TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Staged Alerts
Volume Number:2
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Basic School

ResEdit Creates Staged Alerts for Basic

By Dave Kelly, Editorial Board

Alerts and MS Basic

Let's talk about how to set up your own Alerts. For any of you that are not sure what alerts are, just pull down the 'About' menu from just about any application. The dialog box in an 'About' menu item is a form of an alert that usually gives information about who wrote the application. For Macintosh programmers who are experienced in C or Pascal or other languages with Toolbox access, Alerts are probably old hat. MS BASIC programs have traditionally been using one of four regular windows for Alerts with the simulated Alert itself being controlled by programming within the BASIC program instead of by the Toolbox.

User Modified Programs

One feature not found on other computers is the ability to modify or customize the text, menus etc. after the program is written. This ability is only found in programs that use resources to store the menu, window, dialog or alert information. Therefore, since you must set up the information inside the BASIC program when using MS Basic, you must rewrite that section of BASIC code in order to change the information. For example, to change a menu from English to French would require that you translate each MENU command to French and modify each program line. That's not too hard to do, and not necessary very often, but still a disadvantage over other Mac languages.

How many times have you tried to figure out what size window you need in your program and have to guess at what the window coordinates are on the screen and then guess where the controls will be inside the window? What a pain. I tried to help out several issues of MacTutor back with the Rectangle Sizer program. That was ok, but you still had to use some trial and error till you got everything to look just right. The elegant solution is not to try to create your own custom windows in BASIC, but to create custom Alerts which may be used as often as desired, created much easier using ResEdit. (For a good discussion of Resource Editors, see Joel West's column in the May, 1986 MacTutor.)

CLR ToolLib Gives Access to Alert Resources

MS BASIC alone still has the limitation of having to set up Alerts as windows and simulate Alerts in the windows from Basic. Using the CLR ToolLib, Alerts are called as easily in BASIC as they are in other Toolbox Languages (C, Pascal, etc). Any language which has access to the Toolbox commands can use this column to help them understand Alerts better.

Alerts are probably one of the simplest routines to use. In most programs, you have to process the event in order to tell what selections are made. This is true when you set up your own dialogs (as you must do with MS BASIC). By using Alerts, you let the Toolbox ROM do part of the work for you. The toolbox automatically tracks the movement of the mouse for you and checks to see what controls or edit fields have been accessed.

There are three major kinds of Dialogs:

(1) Alerts

(2) Modal Dialogs

(3) Modeless Dialogs

The lowest level is Alerts, normally used to display error messages or other information. The Alert is always front-most on the screen and the only action which is allowed, takes place in the dialog box. The next level of dialogs are called 'modal dialogs'. In this 'mode', the dialog box will respond to the mouse and the keyboard. The modal dialog also remains frontmost on the screen and the user may dismiss the dialog with the keyboard or the mouse. 'Modeless dialogs' are dialogs which the user may move around on the screen, has a go-away box, and the user can activate other windows (bring to the front). This is the mode supported by MS BASIC except that MS BASIC can't save a set dialog as a resource for repeated use. Instead you have to dedicate one of MS BASIC's four windows (only four windows may be open at one time) to be the desired dialog. [Note: ResEdit is available on the Utilities Disk. See the MacTutor mail order store for information. -Ed.]

How to Use ResEdit

Before we get into how to call the Alerts using CLR Libraries and MS BASIC, let's set up our own custom Alert file using ResEdit. ResEdit is considered the easiest way to set up your own Alert resources. Here's what you do:

Start up ResEdit and either open a current file (the one you want to store your alert in) or open a new file. To open a new file, select NEW from the File menu.

Figure 1

When selecting a new file, you must supply a filename for your file (In the example, the filename is 'MacTutor Alerts'). Next select New to create a new resource in the newly created file. Enter the new Type Name which is the name of the type of resource to be created (see figure 1). In this case we will choose ALRT to create an Alert resource. ResEdit automatically assigns an unused ID number for the Alert. We will use the default in this case which is 2252 (your default ID number will probably be different). After selecting OK, then select NEW from the File menu. A window like that in figure 2 will appear and you can now graphically adjust the position of the Alert box by dragging it around in the window. You may want to wait till the Alert is complete to adjust the final position. The Alert box can be stretched by pointing the mouse about 1/8 inch from the bottom right corner (inside the Alert box) and dragging the corner out to the correct size.

