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Motif FAQ (Part 9 of 9)

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Archive-name: motif-faq/part9
Last-modified: 1 FEB 2002
Posting-Frequency: irregular
Organization: Kenton Lee, X/Motif Consultant,
Version: 8.1

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge

Subject: 293) Why doesn't the Help callback work on some widgets? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: If you press the help key the help callback of the widget with the keyboard focus is called (not the one containing the mouse). You can't get the help callback of a non-keyboard-selectable widget called. To get `context sensitive' help on these, you have to find the mouse, associate its position with a widget and then do the help. The X Resource, Issue 6, has an article on implementing context help in Motif in this manner, that is, using the mouse position to indicate the widget for which context help is desired, as well as using resources to specify the help. The demo program lets you toggle between using the method described in the article and XmTrackingLocate() for comparision purposes. Contributed by: Jay Schmidgall (author of the article mentioned above). Thanks to (Franklin Chen) for correcting the URL.
Subject: 294)* How can I implement "bubble help" or "tool tips" with Motif? [Last modified: Jan 02] Answer: Open Motif 2.2 includes a built-in ToolTips feature. The following material may be of interest to users of earlier versions of Motif. Gary Aviv ( informed this maintainer about the free LiteClue widget from Computer Generation, Inc. ( LiteClue is a widget which pops a one line help message when the user passes the pointer over another "watched" widget. This is known by various names in the industry such as hints, clues, tips, bubble help and balloon help. Technical documentation and source for the LiteClue widget are available from: Ken Lee ( writes: A simple technique is to popup a shell containing your message whenever an enter event occurs (possibly delayed by a timer) and pop it down again after a leave event. David Lewis ( writes: To those resources I should add that the XmHTML sources (HTML parser, browser, etc) have this ToolTip/bubble-help/popup feature, in readily-usable code. In addition, the ICS EnhancementPak widget set ( has both a toolbar with built-in popups for its entries and a small library which adds popup capabilities to any widget.
Subject: 295) Can I specify a widget in a resource file? Answer: This answer, which uses the Xmu library, is due to David Elliott. If the converter is added, then the name of a widget (a string) can be used in resource files, and will be converted to the appropriate widget. This code, which was basically stolen from the Athena Form widget, adds a String to Widget converter. I wrote it as a general routine that I call at the beginning of all of my programs, and made it so I could add other converters as needed (like String to Unit Type ;-). #include <X11/Intrinsic.h> #include <X11/StringDefs.h> #include <Xm/Xm.h> #include <X11/Xmu/Converters.h> #include <X11/IntrinsicP.h> #include <X11/CoreP.h> void setupConverters() { static XtConvertArgRec parentCvtArgs[] = { {XtBaseOffset, (caddr_t)XtOffset(Widget, core.parent), sizeof(Widget)} }; XtAddConverter(XmRString, XmRWindow, XmuCvtStringToWidget, parentCvtArgs, XtNumber(parentCvtArgs)); }
Subject: 296) Why are only some of my translations are being installed? I have a translation table like the following, but only the first ones are getting installed and the rest are ignored. *Text.translations: #override \ Ctrl<Key>a: beginning-of-line() \n\ Ctrl<Key>e: end-of-line() \n\ Ctrl<Key>f: forward-character() \n\ Answer: Most likely, you have a space at the end of one of the lines (the first in this case). Ctrl<Key>a: beginning-of-line() \n\ ^ space here The second backslash in each line is there to protect the real newline character and so you must not follow it with anything other than the newline itself. Otherwise it acts as the end of the resource definition and the remaining lines are not added.
Subject: 297) Can I have separate translations for shifted and unshifted keys? [Last modified: Jan 99] Answer: Alec Flett <> writes: I've got an addition for the motif FAQ that just solved a problem I've been wrestling with for a month - it's really an addition to #303 "Why are only some of my translations being installed?" On certain platforms you cannot use an upper-case key in combination with the Shift modifier. For example, Meta Shift <Key>F: find-in-list() will not always work because the F is capitalized. The reason for this is because some platforms (such as IRIX) distinguish upper case and lowercase keysyms. Using Jamie Zawinski's xkeycaps program (, you will see that on Solaris the "F" key just has one keysym: "F" On IRIX they same key has two: "f" and "F".
Subject: 298) What are these "non-existant passive grab" warnings? When I destroy certain widgets I get a stream of messages Warning: Attempt to remove non-existant passive grab Answer: They are meaningless, and you want to ignore them. Do this (from Kee Hinckley) by installing an XtWarning handler that explicitly looks for them and discards them: static void xtWarnCB(String message) { if (asi_strstr(message, "non-existant passive grab", TRUE)) return; ... They come from Xt, and (W. Scott Meeks): "it's something that the designers of Xt decided the toolkit should do. Unfortunately, Motif winds up putting passive grabs all over the place for the menu system. On the one hand, we want to remove all these grabs when menus get destroyed so that they don't leak memory; on the other hand, it's almost impossible to keep track of all the grabs, so we have a conservative strategy of ungrabbing any place where a grab could have been made and we don't explicitly know that there is no grab. The unfortunate side effect is the little passive grab warning messages. We're trying to clean these up where possible, but there are some new places where the warning is generated. Until we get this completely cleaned up (1.2 maybe), your best bet is probably to use a warning handler."
