Menu Builder Woes?

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dunbarx
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Menu Builder Woes?

Post by dunbarx » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:07 pm

This has been bothering me forever. I think there was discussion and maybe even sympathy about it, but I am not sure there was any resolution.

The menu Builder is constantly becoming unglued. MenuItems do not stick, their names change, and most egregiously, if I load, say five items, oftentimes only the first couple or so show up. Today the first menuItem changed to a Chinese font, and in doing so, the several menuItems, normally of course a return delimited list, all became a single line, concatenated, with Chinese characters separating the items.

I make sure that the last menu is "Help", and even make sure that the first two are "File" and "Edit", even if I do not want those at all.

If I build the menu group by hand everything is fine. So that is what I do. But is this an issue with anyone else? Been the case from v,4x (at least) right through v.5.5 commercial and v.6.5.1 community.

Rats. It is, ostensibly, a marvelous and powerful tool. Just cannot use it.

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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:23 pm

Menus are just text in button objects. It's often faster and simpler to just type what you need and move on.

That said, as long as it's there it should work; please consider filling a bug report for that.
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by dunbarx » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:08 pm

Richard.
Menus are just text in button objects. It's often faster and simpler to just type what you need and move on.
Right. It is what I do. I was just wondering if I was the only one who found the thing unusable.

But I disagree with faster and simpler. It would be very convenient if it were stable, especially, for example, the ability to toggle whether the menu group was in the stack menubar or in the window with just the push of a button, being able to preview that status, etc.

But again, have you seen what I have?

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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by dave.kilroy » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:22 am

I also find menuBuilder unreliable - in my case I've seen it arbitrarily decide to disable (and sometimes later re-enable) menu items - and I usually give it a wide berth now...
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:20 am

dunbarx wrote:But again, have you seen what I have?
No, but probably because I rarely use it at all. Lots of clicking and other fidgety little steps; I usually just type my items and move on.
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by townsend » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:09 pm

I'm sure the Menu Builder will eventually be fixed, but until then-- I just put a bunch of Menu Buttons into a Group, and set the "backgroundBehavior" to true, which places the Group with all the buttons on every card. They're completely reliable AND I don't have to worry about any OS differences.

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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by dunbarx » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:18 am

Townsend.

Right. I do that since I cannot rely on the menubuilder. But this gadget has had issues for several years, even though sometimes it seems to work just fine. So I do not know if it will ever be "fixed", since it does not seem to be on the radar of anyone in Scotland. It is a real timesaver when it works, but many times I can tell that it is going awry, and at that point I will simply make menus by hand.

Its main pleasures are that it changes properties on the fly, for example, to set a Mac window in the menubar, as opposed to the top of the window, you only have to set the menubar property to the group name. This is a one button toggle in the builder, like many similar features.

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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by thatkeith » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:49 pm

The whole process of creating and managing menus is woefully under-documented. This seems to be one of the parts of LiveCode that you're expected to 'just know', which is a shame. Where's the newbie-friendly documentation on making and managing menus? The explanations of how it works? The tips and tricks for getting the most from menus?

If the Menu Builder is unreliable it should be fixed urgently, and if good documentation for it and the manual methods exists it should be made more findable.

I'm writing a series of beginner tutorials on using LiveCode, and I cross-check things I do with what the docs say and try to imagine how a new user would look for help. When it comes to menus things seem extremely weak. :(
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:17 pm

thatkeith wrote:I'm writing a series of beginner tutorials on using LiveCode, and I cross-check things I do with what the docs say and try to imagine how a new user would look for help. When it comes to menus things seem extremely weak. :(
Please consider submitted a bug report for any issue you've found reproducible recipe for, whether in the behavior of the menu objects themselves or with missing or inaccurate info in the User Guide and Dictionary: http://quality.runrev.com/

If it helps, the User Guide section 4.3 (p113-114) offers an introduction to using the Menu Builder, and section 7.13 (p252-261) describes handling menus in code. In the Dictionary, filtering for "menu" brings up a couple dozen tokens for working with menu, showing syntax and examples.