Figure 2

Next toggle the graphics to text by selecting the ALRT menu. Figure 3 allows you to see the actual screen coordinates where the Alert will appear. You can edit these from here by changing top, bottom, left or right. ResID is the DITL (Dialog ITem List) id number. Every alert has an Dialog Item list associated with it which gives information about what is in the Alert. We will create our own DITL resource in a few moments.

Figure 3

The remainder of the window shown in Figure 3 involves staged Alerts. This means that your alerts can be staged to behave differently each time they occur. Up to 4 stages can be defined by selecting the ResEdit controls shown in figure 3. The '2 bold' button will cause item #2 to be the default item (the item shown in bold in the alert box which can be selected automatically with the return key). If not selected then item #1 will be the default (bold) item. The 'drawn' button indicates if the alert will be drawn. If the 'drawn' button is selected in stage 1 and not in stage 2, the alert will be drawn the first time it is called by the application program, but the second time called the alert would not be drawn. The sound is a number from 0 to 3 indicating the number of beeps to sound when the alert is selected. There is also a way to call your own sound routine, but that subject will not be covered here. You can experiment with values of sound (0-3) and run the demo program to see how it works (or write your own).

You can also find out what stage the last alert is currently up to by using the system global called ACount located at &HA9B. You may reset the alert to the first stage by using the system global ACount (use POKE &HA9B, &HFF:POKE &HA9A,&HFF to reset to 0 ). The resource ID of the last alert is found in the system variable ANumber. Use PEEK(&HA9A)*256)+PEEK(&HA9B) to display ANumber. It appears from the demo program included with this column that ANumber doesn't get incremented when the 4th stage is used. ANumber remains a three after the 3rd stage. That's ok, because all subsequent use of the alert will result in the 4th stage condition anyway.

The DITL Resource

To create the DITL resource, close the Alert resource windows back to the MacTutor Alerts window (i. e. leave your file open, but you may want to save what you have done so far by closing the file window also). Now with the MacTutor Alerts window open we again select a new resource by selecting NEW from the File menu. You should see the window of figure 4. Just like the way we created the ALRT resource, select the New Type Name of DITL and select OK.

Figure 4

Now you are ready to create each item of the Dialog ITem List (DITL) resource. Select New to create a new dialog item. An Edit Item window will appear similar to the one in figure 5 (figure 5 is for item #4, our first item will be item #1). Item #1 will be the item to be used as the default (shown in bold when the Alert is displayed) unless Item #2 is selected when setting up the Alert stages, in which case Item #2 will be displayed in bold. Items can be buttons, icons, or pictures. They could also be a special User item which I won't discuss here. Enabled and Disabled refers to whether or not you will be able to dismiss the Alert box by selecting the indicated item. You can change the item location from this window, but by simply closing the window you will see the item appear with grabbers for resizing the item. Note that you may choose to have a picture default to its original picture size to maintain the integrity of the picture from the menu.

Figure 5

Using Pictures or Icons

To use pictures or icons you should enter the Resource ID (as in figure 5) for the Picture or Icon resource to be used. It is common to use the same ID for the picture as for the alert, but you don't have to. Just in case you don't have a picture resource available, one can be created very easily. CLR ToolLib comes with a Scrapbook mover utility which will convert pictures stored in the Scrapbook to PICT files. To use it you may use an existing file or you can create one. You may create one by selecting (similar to what we did back in figure 4) the PICT file type as shown in figure 6.

Figure 6

At this point you can use the Scrapbook Mover (from CLR) to move a picture into the PICT resource. You may already have a PICT resource already that you wish to use. After you have set up your PICT resource with the picture you will use, choose Get Info and change the PICT ID# to the same as the alert we will be using as in figure 7. The important thing is that the ID# in the DITL resource cooresponds to the ID# of the PICT resource to be used. In our demo program we have two of our favorite PICTures in our PICT resource. You will have to provide your own or else use the MacTutor source code disk to use our own PICT resource. Be sure to change the ID numbers in the basic program to match your resources.