Subject: 299) How do I have more buttons than three in a MessageBox? I want to have something like a MessageBox (or other widget) with more than three buttons, but with the same nice appearance. [Last modified: Feb 95] Answer: The Motif 1.2 MessageBox widget allows extra buttons to be added after the OK button. Just create the extra buttons as children of the MessageBox. Similarly with the SelectionBox. Pre-Motif 1.2, you have to do one of the following methods. A SelectionBox is created with four buttons, but the fourth (the Apply button) is unmanaged. To manage it get its widget ID via XmSelectionBoxGetChild(parent, XmDIALOG_APPLY_BUTTON) and then XtManage it. Unmanage all of the other bits in the SelectionBox that you don't want. If you want more than four buttons, try two SelectionBoxes (or similar) together in a container, where all of the unwanted parts of the widgets are unmanaged. Alternatively, build your own dialog: /* Written by Dan Heller. Copyright 1991, O'Reilly && Associates. * This program is freely distributable without licensing fees and * is provided without guarantee or warranty expressed or implied. * This program is -not- in the public domain. This program is * taken from the Motif Programming Manual, O'Reilly Volume 6. */ /* action_area.c -- demonstrate how CreateActionArea() can be used * in a real application. Create what would otherwise be identified * as a PromptDialog, only this is of our own creation. As such, * we provide a TextField widget for input. When the user presses * Return, the Ok button is activated. */ #include <Xm/DialogS.h> #include <Xm/PushBG.h> #include <Xm/PushB.h> #include <Xm/LabelG.h> #include <Xm/PanedW.h> #include <Xm/Form.h> #include <Xm/RowColumn.h> #include <Xm/TextF.h> typedef struct { char *label; void (*callback)(); caddr_t data; } ActionAreaItem; static void do_dialog(), close_dialog(), activate_cb(), ok_pushed(), cancel_pushed(), help(); main(argc, argv) int argc; char *argv[]; { Widget toplevel, button; XtAppContext app; toplevel = XtVaAppInitialize(&app, "Demos", NULL, 0, &argc, argv, NULL, NULL); button = XtVaCreateManagedWidget("Push Me", xmPushButtonWidgetClass, toplevel, NULL); XtAddCallback(button, XmNactivateCallback, do_dialog, NULL); XtRealizeWidget(toplevel); XtAppMainLoop(app); } /* callback routine for "Push Me" button. Actually, this represents * a function that could be invoked by any arbitrary callback. Here, * we demonstrate how one can build a standard customized dialog box. * The control area is created here and the action area is created in * a separate, generic routine: CreateActionArea(). */ static void do_dialog(w, file) Widget w; /* will act as dialog's parent */ char *file; { Widget dialog, pane, rc, label, text_w, action_a; XmString string; extern Widget CreateActionArea(); Arg args[10]; static ActionAreaItem action_items[] = { { "Ok", ok_pushed, NULL }, { "Cancel", cancel_pushed, NULL }, { "Close", close_dialog, NULL }, { "Help", help, "Help Button" }, }; /* The DialogShell is the Shell for this dialog. Set it up so * that the "Close" button in the window manager's system menu * destroys the shell (it only unmaps it by default). */ dialog = XtVaCreatePopupShell("dialog", xmDialogShellWidgetClass, XtParent(w), XmNtitle, "Dialog Shell", /* give arbitrary title in wm */ XmNdeleteResponse, XmDESTROY, /* system menu "Close" action */ NULL); /* now that the dialog is created, set the Close button's * client data, so close_dialog() will know what to destroy. */ action_items[2].data = (caddr_t)dialog; /* Create the paned window as a child of the dialog. This will * contain the control area (a Form widget) and the action area * (created by CreateActionArea() using the action_items above). */ pane = XtVaCreateWidget("pane", xmPanedWindowWidgetClass, dialog, XmNsashWidth, 1, XmNsashHeight, 1, NULL); /* create the control area (Form) which contains a * Label gadget and a List widget. */ rc = XtVaCreateWidget("control_area", xmRowColumnWidgetClass, pane, NULL); string = XmStringCreateLocalized("Type Something:"); XtVaCreateManagedWidget("label", xmLabelGadgetClass, rc, XmNlabelString, string, XmNleftAttachment, XmATTACH_FORM, XmNtopAttachment, XmATTACH_FORM, NULL); XmStringFree(string); text_w = XtVaCreateManagedWidget("text-field", xmTextFieldWidgetClass, rc, NULL); /* RowColumn is full -- now manage */ XtManageChild(rc); /* Set the client data "Ok" and "Cancel" button's callbacks. */ action_items[0].data = (caddr_t)text_w; action_items[1].data = (caddr_t)text_w; /* Create the action area -- we don't need the widget it returns. */ action_a = CreateActionArea(pane, action_items, XtNumber(action_items)); /* callback for Return in TextField. Use action_a as client data */ XtAddCallback(text_w, XmNactivateCallback, activate_cb, action_a); XtManageChild(pane); XtPopup(dialog, XtGrabNone); } /*--------------*/ /* The next four functions are the callback routines for the buttons * in the action area for the dialog created above. Again, they are * simple examples, yet they demonstrate the fundamental design approach. */ static void close_dialog(w, shell) Widget w, shell; { XtDestroyWidget(shell); } /* The "ok" button was pushed or the user pressed Return */ static void ok_pushed(w, text_w, cbs) Widget w, text_w; /* the text widget is the client data */ XmAnyCallbackStruct *cbs; { char *text = XmTextFieldGetString(text_w); printf("String = %s0, text); XtFree(text); } static void cancel_pushed(w, text_w, cbs) Widget w, text_w; /* the text field is the client data */ XmAnyCallbackStruct *cbs; { /* cancel the whole operation; reset to NULL. */ XmTextFieldSetString(text_w, ""); } static void help(w, string) Widget w; String string; { puts(string); } /*--------------*/ /* When Return is pressed in TextField widget, respond by getting * the designated "default button" in the action area and activate * it as if the user had selected it. */ static void activate_cb(text_w, client_data, cbs) Widget text_w; /* user pressed Return in this widget */ XtPointer client_data; /* action_area passed as client data */ XmAnyCallbackStruct *cbs; /* borrow the "event" field from this */ { Widget dflt, action_area = (Widget)client_data; XtVaGetValues(action_area, XmNdefaultButton, &dflt, NULL); if (dflt) /* sanity check -- this better work */ /* make the default button think it got pushed. This causes * "ok_pushed" to be called, but XtCallActionProc() causes * the button appear to be activated as if the user selected it. */ XtCallActionProc(dflt, "ArmAndActivate", cbs->event, NULL, 0); } #define TIGHTNESS 20 Widget CreateActionArea(parent, actions, num_actions) Widget parent; ActionAreaItem *actions; int num_actions; { Widget action_area, widget; int i; action_area = XtVaCreateWidget("action_area", xmFormWidgetClass, parent, XmNfractionBase, TIGHTNESS*num_actions - 1, XmNleftOffset, 10, XmNrightOffset, 10, NULL); for (i = 0; i < num_actions; i++) { widget = XtVaCreateManagedWidget(actions[i].label, xmPushButtonWidgetClass, action_area, XmNleftAttachment, i? XmATTACH_POSITION : XmATTACH_FORM, XmNleftPosition, TIGHTNESS*i, XmNtopAttachment, XmATTACH_FORM, XmNbottomAttachment, XmATTACH_FORM, XmNrightAttachment, i != num_actions-1? XmATTACH_POSITION : XmATTACH_FORM, XmNrightPosition, TIGHTNESS*i + (TIGHTNESS-1), XmNshowAsDefault, i == 0, XmNdefaultButtonShadowThickness, 1, NULL); if (actions[i].callback) XtAddCallback(widget, XmNactivateCallback, actions[i].callback, actions[i].data); if (i == 0) { /* Set the action_area's default button to the first widget * created (or, make the index a parameter to the function * or have it be part of the data structure). Also, set the * pane window constraint for max and min heights so this * particular pane in the PanedWindow is not resizable. */ Dimension height, h; XtVaGetValues(action_area, XmNmarginHeight, &h, NULL); XtVaGetValues(widget, XmNheight, &height, NULL); height += 2 * h; XtVaSetValues(action_area, XmNdefaultButton, widget, XmNpaneMaximum, height, XmNpaneMinimum, height, NULL); } } XtManageChild(action_area); return action_area; }
Subject: 300) How do I create a "busy working cursor"? [Last modified: Feb 95] Answer: - in Baudouin's code (following), the idea is to keep in an array an up-to-date list of all shells used in the application, and set for all of them the cursor to a watch or to the default cursor, with the 2 functions provided. - in Dan Heller's code (later), the idea is to turn on the watch cursor for the top-level shell only, popup a working window to possibly abort the callback, and manage some expose events during the callback. - in the FAQ for, the idea is to bring a large window on top of the application, hide all windows below it, and turn on the watch cursor on this large window. Unmapping the large window resets the default cursor, mapping it turns on the watch cursor. Baudouin Raoult ( wrote: void my_SetWatchCursor(w) Widget w; { static Cursor watch = NULL; if(!watch) watch = XCreateFontCursor(XtDisplay(w),XC_watch); XDefineCursor(XtDisplay(w),XtWindow(w),watch); XmUpdateDisplay(w); } void my_ResetCursor(w) Widget w; { XUndefineCursor(XtDisplay(w),XtWindow(w)); XmUpdateDisplay(w); } Answer: A solution with lots of bells and whistles is /* Written by Dan Heller. Copyright 1991, O'Reilly && Associates. * This program is freely distributable without licensing fees and * is provided without guarantee or warrantee expressed or implied. * This program is -not- in the public domain. */ /* busy.c -- demonstrate how to use a WorkingDialog and to process * only "important" events. e.g., those that may interrupt the * task or to repaint widgets for exposure. Set up a simple shell * and a widget that, when pressed, immediately goes into its own * loop. First, "lock" the shell so that a timeout cursor is set on * the shell and pop up a WorkingDialog. Then enter loop ... sleep * for one second ten times, checking between each interval to see * if the user clicked the Stop button or if any widgets need to be * refreshed. Ignore all other events. * * main() and get_busy() are stubs that would be replaced by a real * application; all other functions can be used "as is." */ #include <Xm/MessageB.h> #include <Xm/PushB.h> #include <X11/cursorfont.h> Widget shell; void TimeoutCursors(); Boolean CheckForInterrupt(); main(argc, argv) int argc; char *argv[]; { XtAppContext app; Widget button; XmString label; void get_busy(); shell = XtVaAppInitialize(&app, "Demos", NULL, 0, &argc, argv, NULL, NULL); label = XmStringCreateLocalized( "Boy, is *this* going to take a long time."); button = XtVaCreateManagedWidget("button", xmPushButtonWidgetClass, shell, XmNlabelString, label, NULL); XmStringFree(label); XtAddCallback(button, XmNactivateCallback, get_busy, argv[1]); XtRealizeWidget(shell); XtAppMainLoop(app); } void get_busy(widget) Widget widget; { int n; TimeoutCursors(True, True); for (n = 0; n < 10; n++) { sleep(1); if (CheckForInterrupt()) { puts("Interrupt!"); break; } } if (n == 10) puts("done."); TimeoutCursors(False, NULL); } /* The interesting part of the program -- extract and use at will */ static Boolean stopped; /* True when user wants to stop processing */ static Widget dialog; /* WorkingDialog displayed when timed out */ /* timeout_cursors() turns on the "watch" cursor over the application * to provide feedback for the user that he's going to be waiting * a while before he can interact with the appliation again. */ void TimeoutCursors(on, interruptable) int on, interruptable; { static int locked; static Cursor cursor; extern Widget shell; XSetWindowAttributes attrs; Display *dpy = XtDisplay(shell); XEvent event; Arg args[1]; XmString str; extern void stop(); /* "locked" keeps track if we've already called the function. * This allows recursion and is necessary for most situations. */ on? locked++ : locked--; if (locked > 1 || locked == 1 && on == 0) return; /* already locked and we're not unlocking */ stopped = False; /* doesn't matter at this point; initialize */ if (!cursor) /* make sure the timeout cursor is initialized */ cursor = XCreateFontCursor(dpy, XC_watch); /* if "on" is true, then turn on watch cursor, otherwise, return * the shell's cursor to normal. */ attrs.cursor = on? cursor : None; /* change the main application shell's cursor to be the timeout * cursor (or to reset it to normal). If other shells exist in * this application, they will have to be listed here in order * for them to have timeout cursors too. */ XChangeWindowAttributes(dpy, XtWindow(shell), CWCursor, &attrs); XFlush(dpy); if (on) { /* we're timing out, put up a WorkingDialog. If the