Additionally, there are 9 example tutorials for working with menus in the Resource stack included in the IDE, also available on LiveCode.com: http://lessons.runrev.com/s/lessons/m/2592

My own work with menus has gone well, so it would be helpful if you could share more specifics about the issues you've encountered so we can help. For things that appear to be error, providing the steps needed to reproduce the error is especially helpful.
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by thatkeith » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:49 pm

Here's the big part of my beef: how does a user find the documentation? The User Guide is important and it is impressive. But it is so hidden away that I'm absolutely certain many users don't even know it exists.

It can be found if someone clicks Resources, selects User Guide, reads the small print that says it "can be download using the link below"... which is, confusingly, just above a text link for purchasing a printed copy. (Which goes to a web page that lists two annual contract editions of LiveCode. I'd have to scroll down and look around for the print manual.) At the bottom of the window far away from the small text and that text link there's something that says "Download", but isn't clickable. To the right there's a "Launch PDF" button.

I know someone using LiveCode will have to use their initiative or they won't be suited to making stuff in the first place, but there are too many logical disconnects and misdirections here. If only it was available directly from a button or a menu item in the IDE... (And then if only the PDF had an interactive linked ToC too...)
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:07 pm

thatkeith wrote:Here's the big part of my beef: how does a user find the documentation? The User Guide is important and it is impressive. But it is so hidden away that I'm absolutely certain many users don't even know it exists.
The User Guide was put back into the Help menu a couple builds ago: Help->User Guide

What version are you using?
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by thatkeith » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:22 pm

While we're on the Menu Builder subject, is there info somewhere on what it does when it 'moves objects down to accommodate menu bar'?

I've looked in the user guide but I haven't found an answer. This option seems to play a game with the card/stack dimensions. When the menu is created the stack height briefly grows by 22 pixels then appears to go back to normal - but the rect is not the same. I added a menu to a stack with an item that resizes itself on a resizeStack event (set the rect of image 1 to 10,10, the width of this card - 10, the height of this card - 10) and this item now seems to think the stack's top now begins somewhere behind the window's title bar.

Confused of London :(
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by thatkeith » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:30 pm

FourthWorld wrote: The User Guide was put back into the Help menu a couple builds ago: Help->User Guide

What version are you using?
I'm using v6.5, down from v6.5.2 after the Dictionary glitch mentioned earlier today. Here's the Help menu I see when using the IDE:
Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 18.27.33.png
Both the Beginner's Guide and All Guides menu items lead to pages on the livecode.com site - http://livecode.com/developers/guides/beginners-guide/ and http://livecode.com/developers/guides/ respectively.

(BTW, when the Code Editor window is active the Help menu is different:
Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 18.32.42.png
Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 18.32.42.png (20.07 KiB) Viewed 1139 times
I also noticed that the Documentation Pane menu item seems to do nothing. :?
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:34 pm

thatkeith wrote:While we're on the Menu Builder subject, is there info somewhere on what it does when it 'moves objects down to accommodate menu bar'?
User Guide section 7.13.6 (p257), "Menu Bars on Mac OS Systems", describes the stack change behavior needed to accommodate that OS.

When menus are moved to the global OS menu bar only the stack size changes, not the card, so you can use the rect of the stack for anything requiring the apparent rect, or the rect of the card for anything requiring metrics for objects within the window.
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Re: Menu Builder Woes?

Post by FourthWorld » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:38 pm

thatkeith wrote:
FourthWorld wrote: What version are you using?
I'm using v6.5, down from v6.5.2 after the Dictionary glitch mentioned earlier today.
Yep - the reinstatement was a few builds back, evident in 6.5.1, 6.5.2, and 6.6dp1.

The latter is well worth working with - while it's a developer preview, I've found it quite stable, and if there are any issues it's much better to help find them before release than after:
http://downloads.livecode.com/livecode/
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