Back to the DITL resource for a moment. ResEdit provides the ability to customize your Alerts graphically. You can move each item around to suit the application you are programming. Figure 8 shows the Dialog item list for one of our sample Alerts (used in the demo basic program).

Another item worth mentioning is that in Alerts that contain only a picture, the picture should be the 2nd item or it will be set in bold as the default item. You can either create a dummy unselectable text field as item #1 or you can set the default item to item#2 by changing the staging setup (as in figure 3). You could hide a dialog item by moving it outside of the dialog window range. In figure 9 the cursor is pointing at item #1 which can be hidden from view by going to the Dialog Item List (DITL) and enlarging the window and then dragging the item to a location outside of the dialog window size. Figure 10 shows the Alert box with item#1 hidden outside of the window.

Figure 12 shows the final Alert resource as displayed graphically with ResEdit (See next page). Your custom dialog will be different than this of course.

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

One more thing in conclusion: Select Get Info for the ALRT resource and set the Preload and Purgeable buttons. Preload forces the entire Alert (PICT / ICON, DITL and ALRT resources to allocate memory and be loaded into the heap. The purgeable button lets the alert occupy memory until some other resource needs the memory. The Alert will be copied from the disk when it is first needed and as long as memory is not required for something else, it may be reused if desired. Resources are accessed from MSBASIC with the CLR command: Alert fileRefNum%,type%,id%,item%. Instructions for its use are clearly identified on page 40 of the CLR libraries manual. [Note: The CLR ToolLib is available from the MacTutor Mail Order Store. -Ed.] Setting the Preload and Purgeable buttons is shown below in figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 12

Alert Demo Program

The following MS Basic program demonstrates how Basic, using the CLR ToolLib library, can access a resource file and display an alert. This program opens the ToolLib library file, and the 'MacTutor Alerts' file of resources that we just created using the ResEdit program. Both the ToolLib file and the resource file 'MacTutor Alerts' must be in the same folder as MS Basic as the program below is written. If you want either file in another folder, you must specify the complete path file name so the files can be found. Otherwise, Basic defaults the path name to the folder where it found the Basic interpreter.

The first alert is the MacTutor icon box with the three choices about reading MacTutor. The ID number for this alert is 2252. When we start this alert by calling the subroutine 'doalert', that subroutine actually calls the alert four times. This gives the user an opportunity to click on all three boxes. After each alert, we print the information on the staging status and which button was pressed.

The second alert, ID 12696, displays the MacTutor magazine header, and again, through our 'doalert' subroutine, gets called four times. Each time, the stage of the alert increases, as does the number of beeps. After the fourth call, the alert is finished and the program ends.

' Staged Alerts
'©MacTutor 1986
' by Dave Kelly

WINDOW1,"Alert Staging Demo",(2,40)-(510,340)
LIBRARY "ToolLib"
fileRefNum%=0:item%=0
OpenResFile "MacTutor Alerts",fileRefNum%
' Here comes the first Alert
id%=2252
POKE &HA9B,&HFF:POKE &HA9A,&HFF  'Set stage to 0
GOSUB doalert
' Here comes the second Alert
id%=12696
POKE &HA9B,&HFF:POKE &HA9A,&HFF  'Set stage to 0
GOSUB doalert
' All done with this alert business!
CloseResFile fileRefNum%
LIBRARY CLOSE
END

doalert:
Alert fileRefNum%,0,id%,item%
GOSUB printit
Alert fileRefNum%,0,id%,item%
GOSUB printit
Alert fileRefNum%,0,id%,item%
GOSUB printit
Alert fileRefNum%,0,id%,item%
GOSUB printit
RETURN

printit:
TEXTFONT (4):TEXTSIZE (12) 
LOCATE 15,1
PRINT "Alert ID#";(PEEK(&HA98)*256)+PEEK(&HA99)
PRINT "ITEM#";item%;" was selected."
PRINT "Stage #";(PEEK(&HA9A)*256)+PEEK(&HA9B)
RETURN

REdit Decompiles Resources

The following file is a partial disassembly of 'MacTutor Alerts' file using REdit, the European resource editor. REdit can decompile resource files created by ResEdit into a text file for documentation purposes. Unfortunately, it is not complete as the PICT resources are not de-compiled. [REdit is also available on the Utilities Disk. -Ed.]