process * is interruptable, allow a "Stop" button. Otherwise, remove * all actions so the user can't stop the processing. */ str = XmStringCreateLocalized("Busy. Please Wait."); XtSetArg(args[0], XmNmessageString, str); dialog = XmCreateWorkingDialog(shell, "Busy", args, 1); XmStringFree(str); XtUnmanageChild( XmMessageBoxGetChild(dialog, XmDIALOG_OK_BUTTON)); if (interruptable) { str = XmStringCreateLocalized("Stop"); XtVaSetValues(dialog, XmNcancelLabelString, str, NULL); XmStringFree(str); XtAddCallback(dialog, XmNcancelCallback, stop, NULL); } else XtUnmanageChild( XmMessageBoxGetChild(dialog, XmDIALOG_CANCEL_BUTTON)); XtUnmanageChild( XmMessageBoxGetChild(dialog, XmDIALOG_HELP_BUTTON)); XtManageChild(dialog); } else { /* get rid of all button and keyboard events that occured * during the time out. The user shouldn't have done anything * during this time, so flush for button and keypress events. * KeyRelease events are not discarded because accelerators * require the corresponding release event before normal input * can continue. */ while (XCheckMaskEvent(dpy, ButtonPressMask | ButtonReleaseMask | ButtonMotionMask | PointerMotionMask | KeyPressMask, &event)) { /* do nothing */; } XtDestroyWidget(dialog); } } /* User Pressed the "Stop" button in dialog. */ void stop(dialog) Widget dialog; { stopped = True; } Boolean CheckForInterrupt() { extern Widget shell; Display *dpy = XtDisplay(shell); Window win = XtWindow(dialog); XEvent event; /* Make sure all our requests get to the server */ XFlush(dpy); /* Let motif process all pending exposure events for us. */ XmUpdateDisplay(shell); /* Check the event loop for events in the dialog ("Stop"?) */ while (XCheckMaskEvent(dpy, ButtonPressMask | ButtonReleaseMask | ButtonMotionMask | PointerMotionMask | KeyPressMask | KeyReleaseMask, &event)) { /* got an "interesting" event. */ if (event.xany.window == win) XtDispatchEvent(&event); /* it's in our dialog.. */ else /* uninteresting event--throw it away and sound bell */ XBell(dpy, 50); } return stopped; }
Subject: 301) Can I use the hourglass that mwm uses? [Last modified: March 93] Answer: The hourglass used by mwm is hard-coded into code that is subject to OSF copyright. In Motif 1.2 though, the bitmaps for this and other things (information, no_enter, question, warning, working) were made available. The install process will probably add them to /usr/include/X11/bitmaps. Otherwise, just use the watch cursor XC_watch of the previous question, because that has the same semantics.
Subject: 302) What order should the libraries be linked in? [Last modified: August 92] Answer: At link time, use the library order -lXm -lXt -lX11. There are two reasons for this ( On most systems, the order matters because the linker won't re-scan a library once it is done with it. Thus any references to Xlib calls from Xm will probably be unresolved. The [other] problem is that there are two VendorShell widgets. A dummy is provided in the Xt library, but a widget set will rely on its own being referenced. If you mention Xt first, the linker will choose the wrong one. Motif code will wrongly assume the Motif VendorShell has been class- initialized [and will probably crash]. Xaw has a similar problem, but a softer landing; it only complains about unregistered converters.
Subject: 303) How do I use xmkmf for Motif clients? [Last modified: July 96] Answer: This advice comes from For another answer, see the question immediately following this one ("How do I use imake with Motif 2.0?"). There are a number of intractable problems with using X configuration files and xmkmf, while trying to make it easy to build Motif. Not the least of these, but one I've never heard mentioned yet, is that the rules for contructing the names of shared library macros are machine-dependent, and in the various xxxLib.tmpl files. Do we edit all those files to add definitions for XMLIB, DEPXMLIB, etc., or do we put a maze of #ifdefs into the Motif.tmpl file? Please note that, if you install Motif, it overwrites your installed Imake.tmpl with one that includes Motif.tmpl and Motif.rules. With those caveats, I think the following guidelines will help. David Brooks OSF Clients in the X11R5 release use the xmkmf command to build Makefiles. In general, the xmkmf command cannot be used for Motif clients, because of the need to consider the UseInstalledMotif flag separately. Since xmkmf is a simple script that calls imake, it is easy to construct the proper call to imake using the following rules. In the following, replace {MTOP} by the toplevel directory with the Motif source tree, and {XTOP} by the toplevel ("mit") directory with the X source. It is assumed that the directory containing your installed imake is in your PATH. When needed, the imake variables XTop and MTop are normally set in your site.def (to {XTOP} amd {MTOP} respectively); however they may also be set with additional -D arguments to imake. 1. With both X and Motif in their source trees, ensure the imake variables XTop and MTop are set, and use: ${XTOP}/config/imake -I{MTOP}/config 2. With Motif in its source tree, and X installed, ensure MTop is set, and use: imake -I{MTOP}/config -DUseInstalled 3. With both Motif and X installed, and a nonstandard ProjectRoot (see site.def for an explanation of this), use: imake -DUseInstalled -DUseInstalledMotif -I{ProjectRoot}/lib/X11/config or, if the configuration files are in /usr/lib/X11/config: imake -DUseInstalled -DUseInstalledMotif -I/usr/lib/X11/config [Thanks to Paul DuBois ( for correcting this.] To build a simple Imakefile, remember to include lines like this: LOCAL_LIBRARIES = XmClientLibs DEPLIBS = XmClientDepLibs Or, for a client that uses uil/mrm, replace these by MrmClientLibs and MrmClientDepLibs, and also use: MSimpleUilTarget(program) to build the client and uid file. Look at the demos for more examples. And Paul Howell <> added: i did this, calling the new script "xmmkmf". It passes both -DUseInstalled and -DUseInstalledMotif. and i modified the stock R5 Imake.tmpl to do this: #include <Project.tmpl> #ifdef UseInstalledMotif #include <Motif.tmpl> #endif #include <Imake.rules> #ifdef UseInstalledMotif #include <Motif.rules> #endif the result was something that does both athena and motif rules. and it really works, just that easy!
