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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Providing Help Balloons (Mac OS 8/9)

'hmmu' Resources

For Mac OS 8/9, you should define Help balloons for each of your application's menu items and each menu title. Help balloons for menus are defined in 'hmmu' resources. The resource ID of an 'hmnu' resource should be the same as the resource ID of the 'MENU' resource to which it pertains.

Creating 'hmnu' Resources

Fig 13 shows an 'hmnu' (help menu) resource being created using Resorcerer.

Figure 3.13 Creating an 'hmnu' resource using resorcerer.

Specifying the Format of Help Messages.

The example at Fig 13 specifies the format of the help messages as (Pascal) text strings stored within the 'hmnu' resource itself. Clicking on the pop-up button adjacent to Message record type opens a pop-up menu that facilitates the choice of other formats (and also provides an option that enables you to instruct the Help Manager to skip the item). The items in the pop-up menu and their meanings are as follows:

Pop-up Menu Item

Meaning to Help Manager

Use these strings

Use the strings specified within this component of this 'hmnu' resource.

Use 'PICT' resources

Use the picture stored in the specified 'PICT' resource.

Use 'STR#' resources

Use the specified text string stored in the specified 'STR#' resource. (Storing the text strings in 'STR#' resources or 'STR ' resources (see below) simplifies the task of providing foreign language versions of your application.)

Used styled text resources

Use the styled text stored in the specified 'TEXT' and 'styl' resources.

Use 'STR ' resources

Use the text string stored in the specified 'STR ' resource.

Use named resource type

Use the resource ('STR ', 'PICT' or 'TEXT') whose name matches the name and state of the current menu item.

Skip missing item

No help message. Skip this item.

Compare item

Compare the specified comparison string against the current menu item in that position. If the specified string matches the name of the current menu item, display the help messages specified in the next four elements. (This is useful in the case of menu items that change names, for example Show Hidden Text and Hide Hidden Text.)


Text for Help Balloons

The text of your help balloons for menus should answer at least one of the following questions:

  • What is this? For example, when the user moves the cursor over the title of the File menu in the title bar, the beginning of the balloon text should be "File menu".

  • What does this do? For example, when the user moves the cursor over the Find item in a File menu, the balloon text should be "Finds and selects items with the characteristics you specify" or similar.

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