MacTutor Alerts.rsrc
Type PICT

     ,2252
*   No format specification available.

     ,12696
*   No format specification available.

     ,15941
*   No format specification available.

     ,17658
*   No format specification available.

Type DITL

     ,2252
5
*   1
BtnItem Enabled
16 184 40 264
Yup!

*   2
BtnItem Enabled
56 184 80 264
Yes

*   3
BtnItem Enabled
96 184 120 264
Absolutely

*   4
PicItem Disabled
40 56 116 120
2252

*   5
StatText Disabled
16 8 32 168
Do you read MacTutor?

     ,12696
2
*   1
BtnItem Enabled
208 225 222 263

*   2
PicItem Enabled
25 27 139 443
12696


Type ALRT

     ,2252 (36)
72 126 210 410
2252
F6D4

     ,12696 (36)
68 20 234 490
12696
7654
 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Tidy Up 5.3.7 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a full-featured duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. Features: Supports Lightroom: it is now possible to search and collect duplicates directly in the Lightroom library. Multiple... Read more
Pinegrow 5.97 - Mockup and design web pa...
Pinegrow (was Pinegrow Web Designer) is desktop app that lets you mockup and design webpages faster with multi-page editing, CSS and LESS styling, and smart components for Bootstrap, Foundation,... Read more
BlueStacks 4.210.0 - Run Android applica...
BlueStacks App Player lets you run your Android apps fast and fullscreen on your Mac. Feature comparison chart How to install Bluestacks on your Mac Go to MacUpdate and click the green "Download"... Read more
WhatsApp 2.2027.10 - Desktop client for...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
Art Text 4.0.1 - $29.99
Art Text is graphic design software specifically tuned for lettering, typography, text mockups and various artistic text effects. Supplied with a great variety of ready to use styles and materials,... Read more
Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 20.2 - Build w...
Dreamweaver CC 2020 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Dreamweaver customer). Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 allows you to... Read more
Adobe Acrobat DC 20.009.20074 - Powerful...
Acrobat DC is available only as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, and can only be installed and/or updated through Adobe's Creative Cloud app. Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud services is... Read more
beaTunes 5.2.10 - Organize your music co...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 8.1.5 - Catalog your di...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Meteorologist 3.4.1 - Popular weather ap...
Meteorologist is a simple interface to weather provided by weather.com. It provides the ability to show the weather in the main menu bar, displaying more detail in a pop-up menu, whose contents are... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Steam Link Spotlight - Disco Elysium
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was Signs of the Sojourner Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here. | Read more »
Distract Yourself With These Great Mobil...
There’s a lot going on right now, and I don’t really feel like trying to write some kind of pithy intro for it. All I’ll say is lots of people have been coming together and helping each other in small ways, and I’m choosing to focus on that as I... | Read more »
Pokemon Go's July Community Day wil...
Pokemon Go developers have announced the details concerning the upcoming Gastly Community Day. This particular event was selected by the players of the game after the Gas Pokemon came in second place after a poll that decided which Pokemon would... | Read more »
Clash Royale: The Road to Legendary Aren...
Supercell recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and their best title, Clash Royale, is as good as it's ever been. Even for lapsed players, returning to the game is as easy as can be. If you want to join us in picking the game back up, we've put... | Read more »
Detective Di is a point-and-click murder...
Detective Di is a point-and-click murder mystery set in Tang Dynasty-era China. You'll take on the role of China's best-known investigator, Di Renjie, as he solves a series of grisly murders that will ultimately lead him on a collision course with... | Read more »
Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is se...
Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, one of Square Enix's many popular mobile RPGs, has announced a plethora of in-game events that are set to take place over the summer. This will include several rewards, Free Multi Draws and more. [Read more] | Read more »
Sphaze is a neat-looking puzzler where y...
Sphaze is a neat-looking puzzler where you'll work to guide robots through increasingly elaborate mazes. It's set in a visually distinct world that's equal parts fantasy and sci-fi, and it's finally launched today for iOS and Android devices. [... | Read more »
Apple Arcade is in trouble
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Apple is disappointed in the performance of Apple Arcade and will be shifting their approach to the service by focusing on games that can retain subscribers and canceling other upcoming releases that don't fit... | Read more »
Pixel Petz, an inventive platform for de...
Pixel Petz has built up a sizeable player base thanks to its layered, easy-to-understand creative tools and friendly social experience. It revolves around designing, trading, and playing with a unique collection of pixel art pets, and it's out now... | Read more »
The King of Fighters Allstar's late...
The King of Fighters ALLSTAR, Netmarble's popular action RPG, has once again been updated with a plethora of new content. This includes battle cards, events and 21 new fighters, which increases the already sizeable roster even more. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