Subject: 304) How do I use imake with Motif 2.0? [Last modified: July 96] Answer: Paul DuBois (, the author of the O'Reilly and Associates book, Software Portability with imake, recently wrote some notes on the use of imake to configure Motif (2.0). It has some discussion on the roles of UseInstalled and UseInstalledMotif, for instance, which seem to be murky to many people. The document is available at:
Subject: 305) How do I make context sensitive help? The Motif Style Guide says that an application must initiate context-sensitive help by changing the shape of the pointer to the question pointer. When the user moves the pointer to the component help is wanted on and presses BSelect, any available context sensitive help for the component must be presented, and the pointer reverts from the question pointer. [Last modified: August 92] Answer: A widget that gives context sensitive help would place this help in the XmNhelpCallback function. To trigger this function: (from Martin G C Davies, I use the following callback that is called when the "On Context" help pulldown menu is selected. It does the arrow bit and calls the help callbacks for the widget. It also zips up the widget tree looking for help if needs be. I don't restrict the arrows motion so I can get help on dialog boxes. No prizes for guessing what "popup_message" does. static void ContextHelp( Widget w , Opaque * tag , XmAnyCallbackStruct * callback_struct ) { static Cursor context_cursor = NULL ; Widget context_widget ; if ( context_cursor == NULL ) context_cursor = XCreateFontCursor( display, XC_question_arrow ) ; context_widget = XmTrackingLocate( top_level_widget, context_cursor, FALSE ) ; if ( context_widget != NULL ) /* otherwise its not a widget */ { XmAnyCallbackStruct cb ; cb.reason = XmCR_HELP ; cb.event = callback_struct->event ; /* * If there's no help at this widget we'll track back up the hierarchy trying to find some. */ do { if ( ( XtHasCallbacks( context_widget, XmNhelpCallback ) == XtCallbackHasSome ) ) { XtCallCallbacks( context_widget, XmNhelpCallback, & cb ) ; return ; } else context_widget = XtParent( context_widget ) ; } while ( context_widget != NULL ) ; } popup_message( "No context-sensitive help found0or the selected object." ) ; } Dave Bonnett suggested, to use the following translations for XmText (and XmTextField) widgets to get the same help with key strokes, and to provide an accelerator label in the Context help menu entry. MyApp*XmText*translations: #override\n\ <Key>F1: Help() MyApp*Help_menu*Contextual Help.acceleratorText: F1 MyApp*defaultVirtualBindings: osfBackSpace : <Key>Delete\n\ osfRight : <Key>Right\n\ osfLeft : <Key>Left\n\ osfUp : <Key>Up\n\ osfHelp : <Key>F1\n\ osfDown : <Key>Down
Subject: 306) How do I debug a modal interaction? When an application crashes in a modal section (such as in a modal dialog, a menu or when a drag and drop is in action), I cannot access the debugger. [Last modified: January 1993] Answer: Run the debugger on one display while the application writes to another display.
Subject: 307) Why can't I install my own colormap using XInstallColormap? [Last modified: Nov 96] Answer: You shouldn't install the colormap yourself using XInstallColormap. See the ICCCM document for all the reasons. Instead put the colormap as an argument on the Shell widget and the window manager will take care of this. When the colormap is installed, unless you have a display with multiple colormaps, the other windows will go "technicolor" and there is no way around this problem. Thanks to Doug Rand ( Kenton Lee ( adds: Use XtSetWMColormapWindows() to specify non-default colormaps.
Subject: 308) How do I install a private colormap? [Last modified: Jan 96] Answer: Mark Buser ( writes: If you find that your XAllocNamedColor is failing or XpmCreatePixmapFromData is dieing from XpmColorFaileds, you may have exhausted the number of colormap entries. One way to install a new colormap is the following: Toplevel = XtVaAppInitialize ( &app, ... dpy = XtDisplay (Toplevel); cmap = DefaultColormapOfScreen ( XtScreen( Toplevel) ); /* Detect color errors due to colormap depletion */ if (colors_depleted) { cmap = XCopyColormapAndFree ( dpy, cmap ); /* Run through color allocation again to see if ok now */ } /* Install colormap into toplevel widget. This must be done ** before any child widgets are created. */ XtVaSetValues ( Toplevel, XmNcolormap, cmap, NULL); /* Create any children of toplevel, they will inherit new colormap */ This is only one way to go, there are other possibilities, but this seems to be the simplest.
Subject: 309) How do I get correct shadow colors to match other color changes? [Last modified: Sept 95] Answer: Thanks to Craig MacFarlane (craigm@chateau-rouge.ICS.UCI.EDU) for the following explanation and code: You have to make a call to calculate the new shadow colors. The trick is actually getting a value of type Pixel when all you have is the string "Blue". I use the XtConvertAndStore() function to convert from a char * to a Pixel. For example: char *color = "blue"; XrmValue color_value, pixel_value; Pixel background; color_value.size = strlen(color); color_value.addr = (XtPointer) color; pixel_value.size = sizeof(Pixel); pixel_value.addr = (XtPointer) 0; result = XtConvertAndStore(widget, XtRString, &color_value, XtRPixel, &pixel_value); background = (*(Pixel *)pixel_value.addr); You can then use the pixel value obtained by XtConvertAndStore() in the XmGetColors call. XmGetColors calculates appropriate foreground, topshadow, bottomshadow, and select colors for the given background. e.g. XmGetColors(screen, DefaultColormap(display_id, DefaultScreen(display_id)), background, &foreground, &topshadow, &bottomshadow, &select); Then it's trivial to set the shadow colors at the same time you set the foreground and background colors. For example: XtVaSetValues(widget, XmNforeground, foreground, XmNbackground, background, XmNarmColor, select, XmNtopShadowColor, topshadow, XmNbottomShadowColor, bottomshadow, NULL); You'll get asthetically pleasing colors every time. :) Wolfram Gries <> adds: The function XmChangeColor() takes a Widget and a Pixel-value for the new background-color and does the calculation of the new shadow-colors on its own. But it seems to me that this function is rather slow, so if you often change the color of your widgets, the XmGetColors()/XmSetColors() approach might be better.
Subject: 310) What color algorithm does Motif use? I am told that Motif uses some sort of algorithm that will take a single color that is defined for the "background" and scale it so that the widget remains discriminable from the background, etc. What is the algorithm? [Last modified: Oct 94] Answer: Chris Flatters ( writes: Shiz Kobara's book "Visual Design with OSF/Motif", Addison Wesley, 1991, ISBN 0-201-56320-7) is a good source for information of this sort. I haven't seen it in bookshops for a while so it may have gone out of print (which would be a pity). In essence each widget has 4 colours which, to first order, are background select (background * 85%) top shadow (background * 150%) bottom shadow (background * 50%) An additional correction may be applied to the hues of the calculated colours if any of the RGB values saturates. The algorithm works best if the brightest of the RGB components lies in the range 155-175 (on a scale of 0-255). The top shadow becomes darker than the background for light background colours which does not lead to a particularly pleasing effect.
Subject: 311) How can you access the superclass widget from which Motif convenience dialogs are subclassed? [Last modified: Oct 94] Answer: Kim Frei (uunet!!kimf) wrote: If you are using Motif 1.2, read about XmTemplateDialog.
