Flexible Windows by Jon Ingold Search for other extensions by this author


Download version 15/170131For Inform 7 6M62



Exposes the Glk windows system so authors can completely control the creation and use of windows

Tags glk glulx interface status-line


Chapter: Introduction Flexible Windows allows the Glulx author to construct and fill a series of multiple windows, which can be created and destroyed safely during the course of play. Restarts and restores are all handled properly. Windows can be graphical, text-buffers (like the main window is) or text-grids (in which case, glk calls can be used to place characters anywhere within them). Although Flexible Windows does not supply any rules for using graphical windows beyond the most basic, several can be found in Emily Short's Simple Graphical Window extension. Version 15/160929 of Flexible Windows is compatible with version 10/160929 of Simple Graphical Window. Older versions of these two extensions are not compatible with each other. Flexible Windows requires Alternative Startup Rules by Dannii Willis, Glulx Entry Points by Emily Short, and Glulx Text Effects by Emily Short. Note that Flexible Windows uses the container relation for windows. We'll need to keep this in mind if we iterate through all containers. Chapter: Window Types, Properties, and Styles Section: Window Type Each window is a thing of the kind g-window. There are three types of Glulx window: text buffer, text grid and graphics. A text buffer is a teletype-style stream of text (akin to the main window), a graphics screen cannot accept text but can render images, and a text grid (akin to the status bar) allows for flexible positioning of text characters (for instance, centering text). There are two potential ways to define a window's type. One is to declare it to be of the appropriate kind: The side window is a text buffer g-window. The side window is a text grid g-window. The side window is a graphics g-window. The other way is to set the "type" property to one of g-text-buffer, g-text-grid, or g-graphics. This is useful when we can't use one of the kinds given above. The following statements are true (although they don't actually appear anywhere in the extension): The type of the main window is g-text-buffer. The type of the status window is g-text-grid. Section: Window Position All games start, by default, with a status bar along the top of the screen, and the main window below. Glulx windows are formed from the main window by carving off segments using either horizontal or vertical strokes, with each stroke creating one new window, from which further windows can be cut. This automatically creates a tree-structure for windows, with each new window being sliced from one that came before. The extension refers to this process as "spawning", and you set up your layout of windows by telling the game which window spawns which. The position of each new window is specified using one of four positions: g-placeabove, g-placebelow, g-placeleft and g-placeright. Note that these indicate where the new window will be, rather than the direction of the slice taken. So for example, to create a banner between the main screen and the status, we would write The banner window is a g-window. The main window spawns the banner window. The position of the banner window is g-placeabove. For a more complicated layout, akin to a standard email client, with folder list, contacts, preview and files windows, we would write The contacts pane, folder list and preview window are g-windows. The main window spawns the preview window and the contacts pane. The contacts pane spawns the folder list. The position of the preview window is g-placebelow. The position of the contacts pane is g-placeleft. The position of the folder list is g-placeabove. (Try sketching it out on a piece of paper.) Section: Window Size Once the rough positions of the windows have been decided, the next thing to allocate is their size. This can be done two ways: either by taking a proportional of the window being spawned from (so a 40% slice or a 15% slice), or taking a window of fixed size (in pixels for graphics windows, and in columns/rows for text windows). The proportion to take, or the width of a fixed size side window (equivalently, the height of a top or bottom window) is set using the "measurement" property of the g-window. So we could write The scale method of the side window is g-proportional. The measurement of the side window is 25. The scale method of the banner window is g-fixed-size. The measurement of the banner window is 30. Finally, if we are using proportional windows, we can optionally set a "minimum size" or a "maximum size", which will be used if the proportional size would be outsize those limits. Section: Text Style and Background Color Flexible Windows adds a "window" column to the Table of User Styles found in the Glulx Text Effects extension. We can specify styles for individual windows by continuing the table. The "window" column is for the name of the window; the rest of the columns are described in the Glulx Text Effects documentation. Table of User Styles (continued) window (a g-window) style name (a glulx text style) background color (a text) color (a text) first line indentation (a number) fixed width (a truth state) font weight (a font weight) indentation (a