$219 Apple AirPods Pro are back at Verizon, s...
Verizon has Apple AirPods Pro on sale again for a limited time for $219.99 on their online store. Their price is $30 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the lowest price we’ve seen for AirPods Pro. Available... Read more
Apple’s $779 13″ MacBook Air deal returns to...
Apple has clearance, Certified Refurbished, 2019 13″ MacBook Airs available again starting at $779. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a standard Apple one-year warranty, and is... Read more
$200 13″ MacBook Pro discounts are back at Am...
Amazon has 2020 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pros on sale again today for $150-$200 off Apple’s MSRP. Shipping is free. Be sure to purchase the MacBook Pro from Amazon, rather than a third-party seller, and... Read more
Deal Alert! Apple AirPods with Wireless Charg...
Sams Club has Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case on sale on their online store for only $149.98 from July 6, 2020 to July 9, 2020. Their price is $50 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the lowest... Read more
Xfinity Mobile promo: Apple iPhone XS models...
Take $300 off the purchase of any Apple iPhone XS model at Xfinity Mobile while supplies last. Service plan required: – 64GB iPhone XS: $599.99 save $300 – 256GB iPhone XS: $749.99 save $300 – 512GB... Read more
New July 2020 promo at US Cellular: Switch an...
US Cellular has introduced a new July 2020 deal offering free 64GB Apple iPhone 11 smartphones to customers opening a new line of service. No trade-in required, and discounts are applied via monthly... Read more
Apple offers up to $400 Education discount on...
Apple has launched their Back to School promotion for 2020. They will include one free pair Apple AirPods (with charging case) with the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, or iMac Pro (Mac... Read more
July 4th Sale: Woot offers wide range of Macs...
Amazon-owned Woot is blowing out a wide range of Apple Macs and iPads for July 4th staring at $279 and ranging up to just over $1000. Models vary from older iPads and 11″ MacBook Airs to some newer... Read more
Apple Pro Display XDR with Nano-Texture Glass...
Abt Electronics has Apple’s new 32″ Pro Display XDR model with the nano-texture glass in stock and on sale today for up to $144 off MSRP. Shipping is free: – Pro Display XDR (nano-texture glass): $... Read more
New 2020 Mac mini on sale for up to $100 off...
Amazon has Apple’s new 2020 Mac minis on sale today for $40-$100 off MSRP with prices starting at $759. Shipping is free: – 2020 4-Core Mac mini: $759 $40 off MSRP – 2020 6-Core Mac mini: $998.99 $... Read more

Jobs Board

Physical Therapist Assistant - *Apple* Hill...
Physical Therapist Assistant - Apple Hill Rehab - Full Time Tracking Code 62519 Job Description General Summary: Under the direct supervision of a licensed Physical Read more
Operating Room Assistant, *Apple* Hill Surg...
Operating Room Assistant, Apple Hill Surgical Center - Full Time, Day Shift, Monday - Saturday availability required Tracking Code 62363 Job Description Operating Read more
Perioperative RN - ( *Apple* Hill Surgical C...
Perioperative RN - ( Apple Hill Surgical Center) Tracking Code 60593 Job Description Monday - Friday - Full Time Days Possible Saturdays General Summary: Under the Read more
Product Manager, *Apple* Commercial Sales -...
Product Manager, Apple Commercial Sales Austin, TX, US Requisition Number:77652 As an Apple Product Manager for the Commercial Sales team at Insight, you Read more
*Apple* Mac Product Engineer - Barclays (Uni...
Apple Mac EngineerWhippany, NJ Support the development and delivery of solutions, products, and capabilities into the Barclays environment working across technical Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.