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version 1.5 - 2/16/99


CCMArea is a packages of classes for adding contextual menu support to PowerPlant applications. They are designed to conform to Apple's guidelines and to give the developer control over the contents of the menus.

Version 1.5 takes advantage of new features in PowerPlant 1.9.1.

There are several classes, CCMArea being the main one. It's a mix-in class to add to your pane classes. There are also LWindow and LDialogBox subclasses and an LApplication subclass, all of which you can either use or imitate.

The design supports submenus, CMs in inactive windows, and building menus according to an object hierarchy - for example, a text field could add Cut, Copy, and Paste, and then the window that contains it could add Close Window (but only if you want it to).

If you want to see CCMArea in action, check out the control panel that comes with StuffCM, as well as the latest version of Icon Machine.

The alternative
PowerPlant 1.9.1 has added contextual menu support in the form of the LCMAttachment class. This does not mean that CCMArea is now obsolete; each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. Put simply, LCMAttachment is easier to use, while CCMArea can give you more power and flexibility. More specifically:

Because LCMAttachment is implemented as an attachment, it requires almost no code changes to use, and you configure it in Constructor. But if you want something beyond the core functionality provided, such as submenus or handling the Help command, you will have to subclass.

CCMArea is a mix-in class, and so it's implemented and configured entirely in code. However, it is free from the restrictions that attachments have. For example, this makes possible building menus through the object hierarchy as mentioned above.

Both implementations make selection data available to CM plugins and follow all of Apple's interface guidelines for contextual menus. CMs in floating windows is a potential problem in either case, but this is due to a limitation in PowerPlant itself.

A friendly warning
If you're doing contextual menus on your own, I just thought I'd share something I learned about the ContextualMenuClick call. If you give it a menu with command IDs set (using the SetMenuItemCommandID call), those command IDs will be gone when ContextualMenuClick returns. Submenus, fortunately, are unaffected. I have heard that this bug is fixed in Appearance 1.0.1.