ToolTalk User's Guide



Computer-aided design.


Computer-aided software engineering.


Attributes of a pattern that indicate whether the application wants to handle requests that match the pattern or only observe the requests.

Classing Engine (CE)

Identifies the characteristics of desktop objects; that is, it stores attributes such as print method, icons, and file opening commands of desktop objects.

Classing Engine tables

The types database read by the OpenWindows Classing Engine.


Associates arbitrary pairs (that is, <name. value> pairs) with ToolTalk messages and patterns.

dynamic message patterns

Provides message pattern information while your application is running.

fail a request

Inform a sending application that the requested operation cannot be performed.


File descriptor.


A container for data that is of interest to applications.


The ToolTalk application programming interface (API) library.

handle a message

To perform the operation requested by the sending application; to send a ToolTalk reply to a request.

initial session

The ToolTalk session in which the application was started.


An integer that represents a location on the API stack.


A structure that the ToolTalk service delivers to processes. A ToolTalk message consists of an operation name, a vector of type arguments, a status value or string pair, and ancillary addressing information.

message callback

A client function. The ToolTalk service invokes this function to report information about the specified message back to the sending application; for example, the message failed or the message caused a tool to start.

message pattern

Defines the information your application wants to receive.

message protocol

A message protocol is a set of ToolTalk messages that describe operations the applications agree to perform.


A notice is informational, a way for an application to announce an event.

object content

Object content is managed by the application that creates or manages the object and is typically a piece, or pieces, of an ordinary file: a paragraph, a source code function, or a range of spreadsheet cells.

object files

Files that contain object information. Applications can query for objects in a file and perform operations on batches of objects.

object-oriented messages

Messages addressed to objects managed by applications.

object specification (spec)

An object specification (known as a spec) contains standard properties such as the type of object, the name of the file in which the object contents are located, and the object owner.

object type (otype)

The object type (otype) for your application provides addressing information that the ToolTalk service uses when delivering object-oriented messages.

object type identifier (otid)

Identifies the object type.

observe a message

To only view a message without performing any operation that may be requested.

observe promise

Guarantees that the ToolTalk service will deliver a copy of each matching message to ptypes with an observer signature of start or queue disposition. The ToolTalk service will deliver the message either to a running instance of the ptype, by starting an instance, or by queueing the message for the ptype.

opaque pointer

A value that has meaning only when passed through a particular interface.


A group of components that together create some software. A package contains the executables that comprise the software, but also includes information files and scripts. Software is installed in the form of packages.

pattern callback

A client function. The ToolTalk service invokes this function when a message is received that matches the specified pattern.


One execution of an application, tool, or program that uses the ToolTalk service.

process-oriented messages

Messages addressed to processes.


The process identifier.


The process type identifier.


The process type.

reject a request

Tells the ToolTalk service that the receiving application is unable to perform the requested operation and that the message should be given to another tool.


A request is a call for an action. The results of the action are recorded in the message, and the message is returned to the sender as a reply.


The ToolTalk database server process.


The attribute of a message or pattern that determines how widely the ToolTalk service looks for matching messages or patterns.


Identifies the session.


A group of processes that are related either by the same desktop or the same process tree.


A pattern in a ptype or otype. A signature can contain values for disposition and operation numbers.

  • Ptype signatures (psignatures) describe the procedural messages that the program wants to receive.

  • Otype signatures (osignatures) define the messages that can be addressed to objects of the type.


See object specification.

static message patterns

Provides an easy way to specify the message pattern information if you want to receive a defined set of messages.

tool manager

A program used to coordinate the development tools in the environment.

ToolTalk Types Database

The database that stores ToolTalk type information.


Check and repair utility for the ToolTalk database.


The ToolTalk communication process.


The ToolTalk type compiler.

wrapped shell commands

ToolTalk-enhanced shell commands. These commands safely perform common file operations on ToolTalk files.

xdr format tables

The types database read when ttsession is invoked.