number) italic (a truth state) justification (a text justification) relative size (a number) reversed (a truth state) Note that the "background color" column is for the background color of the text only, not the background color of the entire window. To color the background of the entire window, we instead set the g-window property "background color" to a six-digit web color code (with or without the # symbol): The background color of the side window is "#CCCCFF". If the story will be running in a browser, we'll need to use CSS to set custom colors or styles. See the "Rock Number" section for how to refer to a particular window in CSS. Section: Rock Number Internally, Glulx windows are dynamic objects, created as they are opened. Our g-windows, on the other hand, are static objects. When Flexible Windows opens a window, it gives the window a number, called the "rock number." This rock number serves to identify the dynamic Glk/Glulx window object as the current instantiation of the static g-window object that shares the same rock number. Normally, Flexible Windows will set the rock numbers for all g-windows automatically, and the whole process occurs behind the scenes. There may be times, however, when we want to set a g-window's rock number to a particular value. For example, Quixe, the javascript Glulx interpreter, uses rock numbers to identify windows for styling with CSS. In that system, the CSS for a window with rock number 1010 might look like this: .WindowRock_1010 { background-color: blue; } Rocks should be numbered 200 and above. This extension starts numbering them from 1000. It is customary, though not necessary, to skip 10 when adding a new window; that is, for three windows, we'd have 1000, 1010, and 1020. In fact, this is how Flexible Windows will assign them if we don't intervene. To ensure that a g-window gets a particular rock number, we can set it like so: The rock number of the side window is 245. If we set numbers ending in 5 for our manual rock numbers, we will never conflict with the automated numbering. Chapter: Using Windows Section: Overview This extension provides little in the way of support for graphics windows or text grid windows, both of which can display images and draw shapes in a full range of colours. Text grids can also locate the cursor (so, say, could be used to make a pac-man game). A few useful phrases for text-buffer windows are supplied. Section: Opening a Window To open a window (for instance, our example window named "side window"): open side window The only point to note is that the "open" command will, if necessary, also open any sub-windows required to reach the window you've asked for. So if the side window is a spawn of the banner window, and the banner window is currently not open, the "open side window" command will open both. Section: Closing a Window To close the window: close side window The point above applies here, in reverse: shutting a window will also shut all sub-windows contained by it. Section: Refreshing a Window The refreshing activity is for redrawing windows. We can invoke the refreshing activity like this: refresh side window To refresh all the windows: refresh all windows The refreshing activity will automatically first check if the window is present, focus the window, and clear the window, so we usually won't need to do those things manually. Rules for the refreshing activity should (ideally) be able to reconstruct entirely the contents of the window (otherwise, after an UNDO or a RESTORE, information will be lost): Rule for refreshing the side window (this is the display inventory in side window rule): try taking inventory; Section: Checking if a Window is Present To check the existence of a window at any time, we can test for the g-present property: if side window is g-present if side window is g-unpresent When we refresh a window, this will be done automatically. Section: Focusing a Window To manually move the focus to a particular window: focus side window This is usually not necessary, as focusing is done automatically when we refresh a window. Section: Clearing a Window To manually clear a window: clear side window This is usually not necessary, as clearing is done automatically when we refresh a window. Section: Checking Which Window is in Focus To find out which window is currently in focus, we can check the variable "current focus window": Rule for printing the name of the old book while taking inventory and the current focus window is side window: say "The Meteor, the Stone (etc.)" instead. Section: Turning Off the Status Line By default, Glulx games will incorporate a status line. To turn this off quickly, a use option is provided: Use no status line. Example: * Inventory Window - A simple example showing how to place a side window displaying the player's inventory. *: "Inventory Window" Include Flexible Windows by Jon Ingold. The side window is a text buffer g-window spawned by the main window. The position of the side window is g-placeright. The measurement of the side window is 30. Rule for refreshing the side window: try taking inventory. When play begins: open the side window. Every turn: refresh the side window. The Study is a room. In the study is an old oak desk. On the desk is a Parker pen, a letter, an envelope and twenty dollars. Test me with "take pen/take letter/i/take all".