Saturday, October 25, 2014

Being busy without being ugly

wxBusyInfo is one of the classes that it is actually best not to use at all, because it blocks the program UI without allowing to dismiss it, so it is hardly user-friendly and usually performing the long-running operation in a separate thread and providing some way to display its progress and cancelling it in the main GUI thread is strongly advised.

However sometimes doing it is too difficult or maybe even impossible if you are using third-party libraries and in this case wxBusyInfo provides a very simple way to at least indicate that the program is busy, using it is as easy as creating an object on the stack:

wxBusyInfo wait("Working, please wait...", parent);

Unfortunately, traditionally, it was not just very simple, but very ugly as well, as can be seen on this screenshot:

After the recent changes, you can show to the user something more presentable (especially if you use a decent icon):
and with only slightly more effort:

wxBusyInfo info
      .Title("<b>Printing your document</b>")
      .Text("Please wait...")

As you can see, now it's possible to specify quite a few more attributes than just the unadorned message:
  • There can be an optional icon in the top part of the window.
  • Message is now split in the "text" and "title" parts, with the latter shown in bigger font by default.
  • Both text and title can contain markup.
  • Background and foreground colours can be specified.
  • Finally, the window can be made partly transparent.
To avoid passing all these parameters directly to wxBusyInfo constructor as one unintelligible jumble, a new helper class wxBusyInfoFlags was added to allow specifying them all by names and to make it simple to add more attributes later than needed.

So while the initial advice to avoid the use of wxBusyInfo in the first place remains valid, you can at least make it less ugly now if you do have to use it.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Outdated configure in original 3.0.2

Due to my mistake, 3.0.2 source archives contained an out of date version of configure from 3.0.1. The new archives have with the fixed version have been uploaded now, please redownload if you are using Unix (or configure with MSYS or Cygwin under Windows) and had already downloaded one of wxWidgets-3.0.2.{7z,tar.bz2,zip} files.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

3.0.2 Released

We have just released wxWidgets 3.0.2, please see the announcement for the download links. There is nothing particularly exciting about this maintenance release, but it does fix quite a few bugs and so upgrading to it is recommended to all 3.0 users -- there are no drawbacks to it, as the new release remains both API- and ABI-compatible with 3.0.0.

To give slightly more details, the fixes were mostly in wxMSW, quoting from the change log:

  • Fix background of wxRadioBox buttons and wxSlider.
  • Fix appearance of wxToggleButtons with non default colours.
  • Fix drawing on wxDC when using right-to-left layout.
  • Fix wxGrid appearance and behaviour in RTL.
  • Fix creating wxBitmap from monochrome wxIcon or wxCursor.
  • Fix handling of bitmaps with alpha in wxImageList.
  • Add paragraph spacing attributes support to wxTextCtrl.
  • Show new style directory selector even for non existent paths.
  • Fix order of radial gradient stops.
  • Fix font created using wxFont(wxFontInfo()) ctor.
  • Fix wxFileName::GetShortcutTarget() in console applications.
  • Fix wxFileName::MakeRelativeTo() for shortcut files.
  • Fix height of initially empty wxBitmapComboBox.
  • Fix setting label of submenu items.
  • Fix using Esc as accelerator in the menus.
  • Fix wrong initial status bar height in some cases.

And there are also build fixes for Cygwin 1.7, for MinGW 4.8 (we now work around the bugs in its headers) as well as improvements for MSVS projects: the ones for 2005 and 2008 now also include x64 configurations, while the ones for the later versions now reliably build when using parallel build.

In wxGTK, wxSearchCtrl was fixed and doesn't truncate the text and icons inside it any more. There were a few changes in wxOSX as well, including a fix for the use of wxPreferencesEditor.

Finally, in spite of the focus on the bug fixes, there are also a couple of new features in this release:

  • wxDateTime::Format() now support POSIX %V, %G and %g format specifiers for week-number formatting.
  • XRC handler for wxSimplebook was added.
  • It is also now possible to specify the window variant (normal, small, large, ...) in XRC.
  • wxGenericListCtrl::EndEditLabel() was implemented, for consistency with the native wxMSW version.

As always, please let us know about any problems with this release and we hope you will find it useful!