Visual Component Framework Documentation
0.9.8What follows is documentation for the main VCF source documentaion page.This document is meant, first of all, as a general introduction to the VCF. It intends to orient you to the basic concepts of how the VCF is designed and how to begin using the features. Here’s what it won’t do: It won’t teach you how to program; nor will it show you details about features of the framework (see the Reference Manual for this information); nor will it present you with step-by-step information about how to build a program. No, this document will paint a “big picture” of what’s going on in the VCF. Enough rambling… now onto the details.
- Understanding the kits of the VCF
- The VCF is organized into a series of kits. Each one is built into a separate library. Here are the main ones:
- ApplicationKit: This kit contains the items directly used in building an application, items like combo boxes, radio buttons, and panels. These are generally GUI-oriented items. If you are developing a standard application, you will use this kit most often.
- FoundationKit: This kit contains items foundational to the features in any application, items like threads, strings, and XML parsers. Without a doubt, this kit will make your application more powerful.
- GraphicsKit: This kit contains items pertaining to the graphics features in any application, items like fonts, lines, and Bezier curves. If you want to add pizzazz to your application, this kit is your best bet.
- HTMLKit: This kit provides for displaying and manipulating HTML via the underlying browser libraries provided by the platform. On Microsoft windows this currently means using the functionality provided by the COM based WebBrowser control and MSHTML DLL.
- InternetKit: This kit provides easy access to common web protocols, namely http and ftp, again, wrapping the platform support that already exists. On Microsoft windows this currently means using the functionality provided by the Urlmon library.
- NetworkKit: This kit contains items pertaining to network interactions in any application, containing items like sockets. If your application demands multi-party interaction, use this kit.
- OpenGLKit: This kit facilitates the display of OpenGL code within an application. If you wish to use three-dimensional graphics, an OpenGLControl will be a good friend.
- RegExKit: This kit add support for using regular expressions within the VCF.
- RemoteObjectKit: This is kit was started as an experiment to determine if the RTTI functions could be used to create a small library suitable for distributed objects, something akin to COM/DCOM but much more practical and easy to use. At this point it is more of a proof of concept - it works, but needs to be revamped before using it for anything more than experiments.
- Using examples to start your application
- A standard download of the VCF will contain an examples directory, replete with basic demonstrations of features of the VCF. If you are completely unaware of how to use a feature, it is best first to consult one of these examples.
If you aren’t sure which example contains a certain item, perform a recursive search through the examples directory with your item’s name. Then open up one of the projects that contains the item.
- Fine-tuning your application via the source manual
- Of course, examples can’t exhaustively demonstrate all of the features of an application. Thus the API is available to facilitate your creative use of the features. To view this, see the Source Manual. The Class List will show a list of the classes.
- Sifting through the functions
- The purpose of each function is designed to be easily understandable and not cryptic. If the class is a control, a paint method will paint the control; you should not call this method as it is called automatically.
Other methods use events. There may be various event-handler methods present in a class. Again, you will usually not access these directly.
A control can be positioned and sized via the setBounds method, or via setLeft, setRight, setTop, setBottom, setWidth, and setHeight methods. These are universally inherited from the base Control class.
Some items use enumerations to specify particular functionalities. You can click on the class name to view a full description of the enumeration. An example from the directory should help you flesh this out.
- Understanding accessories
- If you wish to add event handlers to a control, various delegates are accessible in a class. The delegate names should adequately describe their functionality as distinguished from each other. An EventHandler can be added to each delegate to handle an event occurring at a certain point in the code. There are several types of EventHandlers; you can use the
GenericEventHandleror fetch the specific type of EventHandler for your specific need.
VCF::ListBoxControl *lbc = new VCF::ListBoxControl(); lbc->SelectionChanged += new ListModelEventHandler<ThisClassName>(this, &ThisClassName::onChange, “ThisClassName::onChange”);
Sometimes, a method is available to add events, in lieu of a Delegate.
- Going back to the original source
- If you need to know the exact details of how a function acts, you may access the original source code. Sometimes, you may need to access the specific implementation for your operating system. It will be available in the src/vcf/[KitName]/ directory. Be sure to read the class – header and cxx file – thoroughly so that you understand everything that is going on.
- Suggesting new functionality
- Suppose you wish to change how a function operates, or that you wish to add new functionality to a class. You can change the source code directly to make this happen. You may want to suggest the change in the forums or talk over the change to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily break something.
If you run into trouble, be sure to pose a question in the forums. Chances are that someone will be able to relate to your concern.