Subject: 312) Can the Motif 2.0 Notebook widget display non-rectangular "file tabs"? Is it possible to use the Shape extension to fiddle with the shape of the major tabs (XmPushButtons right now) to get non-rectangular buttons, going for that "file tab" look? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: Vania Joloboff <uunet!!vania> wrote: On the Motif 2.0* CD-ROM, in the demos directory, there is a library of additional widgets lib/Exm. Among the widgets, there is a ExmTabButton especially designed to fit within a Notebook. It has a smooth shape like real tabs in folders. It also a good example on how to use the new traits and the Xme API for widget writers. (Thanks to Ken Lee,, for a correction here.)
Subject: 313) How does the clipboard mechanism work? [Last modified: Dec 94] A. Doug Rand <> writes: Basically there are two selections CLIPBOARD_MANAGER and CLIPBOARD which are used. The Motif clipboard is not a clipboard manager, but xclipboard, or a more functional clipboard client would be. The newest ICCCM (2.0) spells this out. The basic process is that the clipboard manager: 1) Check to see if CLIPBOARD_MANAGER is owned by anyone, abort if it is. 2) Assert ownership of CLIPBOARD_MANAGER and CLIPBOARD 3) When the CLIPBOARD selection is lost, query new owner for data and then retake ownership of CLIPBOARD #3 is done until the application exists. What you do with the data is up to the application.
Subject: 314) Why does the xyz application core dump when I cut and paste? Answer: Application crashes when text is cut and pasted into an XmText widget may occur with statically linked executables linked with X11R5 libraries under SunOS. For example, a Netscape README file says: The SunOS 4.1 [Netscape 0.94] distribution also includes a directory called "nls". This directory is a standard part of the MIT X11R5 distribution, but is not included with OpenWindows 3.0 or earlier. We have linked Netscape against the MIT R5 libraries because they are less buggy in general; however, they have one rather serious bug, which is that if this "nls" directory does not exist, the program will dump core any time you try to paste into a text field! So, if you don't have the "nls" directory on your system, you will need to install it first. The usual place is /usr/lib/X11/nls, but you can put it anywhere: just point the $XNLSPATH environment variable at it. Some sites don't have their X libraries installed in /usr/lib/X11/. This doesn't matter. You either need to put the nls directory in /usr/lib/X11/, or every user will need to set this environment variable. So, for example, we do: setenv XNLSPATH /usr/local/x11r5/lib/X11/nls since our X11R5 is not installed in the default location.
Subject: 315) Why is XtWindow(widget) == 0? [Last modified: Oct 95] Answer: The window is not created (and is NULL) until the widget is realized. In general, using XtWindow() is a bad idea. In most cases, you can create more robust code by subclassing the widget and putting your window code in new wiget class methods. Ken Lee
Subject: 316) How do I debug X protocol errors (e.g., BadWindow, BadMatch) in Motif applications? [Last modified: Jun 98] Answer: For a general tutorial on X protocol errors, see: Here are two common problems. First, if you get a BadWindow error showing a 0x0 window ID, you're probably calling XtWindow() on a widget that is not realized. See the previous subject. Second, a BadMatch error often indicates that the depth of a window or a pixmap is not correct. You could be using a depth 1 pixmap when you should be using a pixmap with the depth of the associated window. Or, you could be creating a new shell with a depth that does not match its visual type or colormap. Ken Lee
Subject: 317) Why doesn't XtNameToWidget (widget, "MyName") work? [Last modified: Apr 95] Answer: The second argument must be a qualified specification (like a resource specification). In most cases, you'll use something like "*MyName". The leading '*' is required. Ken Lee
Subject: 318) Why does my callback's client data structure contain incorrect values when the callback is called? I created a structure and used a pointer to it as callback client data. [Last modified: Apr 95] Answer: If your structure is declared as automatic, the callback will probably not be executed within the structure's scope, so the pointer to the structure will become invalid. You can avoid this problem by declaring your structure external or by allocating with malloc or (in C++) new. Ken Lee
Subject: 319) How can an application manage events on multiple displays? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: Just put multiple display pointers into one application context. (You normally specify which application context as an argument to XtOpenDisplay()). XtAppNextEvent() and XtAppMainLoop() automatically poll all displays in the application context. Ken Lee
Subject: 320) Can a Motif application create windows on mutiple screens (on a multi-screen workstation)? [Last modified: Sep 97] Answer: Multiple screens is simpler than multiple displays, since one X server controls all of the screens. Simply specify the XmNscreen resource when you create your top level (or other) shell widget and the X Toolkit will create the shell on that screen. You should generally also explicitly set your XmNcolormap, XmNdepth, and XmNvisual resources for the new shell, since the defaults may not be valid on the second screen. Ken Lee
Subject: 321) Why do I get "Error: attempt to add non-widget child "dsm" to parent"? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: Most likely, you are linking your libraries in the wrong order. You must link -lXm *before* -lXt. Ken Lee Ken Sall ( adds: This same error occurs if you combine Motif and Athena widgets in the same application. If you link with "-lXaw" before "- lXm", you get the runtime error. However, if you switch the order of the two libraries, there is no problem. For example: cc mothena.c -o mothena -lXm -lXaw -lXt -lXmu -lX11
Subject: 322) Why do I get link errors about "XShape" symbols? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: You must link with the X extensions library, -lXext, after any widget libraries. For example, cc -o myapp myapp.o -lXm -lXt -lXext -lX11 Ken Lee
Subject: 323) Why do I get link errors about "ICE" and "SM" symbols? [Last modified: Sep 97] Answer: You must link with the the X ICE and/or SM libraries. For example, cc -o myapp myapp.o -lXm -lXt -lXext -lICE -lSM -lX11 Ken Lee
Subject: 324) Why does my X11R6 program crash with undefined symbol "LowerCase"? [Last modified: May 95] Answer: If you are using Motif version 1.1.[123], then the problem may be a failure to set MotifBC to YES in your site.def. Thanks to Geoffrey Leach,
