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To design and develop a menu.



Palm OS gives the user the opportunity to tap on a menu button (or on the menu bar on top of the screen). A menu is made of submenus, themselves made of items. Each items gives access to a particular functionality of the application. A developer is completely free to organize those submenus and items. However, it is a good idea to follow certain implicit standards, such as having an Edit menu containing Cut/Copy/Paste, an Options menu containing Help/About...

Defining the menu

The menu, its submenus and items will be defined in our .rcp file with the following structure: MENU contains PULLDOWNs that contain MENUITEMs and some SEPARATORs. Here, we have 2 submenus (Edit and Options):

MENU ID MainMenu
    MENUITEM "Cut" ID MainEditCutCmd "X"
    MENUITEM "Copy" ID MainEditCopyCmd "C"
    MENUITEM "Paste" ID MainEditPasteCmd "V"
    MENUITEM "Select All" ID MainEditSelectAllCmd "S"
PULLDOWN "Options"
    MENUITEM "Help" ID MainOptionsHelpCmd "H"
    MENUITEM "About" ID MainOptionsAboutCmd "A"


The menu resource we defined in the .rcp file will communicate with our app thru events and IDs. If you took the tutorial on forms, you probably remember that this kind of IDs have to be defined in a .h file that's #included by both the .rcp and .c components of the app. Menus have to follow that rule as well:

#define MainMenu             1000
#define MainEditCutCmd       1011
#define MainEditCopyCmd      1012
#define MainEditPasteCmd     1013
#define MainEditSelectAllCmd 1014
#define MainOptionsHelpCmd   1020
#define MainOptionsAboutCmd  1021

Writing code that handles menu events

When the user taps on the menu bar (or on the menu button on the silkscreen), Palm OS sends a menuEvent to the application, that has the responsibility to handle it and take action. The ID of the MENUITEM on which the user tapped is attached to the event, in event->data.menu.itemID, so that the app just needs to execute the piece of code corresponding to the functionality requested by the user.

Here's how we could code a handler for the above menu:

switch (event->data.menu.itemID)
  case MainEditCutCmd:
  case MainEditCopyCmd:
  case MainEditPasteCmd:
  case MainEditSelectAllCmd:
  case MainOptionsHelpCmd:
  case MainOptionsAboutCmd:

This handler is part of the "endless" loop started in PilotMain.


Download the ZIP file.

In menu.h:

  • replace all the question marks with a unique ID
  • It is suggested that those IDs be consecutive and grouped by submenu (starting at 1000 for pulldown "Record", at 1010 for "Edit", at 1020 for "Options")

In menu.rcp:

  • include the .h
  • link the main form with the main menu by adding MENUID MainMenu into the FORM definition
  • add the "Record" pulldown as follows:
    PULLDOWN "Record"
        MENUITEM "Jarrett" ID MainRecord1Cmd "1"
        MENUITEM "Peacock" ID MainRecord2Cmd "2"
        MENUITEM "De Johnette" ID MainRecord3Cmd "3"
        MENUITEM "Terrasson" ID MainRecord4Cmd "4"
        MENUITEM "Pastorius" ID MainRecord5Cmd "5"

In menu.c:

  • include .h file
  • in MainFormHandleEvent(), locate the event switch/case menuEvent block, add MenuEraseStatus(NULL);
  • add the handler for the Edit/Clear command:
    if (fld = GetFocusObjectPtr())
       FldDelete(fld, 0, FldGetTextLength(fld));
  • add the handler for Edit/Copy:
    if (fld = GetFocusObjectPtr())
  • same for Edit/Cut
    if (fld = GetFocusObjectPtr())

  • same for Edit/Paste
    if (fld = GetFocusObjectPtr())

  • same for Edit/Select All
    if (fld = GetFocusObjectPtr())
       FldSetSelection(fld, 0, FldGetTextLength(fld));

  • same for Options/Help
  • same for Options/About
  • In AppEventLoop(), add this:
    if (MenuHandleEvent((void *)0, &event, &error))

Make the app and test it!


Here's the ZIP file.

And here's how the app should like:

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