORY GRINDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Order of Souls is a free-to-play, turn-based RPG with a genre-mixing art style, interesting... | Read more »
Revolution 60 Review
Revolution 60 Review By Jordan Minor on July 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LASS EFFECTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Revolution 60 is a bold, cinematic action game with ambition to spare.   | Read more »
Matter (Photography)
Matter 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Add stunning 3D effects to your photos with real-time shadows and reflections. Export your creations as photos or video loops... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save on 5th generation refurbished iPod touch...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Many, but not all... Read more
What Should Apple’s Next MacBook Priority Be;...
Stabley Times’ Phil Moore says that after expanding its iMac lineup with a new low end model, Apple’s next Mac hardware decision will be how it wants to approach expanding its MacBook lineup as well... Read more
ArtRage For iPhone Painting App Free During C...
ArtRage for iPhone is currently being offered for free (regularly $1.99) during Comic-Con San Diego #SDCC, July 24-27, in celebration of the upcoming ArtRage 4.5 and other 64-bit versions of the... Read more
With The Apple/IBM Alliance, Is The iPad Now...
Almost since the iPad was rolled out in 2010, and especially after Apple made a 128 GB storage configuration available in 2012, there’s been debate over whether the iPad is a serious tool for... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale starting at $799, free s...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display (refurbished) a...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Cycling Ride Pouch...
High end computer case and bag maker WaterField Designs of San Francisco now enters the cycling market with the introduction of the Cycling Ride Pouch – an upscale toolkit with a scratch-free iPhone... Read more
Kingston Digital Ships Large Capacity Near 1T...
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc.,has announced its latest addition to the SSDNow V300 series, the V310. The Kingston SSDNow V310 solid-state... Read more
Apple’s Fiscal Third Quarter Results; Record...
Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014, racking up quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more

Jobs Board

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
Senior Interaction Designer, *Apple* Online...
**Job Summary** Apple is looking for a hands on Senior…will be a key player in designing for the Apple Online Store. The ideal designer will have a Read more
*Apple* Sales Chat Rep - Apple (United State...
…is looking for motivated, outgoing, and tech savvy individuals who want to offer Apple Customers an unparalleled customer experience over chat. At Apple , we believe Read more
Mac Expert - *Apple* Online Store Mexico -...
…MUST be fluent in English and Spanish to be considered for this position At Apple , we believe that hard work, a fun environment, creativity and innovation fuel the Read more
*Apple* Industrial Design CAD Sculptor - App...
**Job Summary** The Apple Industrial Design team is looking for a CAD sculptor/Digital 3D modeler to create high quality CAD models used in the industrial design process Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.