editres - a dynamic resource editor for X Toolkit applications
accepts all of the standard X Toolkit command line options (see
). 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
provides a window consisting of the following four areas:
- Menu Bar
- A set of popup menus that allow you full access to
- 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 protocol 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 seconds delay.
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 application to
resend its widget tree, thus updating its information to the new state of
- 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
- 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 carriage-return. Editres will now
dump the widget tree to this file. To cancel the file dialog, select the
- Show Resource Box
- This command will popup a resource box for the current
application. This resource box (described in detail below) will allow the
user to see exactly which resources can be set for the widget 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
- Set Resource
- 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 value field.
- Exits editres.
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
application; 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 displayed. Since some widgets are fully
obscured by their children, it is not possible to get to every widget this
way, but this mechanism does give very useful feedback between the
elements in the widget tree and those in the actual application.
- Select All
- Unselect All
- Invert All
- These functions allow the user to select, unselect, or
invert all widgets in the widget tree.
- Select Children
- Select Parents
- These functions select the immediate parent or children of
each of the currently selected widgets.
- Select Descendants
- Select Ancestors
- 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 IDs
- Show Widget Windows
- When the tree widget is initially displayed the labels of
each widget in the tree correspond to the widget names. These functions
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 operations. 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
- Flash Active Widgets
- This command is the inverse of the Select Widget in
Client command, it will show the user each widget that is currently
selected in the widget tree, by flashing the corresponding widget in the
application numFlashes (three by default) times in the
||Show Widget Names
||Show Class Names
||Show Widget IDs
||Show Widget Windows
||Toggle Widget/Class Name
Clicking button 1 on a widget adds it to the set of selected widgets.
Clicking button 2 on a widget deselects all other widgets 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.
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 contains a set of special
buttons called Any Widget which will generalize 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 levels.
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 resource
- 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.
- Resource Value
- 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 file:
\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.
- Command Area
- This area contains several command buttons, described in
- 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 cancel
- 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.
- This button attempts to perform a XtSetValues call on all
widgets 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 provided 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
- 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
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
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:
- Block all requests.
- 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-only.
- Allow all editres requests.
Remember that these resources are set on any Xaw application, not
. 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
resource on editres itself.
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
- 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>
- 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