Question Mark Cursor

  • Maybe not directly Cocoa, but the best place I can think of to inquire.

    I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on this
    view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/delete keys
    (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is working
    fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and nothing in
    my application.

    A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it does that
    (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it brings up
    help.

    B) How can I override this behavior to get the keystroke in my view?

    Thanks,
    Chris
  • Am 19.10.2007 um 23:46 schrieb Chris Williams:
    > I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on
    > this
    > view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/
    > delete keys
    > (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is
    > working
    > fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and
    > nothing in
    > my application.

      There is no "insert" key on the Mac keyboard. That key is labeled
    "Help" on a Mac keyboard. I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to re-
    label the help key as insert as that'll only help those few people
    who bought a Mac mini and attached a PC keyboard to it.

    > A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    > does that
    > (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    > brings up
    > help.

      I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you
    click on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found
    an app that actually does anything in response to these "help clicks".

      I think most apps that show help are probably Carbon apps. Showing
    Apple Guide content (and later Apple HTML Help) was the default
    behaviour for the Help key on OS 9.

    Cheers,
    -- M. Uli Kusterer
    http://www.zathras.de
  • Sorry, using a different keyboard.  Was unaware that Mac¹s had no ³insert².
    My MacBook doesn¹t, of course, and my MacPro keyboard isn¹t the standard
    one.

    I¹m not interested in ³relabelling² a key.  Just making the app as useful as
    possible.

    Thanks

    On 10/19/07 2:59 PM, "Uli Kusterer" <witness.of.teachtext...> wrote:

    > Am 19.10.2007 um 23:46 schrieb Chris Williams:
    >>> I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on
    >>> this
    >>> view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/
    >>> delete keys
    >>> (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is
    >>> working
    >>> fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and
    >>> nothing in
    >>> my application.
    >
    > There is no "insert" key on the Mac keyboard. That key is labeled
    > "Help" on a Mac keyboard. I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to re-
    > label the help key as insert as that'll only help those few people
    > who bought a Mac mini and attached a PC keyboard to it.
    >
    >>> A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    >>> does that
    >>> (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    >>> brings up
    >>> help.
    >
    > I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you
    > click on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found
    > an app that actually does anything in response to these "help clicks".
    >
    > I think most apps that show help are probably Carbon apps. Showing
    > Apple Guide content (and later Apple HTML Help) was the default
    > behaviour for the Help key on OS 9.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > -- M. Uli Kusterer
    > http://www.zathras.de
    >
    >
    >
    >
  • On Oct 19, 2007, at 4:46 PM, Chris Williams wrote:

    > Maybe not directly Cocoa, but the best place I can think of to
    > inquire.
    >
    > I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on
    > this
    > view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/
    > delete keys
    > (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is
    > working
    > fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and
    > nothing in
    > my application.
    >
    > A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    > does that
    > (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    > brings up
    > help.

    I believe that's a hold-over from the NeXT days.  Something to do
    with contextual help.  I believe the process was once the cursor
    became '?', you could then click on something to help for that
    specific thing.

    > B) How can I override this behavior to get the keystroke in my view?

    I've found no method to suppress the display of that cursor.
    However, I'm still able to process that key along with the standard
    Command-? to invoke my help system.

    And, when you say 'insert', I'm going to assume that on your
    keyboard, the key physically above the 'forward delete' key is
    'insert'?  On my US keyboard, that key says 'help'.

    Having said all that, my custom NSButton class provides a
    performKeyEquivalent: override.  There, I look for Command-? or
    NSHelpFunctionKey.  You could do the same in your view, assuming of
    course your view can become the first responder.

    ___________________________________________________________
    Ricky A. Sharp        mailto:<rsharp...>
    Instant Interactive(tm)  http://www.instantinteractive.com
  • Am 19.10.2007 um 23:59 schrieb Uli Kusterer:
    > I think most apps that show help are probably Carbon apps. Showing
    > Apple Guide content (and later Apple HTML Help) was the default
    > behaviour for the Help key on OS 9.

      Err... by "show help" I mean that they bring up Help Viewer or a
    PDF or whatever help they offer, not "show help" as in "show the
    question mark cursor and let you click additional help".

      BTW -- I just did a quick test, and you can react to clicks with
    the help cursor using:

    -(void) helpRequested: (NSEvent*)eventPtr;

    It's a method defined in NSResponder, so it's available for every
    view. Sounds like a neat trick, to just override that and bring up a
    help anchor corresponding to the clicked button.

