editres - a dynamic resource editor for X Toolkit applications
editres [ -toolkitoption ... ]
Editres accepts all of the standard X Toolkit command line
options (see X(7)). The order of the command line options is not
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
Editres provides a window consisting of the following four
- Menu Bar
- A set of popup menus that allow you full access to editres's
- The panner allows a more intuitive way to scroll the application tree
- Message Area
- Displays information to the user about the action that editres expects of
- Application Widget Tree
- This area will be used to display the selected application's widget
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 the application.
- 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 page's resources.
- 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 Area.
- 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.
The Tree 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 menu.
- 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 flashColor.
||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
- 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
- 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
\<new-line> - This will compress to nothing.
\\ - This will compress to a single backslash.
- Command Area
- This area contains several command buttons, described in this
- 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 button.
- 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
- 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 do.
- Save and Apply
- This button combines the Save and Apply actions described above into one
- Popdown Resource Box
- This button will remove the resource box from the display.
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 SetValues part of the protocol.
- editresBlock (Class EditresBlock)
- Specifies which type of blocking this application wishes to impose on the
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 editres. 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
editresBlock resource on editres itself.
For editres 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 invoked.
- 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 SaveResourcesFile)
- 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