Subject: 325) How do I programatically control xwd to dump a specific window? I need a non-interactive way to tell xwd what X window to make an image of... NOT by the traditional point-and-click method. [Last modified: July 95] Answer: Ken Sall ( wrote: 1. Get the window id of the toplevel shell widget using the "XtWindow" function. 2. Invoke "xwd" from the program that has access to the window id, such as: Window dumpId; /* returned from XtWindow */ sprintf (cmd_string, "xwd -frame -out tmp.xwd -id 0x%x", dumpId); system (cmd_string);
Subject: 326) How can I display an xwd in a window (without using xwud)? [Last modified: Sept 95] Answer: 1. read the xwd file into an XImage 2. create a pixmap and XPutImage the image into the pixmap 3. use the pixmap as the XmNlabelPixmap of a label widget Ken Lee
Subject: 327) Can I write a multi-threaded Motif application? [Last modified: May 97] Answer: Motif 2.1 can be compiled to be thread-safe (if libX11 and libXt are also compiled to be thread-safe). Motif releases prior to Motif 2.1 were not thread-safe. In these releases, you can use Motif from one thread and do other things in other threads but you cannot call Motif functions from more than one thread. Try looking in the X FAQ for information on threads: Ken Lee
Subject: 328) How can I dump my widget instance tree in a way that reflects the hierarchy? [Last modified: July 97] Answer: Jeremy Jameson ( posted this code to c.w.x.m in 5/95. [Note: this code does not consider popup children, which are not listed in the XmNchildren array. To find those, you have to peek at the popup_list in core widget record. - K.Lee 7/97] /******************************************************************************* * dumpWidgetTree( Widget w ) * * This function will recursively descend throught the Widget tree * and print the children and their pointer addresses. * * Jeremy Jameson 5/17/95 * *******************************************************************************/ static void dumpWidgetTree( Widget w ) { WidgetList list = NULL; Cardinal num_children = 0; int i; static int n = 0; Widget child; static char* indent = "-----------------------------------------------------------------------------"; char tmp[256]; *tmp = ' '; if ( n >= strlen( indent ) +1 ) { printf( "ERROR:Widget tree is too deep, not enough indent string ( < %d )!\n", n ); n = 0; return; } strncpy( tmp, indent, n ); tmp[n] = ' '; printf( "%s> Dumping widget tree of %s - %#x \n", tmp, XtName( w ), w ); if ( ! XtIsComposite( w ) ) { printf( "%s> %s is not a subclass of Composite and therefore has no children\n", tmp, XtName( w ) ); return; } XtVaGetValues( w, XmNchildren, &list, XmNnumChildren, &num_children, NULL ); printf( "%s> %s has %d %s\n", tmp, XtName( w ), num_children, num_children == 1 ? "child" : "children" ); for ( i = 1; i <= num_children; i++ ) { child = list[i-1]; printf( "%s> child %2d %20s \t (%#x)\n", tmp, i, XtName( child ), child ); } printf( "\n" ); for ( i = 1; i <= num_children; i++ ) { child = list[i-1]; n += 3; dumpWidgetTree( child ); n -= 3; } printf( "\n" ); }
Subject: 329) How do I get the events for gadgets? Or the name of the gadget? [Last modified: July 96] Answer: Get events from the gadget's parent. Ken Lee A related question is "How the name of a gadget an event is directed to?" Daniel Dardailler ( writes: Motif 2.0 provides a XmObjectAtPoint public function that support this functionality. For earlier version, something like the undocumented _XmInputInGadget( wid, x, y ) should do it. _XmInputInGadget Given a composite widget and an (x, y) coordinate, see if the (x, y) lies within one of the gadgets contained within the composite. Return the gadget if found, otherwise return NULL.
Subject: 330) Can I set the foreground and background colors of gadgets (e.g., convenience dialog buttons)? [Last modified: Nov 96] Answer: Not in Motif 1.x. Gadgets don't have their own colors, they use those of their parents. Notice that Motif's convenience dialogs generally use label gadgets, not widgets, so you cannot customize the colors of individual buttons. Beginning in Motif 2.0, gadgets do have their own color resources. Ken Lee
Subject: 331) Can I use a gadget as the parent of a dialog shell? [Last modified: Dec 97] Answer: No. The Core widget class contains the functionality for popup children. Since the Gadget class is not a subclass of Core, gadgets cannot have popup children (like dialogs).
Subject: 332) Which other widget features do gadgets lack? [Last modified: Dec 97] Answer: Here's a list from Asente & Swick (p. 397). Note that many of these restrictions are primarily of interest to widget (and gadget) writers, not to application writers. 1. gadgets have no background or border colors or pixmaps 2. gadgets cannot have event handlers 3. gadgets have no translations, accelerators, or actions 4. gadgets cannot have pop-up children 5. gadgets cannot do grabs 6. gadgets cannot redirect the Intrincis keyboard focus or take the X focus 7. gadgets cannot own or request selections 8. gadgets do not need to be and cannot be realized 9. gadgets cannot have their window, display, or screen queried (but there are separate functions for computing these) 10. gadgets have no stacking order
Subject: 333) Where can I get the xmon or xscope programs to trace my X protocol? [Last modified: Mar 96] Answer: Both are included in the contrib section of X11R5: Xmon is also available at: and Ken Lee
Subject: 334) What does the error "Couldn't find per display information" mean? [Last modified: Mar 96] Answer: Xt often needs information about the current X display. It generates this error when it couldn't find the display pointer. Common causes applications accidentally destroying widgets twice or trying to generate fake, incomplete events with XSendEvent(). Ken Lee
Subject: 335) Can I set widget fallback resources after I've called XtAppInitialize()? [Last modified: Mar 96] Answer: No. Fallbacks are only checked when displays are initialized. Ken Lee
Subject: 336) Can I use the newline character in widget names? [Last modified: Mar 96] Answer: No. Widget names are designed to be used in resource specifications. The Xlib resource file syntax says the only alphanumeric characters (plus '-' and '_') may be used in a resource component name. If you want more than one line of text in a label widget, set the XmNlabelString resource. Ken Lee
Subject: 337) Is anybody out there selling Windows95 look-alike widgets? Why isn't there a Widget builder for Motif/X yet? Something like OCX (I believe on Windows95). [Last modified: Mar 96] Answer: David B. Lewis ( writes: None that I know of. There are similar widgets available in Motif 2.0. There are similar widgets available in the ICS EnhancementPak. [For the second part of the question...] Because it's very hard to do. I don't know what OCX is, but I can't imagine that the technology is so much better than that used in Xt that it's possible to write something to generate real code. It's trivial, of course, to generate the framework for a widget given only its name, superclass, and resources; but everything else is real code.
