WxSmith tutorial: Accessing items in resource

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Warning: Unfinished

Accessing items in resource

Wecome in next tutorial. This time I'll show you how to access items in resource. I'll show you some basics - for example how to read data from text boxes, change labels, and some more advanced things like changing colours and fonts while application is running. As usual we will start with empty application. You shouldn't have any problems with it - all instructions are in first tutorial.

Adding few items we will work on

In this tutorial we will work on items so let's add some:

Wxs tut06 001.png

In this resource wxFlexGridSizer with 2 columns is used as background. In first three rows we have wxStaticText, wxTextCtrl and wxGauge - we will operate on them using buttons on the right column. Below there is wxSlider which will be used to change size of font - I've changed it's Max property to 30 to limit size range. Below there's button which will be used to change colours of some items.

Accessing items through members of resource class

If you add item in editor, in most cases wxSmith will add new member variable into resource's c++ class. All those members are listed inside //(*Declarations ... //*) code blocks. In case of window we crated it should look like this:

class Tutorial_6Frame: public wxFrame

        wxSlider* Slider1;
        wxButton* Button4;
        wxStaticText* StaticText2;
        wxButton* Button1;
        wxGauge* Gauge1;
        wxStaticText* StaticText1;
        wxStaticText* StaticText3;
        wxButton* Button2;
        wxButton* Button3;
        wxStatusBar* StatusBar1;
        wxTextCtrl* TextCtrl1;

Each item which has such member variable will also have following properties:

  • Var name - name of used variable
  • Is member - switch whether this item should be accessible through class member variable

So if you want to change name used to access item, Var name is right property to change.

wxSmith forces few restrictions on variable names. Most obvious is that each variable name must be valid c++ identifier so you can not provide special characters or even spaces. Another limitations is that variable names must be unique. If name is invalid, wxSmith will automatically replace it with name that matches criteria.

Changing label in wxStaticText

Ok, let's do some basic excercise by changing label of first wxStaticText. To do this double click on button next to it to generate event handler and change the code to following thing:

void Tutorial_6Frame::OnButton1Click(wxCommandEvent& event)
    StaticText1->SetLabel(_("Label changed"));

In first line of function body we used SetLabel() function to change text of label. Because length of the text changes, we must recalculate positions which is done by calling Layout() function.

In case of static items (those which can't be changed by user) usually have two functions: GetLabel and SetLabel which read and write content presented by this item.

You may wonder why we used some weird notation for string:

_("Label changed")

instead of simple

"Label changed"

There are two advantages of such approach:

  • By adding _(...) around our string we prepare our application for translation process. wxWidgets can help developing multilanguage applications and when some some different language will be used, it will automatically search for translaction of "Label changed" text in strings database.
  • wxWidgets may be provided in two versions: with unicode support and without it (ansi build). In case of unicode version, we would have to use unicode strings: L"Label changed" and in case of ansi version we would have to use standard string notation: "Label changed". Using _(...) macro grants that no matter what wxWidgets version is used, it will always produce proper code.

There's alternative version of string macro which works simillarily to _(...) which is written in form _T(...) or wxT(...). It works like _() one but the string is never translated.

Reading value from wxTextCtrl

Now let's read something that's written by user. We will use wxTextCtrl (with variable TextCtrl1) for this and show the text using standard message box. Let's double click the Read text button and change the code to following:

void Tutorial_6Frame::OnButton2Click(wxCommandEvent& event)
    wxString Text = TextCtrl1->GetValue();
    wxMessageBox(_("User entered text:\n") + Text);

In the first line we read value from TextCtrl and store it inside variable of type wxString. wxString is wxWidgets implementation of string object and this library uses it as base for string representation.

In the second line we call wxMessageBox function which shows standard message box just like it was modal dialog.

Usually items which provide content entered by user have two member functions: GetValue and SetValue. You can use them to read and write content of such item.

Changing value of wxGauge

Now let's mix reading and writing of item's value on one function. We will use wxGauge for this. We will use it's two member functions: GetValue and SetValue. I've written ealier that those functions usually exist in items where user can enter some value. Well it's not a gold rule and there are exceptions from it like in case of this item :).

Ok, let's add handler for third button:

void Tutorial_6Frame::OnButton3Click(wxCommandEvent& event)
    int NewValue = Gauge1->GetValue()+10;
    if ( NewValue > 100 ) NewValue = 0;

In first line we generate new value of progress by reading current one and adding 10 to it. In second line we prevent the value from getting out of range (by default wxGauge has range set to 0..100 - this can be changed in properties). In third line we write new value into gauge.

Using value from wxSlider to change font size

Now let's do something more advanced. In our resource there's wxSlider and text saying that it changes font size. We will change font of this label. But we will have to update font size in two steps:

  • As long as user draggs the slider we should change font size only
  • When user finishes dragging we should layout window because size of text changes

wxSlider provides two events that can be used right for this purpose. First is EVT_COMMAND_SCROLL_THUMB_TRACK which is fired while dragging the slider. Second is EVT_COMMAND_SCROLL_THUMB_RELEASE which is fired when user finishes dragging.

Because we use events which are not default we would have to add them through properties browser. You can switch between editing standard properties and events by clicking on buttons at the top of browser:

Wxs tut06 002.png.

If you switch to events, search for required events and choose Add new handler from drop-down list. Here's the code for EVT_COMMAND_SCROLL_THUMB_TRACK handler:

void Tutorial_6Frame::OnSlider1CmdScrollThumbTrack(wxScrollEvent& event)
    wxFont Font = StaticText2->GetFont();
    Font.SetPointSize( Slider1->GetValue() );

Here we get font used by StaticText control by using GetFont() function, change font's size by using GetPointSize() and write font back by using SetFont() function. GetFont() and SetFont() are available in most items.


void Tutorial_6Frame::OnSlider1CmdScrollThumbRelease(wxScrollEvent& event)

In the first line we adopt positions of items to new environment just like in case of changing label in wxStaticText. In the second line we recalculate minimal size of the window making sure that all items will have enough space.

Changing item's colour

Last thing we will do in this tutorial is to change colour of some item. As in case of fonts we will change label on the left side of Change button. Since we will use standard event of this button, we can add event handler by double-clicking on it. And here's the code:

void Tutorial_6Frame::OnButton4Click(wxCommandEvent& event)
    wxColour OldColour = StaticText3->GetForegroundColour();
    wxColour NewColour = wxGetColourFromUser(this,OldColour);

    if ( NewColour.IsOk() )

At the beginning we read current colour to variable OldColour. In next lie we call wxGetColourFromUser function which opens dialog where we can choose colour.

The NewColour.IsOk() call is required because if user cancels colour selection it will return false.

At the end we set new colour by using SetForegroundColour function.

More informations

We reached end of this tutorial. I showed only few operations on items and there's much more you can do. For more details you can check wxWidgets' documentation available here.