Layout Composition

Abstract Layout

Most interface toolkits employ the concrete layout model, that is, control positioning in the dialog is absolute in coordinates relative to the upper left corner of the dialogís client area. This makes it easy to position the controls on it by using an interactive tool usually provided with the system. It is also easy to dimension them. Of course, this positioning intrinsically depends on the graphics systemís resolution. Moreover, when the dialog size is altered, the elements remain on the same place, thus generating an empty area below and to the right of the elements. Besides, if the graphics systemís resolution changes, the dialog inevitably will look larger or smaller according to the resolution increase or decrease.

IUP implements an abstract layout concept, in which the positioning of controls is done relatively instead of absolutely. For such, composition elements are necessary for composing the interface elements. They are boxes and fillings invisible to the user, but that play an important part. When the dialog size changes, these containers expand or retract to adjust the positioning of the controls to the new situation.

Watch the codes below. The first one refers to the creation of a dialog for the Microsoft Windows environment using its own resource API. The second uses IUP. Note that, apart from providing the specification greater flexibility, the IUP specification is simpler, though a little larger. In fact, creating a dialog on IUP with several elements will force you to plan your dialog more carefully Ė on the other hand, this will actually make its implementation easier.

 Moreover, this IUP dialog has an indirect advantage: if the user changes its size, the elements (due to being positioned on an abstract layout) are automatically re-positioned horizontally.

The composition elements includes vertical boxes (vbox), horizontal boxes (hbox) and filling (fill). There is also a depth box (zbox) in which layers of elements can be created for the same dialog, and the elements in each layer are only visible when that given layer is active.

in Windows

in IupLua

dialog DIALOG 0, 0, 117, 32
STYLE WS_MINIMIZEBOX | WS_MAXIMIZEBOX |
      WS_CAPTION | WS_SYSMENU |
      WS_THICKFRAME
CAPTION "Title"
BEGIN
    PUSHBUTTON "Ok",IDOK,17,9,33,15
    PUSHBUTTON "Cancel",IDCANCEL,66,9,33,15
END
dialog = iup.dialog
{
  iup.hbox
  {
    iup.fill{},
    iup.button{title="Ok",size="40"}, 
    iup.button{title="Cancel",size="40"},
    iup.fill{}
    ;margin="15x15", gap="10"
  }
  ;title="Title"
}

Now see the same dialog in LED and in C:

in LED

in C

dialog = DIALOG[TITLE="Title"]
(
  HBOX[MARGIN="15x15", GAP="10"]
  (
    FILL(),
    BUTTON[SIZE="40"]("Ok",do_nothing),
    BUTTON[SIZE="40"]("Cancel",do_nothing),
    FILL()
  )
)
dialog = IupSetAttributes(IupDialog
(
  IupSetAttributes(IupHbox
  (
    IupFill(),
    IupSetAttributes(IupButton("Ok", NULL), "SIZE=40"),
    IupSetAttributes(IupButton("Cancel", NULL), "SIZE=40"),
    IupFill(),
    NULL
  ), "MARGIN=15x15, GAP=10")),
), "TITLE=Title")

Following, the abstract layout representation of this dialog:

Layout Hierarchy

Layout Visualization

Dialog
  HBox
    Fill
    Button
    Button
    Fill

layout.gif (2278 bytes)