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editres - a dynamic resource editor for X Toolkit applications
editres [ -toolkitoption ... ]
Editres accepts all of the standard X Toolkit command line options (see
X(7)). The order of the command line options is not important.
Editres is a tool that allows users and application developers to view
the full widget hierarchy of any X Toolkit application that speaks the
Editres protocol. In addition, editres will help the user construct
resource specifications, allow the user to apply the resource to the
application and view the results dynamically. Once the user is happy
with a resource specification editres will append the resource string
to the user's X Resources file.
Editres provides a window consisting of the following four areas:
Menu Bar A set of popup menus that allow you full
access to editres's features.
Panner The panner allows a more intuitive way to
scroll the application tree display.
Message Area Displays information to the user about the
action that editres expects of her.
Application Widget Tree This area will be used to display the selected
application's widget tree.
To begin an editres session select the Get Widget Tree menu item from
the command menu. This will change the pointer cursor to cross hair.
You should now select the application you wish look at by clicking on
any of its windows. If this application understands the editres proto-
col then editres will display the application's widget tree in its tree
window. If the application does not understand the editres protocol
editres will inform you of this fact in the message area after a few
Once you have a widget tree you may now select any of the other menu
options. The effect of each of these is described below.
Get Widget Tree
Allows the user to click on any application that speaks the
editres protocol and receive its widget tree.
Refresh Current Widget Tree
Editres only knows about the widgets that exist at the present
time. Many applications create and destroy widgets on the fly.
Selecting this menu item will cause editres to ask the applica-
tion to resend its widget tree, thus updating its information
to the new state of the application.
For example, xman only creates the widgets for its topbox when
it starts up. None of the widgets for the manual page window
are created until the user actually clicks on the Manual Page
button. If you retrieved xman's widget tree before the the
manual page is active, you may wish to refresh the widget tree
after the manual page has been displayed. This will allow you
to also edit the manual page's resources.
Dump Widget Tree to a File
For documenting applications it is often useful to be able to
dump the entire application widget tree to an ASCII file. This
file can then be included in the manual page. When this menu
item is selected a popup dialog is activated. Type the name of
the file in this dialog, and either select okay, or type a car-
riage-return. Editres will now dump the widget tree to this
file. To cancel the file dialog, select the cancel button.
Show Resource Box
This command will popup a resource box for the current applica-
tion. This resource box (described in detail below) will allow
the user to see exactly which resources can be set for the wid-
get that is currently selected in the widget tree display.
Only one widget may be currently selected; if greater or fewer
are selected editres will refuse to pop up the resource box and
put an error message in the Message Area.
This command will popup a simple dialog box for setting an
arbitrary resource on all selected widgets. You must type in
the resource name, as well as the value. You can use the Tab
key to switch between the resource name field the resource
Quit Exits editres.
The Tree menu contains several commands that allow operations to be
performed on the widget tree.
Select Widget in Client
This menu item allows you to select any widget in the applica-
tion; editres will then highlight the corresponding element the
widget tree display. Once this menu item is selected the
pointer cursor will again turn to a crosshair, and you must
click any pointer button in the widget you wish to have dis-
played. Since some widgets are fully obscured by their chil-
dren, it is not possible to get to every widget this way, but
this mechanism does give very useful feedback between the ele-
ments in the widget tree and those in the actual application.
These functions allow the user to select, unselect, or invert
all widgets in the widget tree.
These functions select the immediate parent or children of each
of the currently selected widgets.
These functions select all parents or children of each of the
currently selected widgets. This is a recursive search.
Show Widget Names
Show Class Names
Show Widget Windows
When the tree widget is initially displayed the labels of each
widget in the tree correspond to the widget names. These func-
tions will cause the label of all widgets in the tree to be
changed to show the class name, IDs, or window associated with
each widget in the application. The widget IDs, and windows are
shown as hex numbers.
In addition there are keyboard accelerators for each of the Tree opera-
tions. If the input focus is over an individual widget in the tree,
then that operation will only effect that widget. If the input focus
is in the Tree background it will have exactly the same effect as the
corresponding menu item.
The translation entries shown may be applied to any widget in the
application. If that widget is a child of the Tree widget, then it
will only affect that widget, otherwise it will have the same effect as
the commands in the tree menu.
Flash Active Widgets
This command is the inverse of the Select Widget in Client com-
mand, it will show the user each widget that is currently
selected in the widget tree, by flashing the corresponding wid-
get in the application numFlashes (three by default) times in
Key Option Translation Entry
space Unselect Select(nothing)
w Select Select(widget)
s Select Select(all)
i Invert Select(invert)
c Select Children Select(children)
d Select Descendants Select(descendants)
p Select Parent Select(parent)
a Select Ancestors Select(ancestors)
N Show Widget Names Relabel(name)
C Show Class Names Relabel(class)
I Show Widget IDs Relabel(id)
W Show Widget Windows Relabel(window)
T Toggle Widget/Class Name Relabel(toggle)
Clicking button 1 on a widget adds it to the set of selected
widgets. Clicking button 2 on a widget deselects all other wid-
gets and then selects just that widget. Clicking button 3 on a
widget toggles its label between the widget's instance name the
widget's class name.
