Common Desktop Environment: Application Builder User's Guide

Controls Palette

The Controls palette contains 14 objects, including buttons, lists, text fields, and a menu bar. To find out how to edit the properties of these objects, see Chapter 4, Editing Properties of Interface Objects. To find out how to create menus and submenus and attach them to objects, see "Creating and Editing Menus" in Chapter 5, Creating and Editing Panes, Menus, and Messages.


A control which, when clicked, performs a specified action. A button can be a push button, a drawn button, or a menu button, settable in the Button property editor. A drawn button, like a push button, performs a specific function when clicked; the label on a drawn button, however, can change dynamically, depending on the status of the application.

Menu Button

A specialized button, ready for attachment of a menu. Note that there is no menu button property editor; edit the properties of a menu button in the Button Property Editor.

Combo Box

A combination text field and option menu object. As with an option menu, you can select an item from a pop-down menu, but you can also edit any of the items in the list--if you have checked "Editable" in the property editor, and if you write code to make it work.

Option Menu

One of the three "choice" objects (option menu, radio box, check box). When you click on an option menu, a menu is displayed, providing a choice of items to choose from. The chosen item remains in the option menu box and becomes the active choice. Examples of option menus in App Builder are Object Type in the property editors and Source and Target in the Connections Editor. An option menu is an exclusive-choice object.

Radio Box

One of the three "choice" objects (option menu, radio box, check box). A radio box is comprised of a label and two or more round buttons representing application functions, only one of which can be selected (hence the term "radio button," named for the type of buttons on an automobile radio). A radio box is an exclusive-choice object.

Check Box

One of the three "choice" objects (option menu, radio box, check box). A check box is comprised of a label and one or more check boxes, each with its own label. Each check box has a "binary" (on or off) state, and each is independent of the other. A check box is a nonexclusive-choice object.


One of two "scale" objects (gauge, scale). A gauge is used to indicate a value.


One of two "scale" objects (gauge, scale). A scale, like a gauge, indicates a value, but a user can modify the value of a scale by moving the slider.


A horizontal or vertical line used to indicate separate functions in an application window.

Menu Bar

A horizontal bar of menu buttons arrayed across the top of a main window. The buttons are cascade buttons, for attaching menus. The default menu bar includes File, Edit, and Help topics. You can change, delete, or add to this group of topics. Note that the menu bar is not strictly a control object: it is a control pane with three buttons.

Text Field

A single-line text-entry area with a label (in contrast to a text pane, which is a is a multi-line text-entry area).


A text string or graphic icon which can be attached to an object for identification purposes.

Scrolling List

An object for listing selectable options. A scrolling list is comprised of a variable-length list with scroll bars and an optional label. A list can allow single or multiple selections, and it can include a pop-up menu.

Spin Box

An object for selecting from a number of choices, only one of which is visible at any one time. A spin box is comprised of a text field, a label, and a set of arrows for sequencing through the choices.