The repository provides a development team with a central storage mechanism and access point for commonly used application objects and database-derived widgets. You can easily modify the contents of the repository and propagate changes to all application screens.
In this lesson you learn how to:
You can apply an input filter to a widget so it conforms to specific data requirements, such as restricting the length of data or allowing only numeric input. Or, in the case of a telephone number, apply an edit mask so users have a visual cue as to what format is expected when entering data.
phonesingle line text widget (next to the Phone label) on the
An Edit Mask subproperty appears, where you define the edit mask.
In an edit mask, a character that is preceded by a backslash allows a data character to be entered in this position. A character that has no leading backslash is treated as a literal. For example, the string
(\9\9\9) specifies to display open and close parentheses around three spaces in which the user can only enter digits, such as (
The widget displays
( ) - and accepts only numbers as input.
More About Input Filters
Panther provides built-in input filters to help guide user input and, at the same time, reduce validation requirements. Some input controls include:
You can set properties to enhance specific widgets—for example, using more descriptive label text or using a different font for data entry widgets. The following steps show how to set a variety of properties on different widgets. By setting these properties once in the repository, you ensure that they affect the entire application.
Distrib_namelabel widget on the
This property controls the label that appears within the grid widget.
Dynamic label widgets have a broader scope of properties; therefore, they are more easily manipulated programmatically (more on this in the next lesson).
This property lets the widget resize dynamically according to its label content. If the label changes at runtime, the widget size automatically adjusts. This feature is useful for labels that display a name or date whose length is variable.
Changes made to parent widgets in the repository are visible in child widgets on screens that are open in the editor when the repository entry is saved. To propagate changes to child widgets on other screens, open those screens in the editor, or run the utility binherit to propagate changes as a batch process to all the application's screens.
distributors@[Repository] entry has focus, choose FileSave.
Notice that the mask you added to the
phone widget in the repository entry appears in the phone grid member on the
dstslect.scr screen. Also, the label next to the query field is updated, as is the column title in the grid widget.
More About Inheritance
When you import a table from a database, the text widgets in the resulting repository entry represent columns in the table. These widgets inherit database-related properties from the database. Like the screen wizard, you can use these widgets to build application screens by copying them from repository entry to screen. The result is an inheritance hierarchy of database to repository to screen (and service component). Also, the next time you use the screen wizard, these changes are implemented.
If changes in the database occur such as length specifications, the changed table can be reimported to the repository. These changes are automatically propagated to all application objects that are copies of those repository objects. Also, any custom attributes that you apply to repository objects, such as color, font specification, and validation, can also be defined and propagated to the screens that inherit from these widgets.
Importation and inheritance simplify application maintenance and facilitate the enforcement of a consistent look and feel to an application's interface.
The repository entry closes.
You can modify the behavior established by the screen wizard by writing your own procedure to carry out a particular action. For example, the
dstslect.scr screen acts as a search or query screen for finding distributor records, so you might consider using a different screen for adding new distributors to the database. You can change the way the New button behaves through its control string, so it invokes a procedure that opens another screen for adding new records.
More About Control Strings and Control String Syntax
You can attach actions to widgets, menu items, and specific logical keys through control strings. Control strings are a shorthand notation for doing common tasks:
When the user chooses the New button with this control string, Panther invokes the
send_dst_data procedure and supplies
NEW as an argument. Lesson 9 describes this procedure.
The inheritance link no longer exists for this property, as indicated by the absence of reverse-video display.
More About Flexible Inheritance
You can override inherited values on individual properties. For instance, to enforce application standards, all application widgets can inherit colors and fonts from their parent widgets in the repository, but you can also define a font or validation routine for a child widget that differs from its parent. This breaks the inheritance link for the given property.
To reestablish inheritance for a property, select the property and choose the Inh button on the Properties window.
Create a push button that executes a procedure to send data from this screen to the
dstord.scr screen, which you created in Module 2.
You can create widgets with either the Create menu or the Tool box. The next several steps show how to use the Tool Box.
UNIX Choose ViewTool Box
Windows Choose OptionsConfigure Toolbars. Select Create.
A default-sized push button appears at the cursor position.
The button now has this label:
A push button defined as the Default button can be activated at runtime by pressing Enter.
Attach a control string to the push button so it performs the desired action. At run time, the control string executes when the Order button is clicked—in this case, it calls the
send_dst_data procedure and supplies an argument of
dstslect.scr screen is saved to the
You can copy commonly used objects from a screen to a repository, thereby providing the entire development team with application objects and code and facilitating consistent behavior and appearance across the application. In this case, you copy the Orders push button from the screen to a repository entry. An inheritance link is automatically established between the object and its parent in the repository.
The New Repository Entry dialog box opens.
buttonsas the name of the entry. Choose OK.
An empty window with the name
buttons@[Repository] opens in the workspace.
order_pbpush button on the
dstslect.scrscreen and drag it to the
dstslect.scrscreen and select its
order_pbpush button again. Check the Inherit From property (under Identity). It is now set to inherit its property values from the
buttonsrepository entry (
buttonsrepository entry focus and choose FileSave.
buttons repository entry is saved to the open repository.
You applied global and local changes to specific widgets, performing these tasks:
What did you learn?