    Cheers,
    -- M. Uli Kusterer
    http://www.zathras.de
  • on 2007-10-19 5:59 PM, Uli Kusterer at <witness.of.teachtext...> wrote:

    >> A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    >> does that
    >> (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    >> brings up
    >> help.
    >
    > I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you
    > click on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found
    > an app that actually does anything in response to these "help clicks".

    I devoted a short chapter of my (now somewhat obsolete) book to this: Cocoa
    Recipes for Mac OS X: The Vermont Recipes, from Peachpit Press. There is a
    Cocoa API to implement enhanced tooltips when clicking on any UI element
    while the question-mark cursor is showing. It's an old NeXT thing, largely
    supplanted by built-in (Interface Builder) tooltips in Mac OS X. But you can
    easily do some things with the question-mark cursor that you can't do with
    tooltips, like show fancy fonts in your tooltips.

    Nobody does this now. But the Vermont Recipes application you build with my
    book (written for Jaguar) still works in Tiger. Run Vermont Recipes, hit the
    Help key to bring up the question-mark cursor, and click a Vermont Recipes
    UI element. Up pops a tooltip with italics and boldface text in whatever
    font the developer (me) chose.

    --

    Bill Cheeseman - <bill...>
    Quechee Software, Quechee, Vermont, USA
    www.quecheesoftware.com

    PreFab Software - www.prefabsoftware.com
  • On Oct 19, 2007, at 4:15 PM, Bill Cheeseman wrote:

    > on 2007-10-19 5:59 PM, Uli Kusterer at <witness.of.teachtext...>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>> A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    >>> does that
    >>> (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    >>> brings up
    >>> help.
    >>
    >> I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you
    >> click on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found
    >> an app that actually does anything in response to these "help
    >> clicks".
    >
    > I devoted a short chapter of my (now somewhat obsolete) book to
    > this: Cocoa
    > Recipes for Mac OS X: The Vermont Recipes, from Peachpit Press.
    > There is a
    > Cocoa API to implement enhanced tooltips when clicking on any UI
    > element
    > while the question-mark cursor is showing. It's an old NeXT thing,
    > largely
    > supplanted by built-in (Interface Builder) tooltips in Mac OS X.
    > But you can
    > easily do some things with the question-mark cursor that you can't
    > do with
    > tooltips, like show fancy fonts in your tooltips.
    >
    > Nobody does this now. But the Vermont Recipes application you build
    > with my
    > book (written for Jaguar) still works in Tiger. Run Vermont
    > Recipes, hit the
    > Help key to bring up the question-mark cursor, and click a Vermont
    > Recipes
    > UI element. Up pops a tooltip with italics and boldface text in
    > whatever
    > font the developer (me) chose.
    >

    We should all bear in mind that the latest (wired) Apple keyboards
    (the slimline ones with keys like those on the MacBook) have no Help
    key, but rather a "fn" key, to expand the user's ability to utilize
    the function keys (much as one does with the MacBook, but in a
    different location on the keyboard).

    Cheers,
        Andrew
  • On Oct 19, 2007, at 6:02 PM, Uli Kusterer wrote:
    >
    > Am 19.10.2007 um 23:46 schrieb Chris Williams:
    >> I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on
    >> this
    >> view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/
    >> delete keys
    >> (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is
    >> working
    >> fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and
    >> nothing in
    >> my application.
    >
    > There is no "insert" key on the Mac keyboard. That key is labeled
    > "Help" on a Mac keyboard. I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to re-
    > label the help key as insert as that'll only help those few people
    > who bought a Mac mini and attached a PC keyboard to it.
    >
    >> A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    >> does that
    >> (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    >> brings up
    >> help.
    >
    > I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you
    > click on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found
    > an app that actually does anything in response to these "help clicks".
    >
    > I think most apps that show help are probably Carbon apps. Showing
    > Apple Guide content (and later Apple HTML Help) was the default
    > behaviour for the Help key on OS 9.

    AHIG: Pressing the Help key may invoke the application’s help in Help
    Viewer. The key combination Command-Shift-/ (sometimes shortened to
    Command-?) should always display the application’s help in Help Viewer.