USING THE RESOURCE BOX
The resource box contains five different areas. Each of the areas, as
they appear on the screen, from top to bottom will be discussed.
The Resource Line
This area at the top of the resource box shows the current
resource name exactly as it would appear if you were to save it
to a file or apply it.
The Widget Names and Classes
This area allows you to select exactly which widgets this
resource will apply to. The area contains four lines, the first
contains the name of the selected widget and all its ancestors,
and the more restrictive dot (.) separator. The second line
contains less specific the Class names of each widget, and well
as the less restrictive star (*) separator. The third line con-
tains a set of special buttons called Any Widget which will gen-
eralize this level to match any widget. The last line contains
a set of special buttons called Any Widget Chain which will turn
the single level into something that matches zero or more lev-
The initial state of this area is the most restrictive, using
the resource names and the dot separator. By selecting the
other buttons in this area you can ease the restrictions to
allow more and more widgets to match the specification. The
extreme case is to select all the Any Widget Chain buttons,
which will match every widget in the application. As you
select different buttons the tree display will update to show
you exactly which widgets will be effected by the current
Normal and Constraint Resources
The next area allows you to select the name of the normal or
constraint resources you wish to set. Some widgets may not have
constraint resources, so that area will not appear.
This next area allows you to enter the resource value. This
value should be entered exactly as you would type a line into
your resource file. Thus it should contain no unescaped new-
lines. There are a few special character sequences for this
\n - This will be replaced with a newline.
\### - Where # is any octal digit. This will be replaced with a
single byte that contains this sequence interpreted as an octal
number. For example, a value containing a NULL byte can be
stored by specifying \000.
\<new-line> - This will compress to nothing.
\\ - This will compress to a single backslash.
This area contains several command buttons, described in this
Set Save File
This button allows the user to modify file that the resources
will be saved to. This button will bring up a dialog box that
will ask you for a filename; once the filename has been entered,
either hit carriage-return or click on the okay button. To pop
down the dialog box without changing the save file, click the
Save This button will append the resource line described above to the
end of the current save file. If no save file has been set the
Set Save File dialog box will be popped up to prompt the user
for a filename.
Apply This button attempts to perform a XtSetValues call on all wid-
gets that match the resource line described above. The value
specified is applied directly to all matching widgets. This
behavior is an attempt to give a dynamic feel to the resource
editor. Since this feature allows users to put an application
in states it may not be willing to handle, a hook has been pro-
vided to allow specific applications to block these SetValues
requests (see Blocking Editres Requests below).
Unfortunately due to design constraints imposed on the widgets
by the X Toolkit and the Resource Manager, trying to coerce an
inherently static system into dynamic behavior can cause strange
results. There is no guarantee that the results of an apply
will be the same as what will happen when you save the value and
restart the application. This functionality is provided to try
to give you a rough feel for what your changes will accomplish,
and the results obtained should be considered suspect at best.
Having said that, this is one of the neatest features of
editres, and I strongly suggest that you play with it, and see
what it can do.
Save and Apply
This button combines the Save and Apply actions described above
into one button.
Popdown Resource Box
This button will remove the resource box from the display.
BLOCKING EDITRES REQUESTS
The editres protocol has been built into the Athena Widget set. This
allows all applications that are linked against Xaw to be able to speak
to the resource editor. While this provides great flexibility, and is
a useful tool, it can quite easily be abused. It is therefore possible
for any Xaw application to specify a value for the editresBlock
resource described below, to keep editres from divulging information
about its internals, or to disable the SetValues part of the protocol.
editresBlock (Class EditresBlock)
Specifies which type of blocking this application wishes to
impose on the editres protocol.
The accepted values are:
all Block all requests.
setValues Block all SetValues requests. As this is the only
editres request that actually modifies the application,
this is in effect stating that the application is read-
none Allow all editres requests.
Remember that these resources are set on any Xaw application, not
editres. They allow individual applications to keep all or some of the
requests editres makes from ever succeeding. Of course, editres is
also an Xaw application, so it may also be viewed and modified by
editres (rather recursive, I know), these commands can be blocked by
setting the editresBlock resource on editres itself.
For editres the available application resources are:
numFlashes (Class NumFlashes)
Specifies the number of times the widgets in the application
will be flashed when the Show Active Widgets command in
flashTime (Class FlashTime)
Amount of time between the flashes described above.
flashColor (Class flashColor)
Specifies the color used to flash application widgets. A
bright color should be used that will immediately draw your
attention to the area being flashed, such as red or yellow.
saveResourcesFile (Class SaveResourcesFile)
This is the file the resource line will be append to when the
Save button activated in the resource box.
In order to specify resources, it is useful to know the hierarchy of
the widgets which compose editres. In the notation below, indentation
indicates hierarchical structure. The widget class name is given
first, followed by the widget instance name.
Toggle <name of widget in application>
DISPLAY to get the default host and display number.
to get the name of a resource file that overrides the global
resources stored in the RESOURCE_MANAGER property.
specifies required resources
X(7), xrdb(1), Athena Widget Set
This is a prototype, there are lots of nifty features I would love to
add, but I hope this will give you some ideas about what a resource
editor can do.
Chris D. Peterson, formerly MIT X Consortium
4.5.0 XFree86 EDITRES(1)