Subject: 338) How can I convert my OLIT programs to the Motif look & feel? [Last modified: July 96] Answer: Mark Fresolone ( writes: There are a number of translator products on the market which translate OLIT source code or DevGuide builder files into Motif source code and builder files. In 1995, MJM Software (Melillo Consulting Inc.) released the MoOLIT 5.1 toolkit, which allows one to simply re-compile Sun or UnixWare OLIT programs, and have them be switchable between the OPENLOOK and Motif look and feels. MoOLIT 5.1 is available on most popular UNIX platforms. More information is available at:
Subject: 339) What does this mean: Warning: Cannot find callback list in XtAddCallback? [Last modified: July 96] Answer: It means that you gave an invalid callback name to XtAddCallback, e.g., using XmNactivateCallback when the widget does not have a callback with that name. Ken Lee
Subject: 340) If a single widget has multiple callback functions, are they all executed? If so, in what order? [Last modified: Nov 96] Answer: Yes, they are all executed. The order, however, is not defined by the X Toolkit specifications. If you really want a certain order, you should register a single callback function and have it call your other functions in the order you want. Ken Lee
Subject: 341) Why are some widgets still visible after I call XtDestroyWidget() on them? [Last modified: Nov 96] Answer: To avoid memory corruption problems, the X Toolkit uses a 2 phase destroy process. When you call XtDestroyWidget(), the widgets are not really destroyed until after you return to the Xt main loop. Until then, the widget will behave (mostly) as if they were not destroyed. If this is a problem, you should unmanage them as well (you can safely unmanage them after you destroy them and before you return to the main loop). Ken Lee Note: The details of the two-phase destruction are described on the XtCreateWidget(3Xt)/XtDestroyWidget(3Xt) man page. -
Subject: 342) If I call XtGetValues on a resource that does not exist for a given widget, what value is returned? [Last modified: Nov 96] Answer: No value is returned. Your return variable is not modified. If it was uninitialized (i.e., garbage) before the call to XtGetValues, it will remain uninitialized. Ken Lee
Subject: 343) Can I reparent a widget (change its parent)? [Last modified: Aug 97] Answer: Xt does not support reparenting of widgets within the widget hierarchy. This would complicate the hierarchical resource model. You can destroy the old hierarchy and create a new one. On most systems, this is pretty fast for reasonably sized widget hierarchies. Note, however, that X11R6.3 provides an "application group" extension that allows one X client to act as the root of another X client's window hierarchy. See the X11R6.3 documentation for more details. Ken Lee
Subject: 344) Are there any "year 2000" issues within Motif? [Last modified: Jun 98] Answer: According to Dear Customer: The Open Group has completed a review of Motif (OSF/Motif) and the X Window System with regard to Year 2000 issues, and has determined that Motif (versions 1.0 through 2.1) and X Window System (X11 Releases 5 through 6.4) source code, as provided directly by The Open Group (or, previously provided by Open Software Foundation, Inc.; or X Consortium in the case of X Window System) does not contain any date-dependent source code. The arrival of the year 2000 should have no effect on the operation of Motif or X Window System source code. Please note, however, that Motif & X Window System object code or applications, or derivative works thereof, which would have been provided to you by a third party, are not covered by the above statement. You are hereby referred to your supplier for statements regarding Year 2000 issues for such third-party products. Very truly yours, The Open Group
Subject: 345) Can I suppress or customize Motif warning and error messages? [Last modified: Aug 97] Answer: A better idea is usually to fix problems indicated by the messages. If you must, Motif justs uses Xt's message system which can be customized with XtAppSetWarningHandler and XtAppSetErrorHandler.
Subject: 346) TOPIC: Motif FAQ HISTORY and ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS [Last modified: April 97] Answer: History: ------- November 89 to July 93: FAQ was maintained by Jan Newmarch ( July 93 to August 94: FAQ was maintained by Brian Dealy ( Sept. 94 to April 97: FAQ was maintained by Ken Sall ( beginning April 97: FAQ was maintained by Kenton Lee ( Acknowledgments: ---------------- This list was compiled using questions and answers posed to and motif-talk. Some information was excerpted from the FAQ. To all who contributed one way or the other, thanks! We try to give individual references, but you may recognize something ( July 93 to August 94: FAQ was maintained by Brian Dealy ( Sept. 94 to April 97: FAQ was maintained by Ken Sall ( beginning April 97: FAQ was maintained by Kenton Lee ( Acknowledgments: ---------------- This list was compiled using questions and answers posed to and motif-talk. Some information was excerpted from the FAQ. To all who contributed one way or the other, thanks! We try to give individual references, but you may recognize something uncredited as your contribution. If we've mangled the words (or, heaven forbid, the code) too much, let the current maintainer know. NOTE: If you are a two-or-more-time contributor to this FAQ and you have a WWW personal home page which you'd like to have listed, see the subject: "Which X and Motif developers have their own home page URLs?" Jan Newmarch, Information Science and Engineering, University of Canberra, PO Box 1, Belconnen, Act 2616 Australia. Tel: (Aust) 6-2522422. Fax: (Aust) 6-2522999 ACSnet: ARPA: UUCP: {uunet,ukc}!munnari!!jan JANET: Jan Newmarch maintained this FAQ for a long time and has really helped a great many of us by providing this valuable service. He deserves a big round of applause for his efforts. I use this resource all the time and it has saved me countless hours with manuals and source code trying to relearn what others have already discovered. Jan`s efforts are gratefully acknowledged here. Brian Dealy, SAIC Likewise, Brian Dealy of SAIC did an admirable job taking over the Motif FAQ from Jan. A considerable amount of information was added during his tenure and we greatly appreciate Brian's work on the FAQ, as well as his efforts in maintaining the newsgroup reflector, for the good of all Motif-dom. Ken Sall Tel: (301) 953-3330 FAX: (301) 953-2368 Century Computing, Inc. My thanks to Ken Sall for maintaining the FAQ for 1994-1997. During Ken's tenure the FAQ more than doubled in size. Ken was one of the first FAQ maintainers to change all ftp references to URLs and to incorporate http URLs thoroughout the FAQ. Kenton Lee X/Motif Consultant The end.

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