    NSHelpManager: NSContextHelpModeDidActivateNotification - Posted when
    the application enters context-sensitive help mode. This typically
    happens when the user holds down the Help key. The notification
    object is the help mananer(sic). This notification does not contain a
    userInfo dictionary.
    So, you can register for the notification and bring up help when you
    receive it. I've just added that to my app. I like it, because, deep
    down inside, I've always resented having to hold down the shift key
    to get help. Now I don't even have to hold down the command key. (In
    fact, with the help of QuicKeys, I can now use the Help key in place
    of command-shift-/ in all of my apps--even in Mail and XCode, and in
    QuicKeys, itself. Wish I'd thought of it years ago.)

    Regards,
    Mike Wright
    http://www.raccoonbend.com/

    > Cheers,
    > -- M. Uli Kusterer
    > http://www.zathras.de
  • On Oct 19, 2007, at 4:59 PM, Uli Kusterer wrote:

    > Am 19.10.2007 um 23:46 schrieb Chris Williams:
    >> I have an app with my own view.  I handle all the keyboard input on
    >> this
    >> view, of course.  I want to be able to use the dedicated insert/
    >> delete keys
    >> (above the arrows) for some things in my application.  Delete is
    >> working
    >> fine.  But when I press insert, I get a question mark cursor and
    >> nothing in
    >> my application.
    >
    > There is no "insert" key on the Mac keyboard. That key is labeled
    > "Help" on a Mac keyboard. I'm not sure it'd be a good idea to re-
    > label the help key as insert as that'll only help those few people
    > who bought a Mac mini and attached a PC keyboard to it.

    This key, on older Mac keyboards, had 'ins' written in a smaller
    italicized font above the word 'help', similar to the way the options
    keys say 'alt' at the top. On those keyboards you would press the
    option key as well as a key that had a second name on it to use it for
    it's secondary purpose. There also were a few other keys that had two
    meanings on the older Mac keyboards as well, the clear key's secondary
    purpose was 'num lock' and the F13, F14, and F15 keys had secondary
    meaning on them as well.

    I don't however know as if anyone using a newer Mac keyboard would
    figure that they could press option help to get the functionality of
    the 'insert' key, which I don't think ever did much on the Mac.

    Regards,
    David Alger

    >
    >
    >> A) What does this cursor mean?  I see that in some applications it
    >> does that
    >> (turns into a ? and does seemingly nothing), and in others it
    >> brings up
    >> help.
    >
    > I vaguely remember that it's a special help mode that lets you click
    > on objects to bring up additional help, but I haven't yet found an
    > app that actually does anything in response to these "help clicks".
    >
    > I think most apps that show help are probably Carbon apps. Showing
    > Apple Guide content (and later Apple HTML Help) was the default
    > behaviour for the Help key on OS 9.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > -- M. Uli Kusterer
    > http://www.zathras.de

    --
    David Alger,
    Software Engineer
    Family Friendly Software, LLC
    http://www.familyfriendlysoftware.com

    Looking for a reliable, affordable, and customer oriented web host?
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    first-class hosting package for ONLY $6.95 a month!
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  • Am 21.10.2007 um 04:59 schrieb David Alger:
    > I don't however know as if anyone using a newer Mac keyboard would
    > figure that they could press option help to get the functionality
    > of the 'insert' key, which I don't think ever did much on the Mac.

      IIRC Apple stopped that when they retired ADB, i.e. around the time
    they retired the beige boxes. And since Laptops (which still used ADB
    a tad longer) don't have these keys, I doubt anyone targeting OS X
    can use that. But we're getting off-topic, so I'll take more musings
    on this off-list :-)

    Cheers,
    -- M. Uli Kusterer
    http://www.zathras.de
  • Hoping for the final word here...

    I see that my use of a non-standard keyboard is causing folks some distress.
    I agree, and understand.  Clearly making a non-standard key the only
    shortcut for an operation in the app is a bad idea.  That is not my intent.

    However, I'm talking about making a number of keys as synonyms for various
    operations.  In the interest of making common operations easier to perform,
    I'm going to make several (probably configurable) key synonyms.  This will
    make it easier for users to use the application heavily.  For an analogy,
    think of doing "10-key" data entry, where ease of keyboard use and
    minimization of hand movement are paramount.

    Thank you all for your input and especially the pointer to NSHelpFunctionKey
    and the explanation of the original use for the ? cursor.

    Chris

    From: David Alger <dev-lists...>
    Subject: Re: Question Mark Cursor

    I don't however know as if anyone using a newer Mac keyboard would figure
    that they could press option help to get the functionality of the 'insert'
    key, which I don't think ever did much on the Mac.
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