Difference between revisions of "Development/Tutorials/Using KActions"

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[[image:introtokdetutorial3.png|frame|center]]
+
 
 +
{{TutorialBrowser|
 +
 
 +
series=Beginner Tutorial|
 +
 
 +
name=How To Use KActions and XMLGUI|
 +
 
 +
pre=[[Development/Tutorials/Using_KXmlGuiWindow|Tutorial 2 - KXmlGuiWindow]], Basic XML knowledge|
 +
 
 +
next=[[Development/Tutorials/Saving_and_loading|Tutorial 4 - Saving and loading]]|
 +
 
 +
reading=None
 +
}}
 +
 
 
==Abstract==
 
==Abstract==
We're going to introduce the concept of actions. Actions are a unified way of supplying the user with ways to interact with your program.
+
This tutorial introduces the concept of actions. Actions are a unified way of supplying the user with ways to interact with your program.
  
Say, for example, we want to let the user clear the text box by clicking a button in the toolbar, from an option in the File menu or through a keyboard shortcut; we can provide all of those through one {{class|KAction}}.
+
For example, if we wanted to let the user of [[Development/Tutorials/Using_KXmlGuiWindow|Tutorial 2 ]] clear the text box by clicking a button in the toolbar, from an option in the File menu or through a keyboard shortcut, it could all be done with one [http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qaction.html QAction].
==Prerequisites==
 
* [[Development/Tutorials/Programming_Tutorial_KDE_4/Using_KMainWindow|Tutorial 2 - KMainWindow]]
 
  
==KAction==
+
[[image:tutorial3-kf5.png|frame|center]]
A {{class|KAction}} is an object which contains all the information about the icon and shortcuts you want associated to a certain action. You then connect the action to a [http://doc.trolltech.com/latest/signalsandslots.html slot] which carries out the work of you action.
 
  
===Creating Your Own===
+
==QAction==
  
To create an action, you need to <tt>#include <KAction></tt> in your <tt>.cpp</tt> file.  
+
A [http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qaction.html QAction] is an object which contains all the information about the icon and shortcuts that is associated with a certain action. The action is then connected to a [http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/signalsandslots.html slot] which carries out the work of your action.
=====Creating the object=====
 
We're going to create an action which will clear the text area (see Tutorial 2). The KAction is built up in a number of steps. The first is creating the KAction
 
<code cppqt>KAction* clearAction = new KAction(actionCollection(), "clear");</code>
 
This creates a KAction called <tt>clearAction</tt>. The first constructor argument is telling the action that it is part of the <tt>{{class|KActionCollection}} actionCollection()</tt> and the second is simply setting a name for internal use (it doesn't necessarily have to be textually similar to the function of the action).
 
=====Text=====
 
Now we have out KAction object, we can start setting its properties. First, we'll set the text that will be displayed in the menu and under its icon in the toolbar.
 
<code cppqt>clearAction->setText(i18n("Clear"));</code>
 
As you can see, the text must be passed through the i18n() function if you want your UI to be translatable.
 
=====Icon=====
 
If you're going to display the action in a toolbar, you're going to want to have an icon depicting the action. To set an icon we simply use the <tt>setIcon()</tt> function thus:
 
<code cppqt>clearAction->setIcon(KIcon("filenew"));</code>
 
Here we're setting the icon to the standard KDE <tt>filenew</tt> icon.
 
=====Shortcut=====
 
We can also set a shortcut that will perform our action. It's as simple as a
 
<code cppqt>clearAction->setShortcut(Qt::CTRL+Qt::Key_W);</code>
 
to set Ctrl+W to be associated to this action.
 
=====Connecting the action=====
 
Now our action is fully set up, we need to connect it to something useful. We're going to connect our action to the <tt>clear()</tt> action belonging to a KTextArea.
 
<code cppqt>connect(clearAction, SIGNAL(triggered(bool)), textArea, SLOT(clear()));</code>
 
This is the came as it would be done in Qt with a QAction.
 
  
===KStandardAction===
+
==The Code==
  
For actions which would likely appear in almost every KDE application such as 'quit', 'save', and 'load' there are pre-created convenience KActions, accessed through {{class|KStandardAction}}.
+
===main.cpp===
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
#include <cstdlib>
 +
 +
#include <QApplication>
 +
#include <QCommandLineParser>
  
They are very simple to use. Once you've done <tt>#include <KAction></tt>, you simply need to supply it with what you want the function to do and which KActionCollection to add it to. For example,
+
#include <KAboutData>
<code cppqt>KStandardAction::quit(kapp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());</code>
+
#include <KLocalizedString>
Will Create a KAction with the correct icon, text and shortcut and will even add it to the File menu.
+
 
 +
#include "mainwindow.h"
 +
 +
int main (int argc, char *argv[])
 +
{
 +
    QApplication app(argc, argv);
 +
    KLocalizedString::setApplicationDomain("tutorial3");
 +
   
 +
    KAboutData aboutData(
 +
                        // The program name used internally. (componentName)
 +
                        QStringLiteral("tutorial3"),
 +
                        // A displayable program name string. (displayName)
 +
                        i18n("Tutorial 3"),
 +
                        // The program version string. (version)
 +
                        QStringLiteral("1.0"),
 +
                        // Short description of what the app does. (shortDescription)
 +
                        i18n("A simple text area using KAction etc."),
 +
                        // The license this code is released under
 +
                        KAboutLicense::GPL,
 +
                        // Copyright Statement (copyrightStatement = QString())
 +
                        i18n("(c) 2015"),
 +
                        // Optional text shown in the About box.
 +
                        // Can contain any information desired. (otherText)
 +
                        i18n("Some text..."),
 +
                        // The program homepage string. (homePageAddress = QString())
 +
                        QStringLiteral("http://example.com/"),
 +
                        // The bug report email address
 +
                        // (bugsEmailAddress = QLatin1String("[email protected]")
 +
                        QStringLiteral("[email protected]"));
 +
    aboutData.addAuthor(i18n("Name"), i18n("Task"), QStringLiteral("[email protected]"),
 +
                        QStringLiteral("http://your.website.com"), QStringLiteral("OSC Username"));
 +
    KAboutData::setApplicationData(aboutData);
 +
 +
    QCommandLineParser parser;
 +
    parser.addHelpOption();
 +
    parser.addVersionOption();
 +
    aboutData.setupCommandLine(&parser);
 +
    parser.process(app);
 +
    aboutData.processCommandLine(&parser);
 +
   
 +
    MainWindow* window = new MainWindow();
 +
    window->show();
 +
   
 +
    return app.exec();
 +
}
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
This time, very little has changed in <tt>main.cpp</tt>, only the KAboutData constructor has been updated to show that we are now on tutorial 3.
  
==The Code==
 
 
===mainwindow.h===
 
===mainwindow.h===
<code cppqt n>
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 
#ifndef MAINWINDOW_H
 
#ifndef MAINWINDOW_H
 
#define MAINWINDOW_H
 
#define MAINWINDOW_H
 +
 +
#include <KXmlGuiWindow>
  
#include <KMainWindow>
+
class KTextEdit;
#include <KTextEdit>
+
 
+
class MainWindow : public KXmlGuiWindow
class MainWindow : public KMainWindow
 
 
{
 
{
 
   public:
 
   public:
 
     MainWindow(QWidget *parent=0);
 
     MainWindow(QWidget *parent=0);
+
 
   private:
 
   private:
 
     KTextEdit* textArea;
 
     KTextEdit* textArea;
 
     void setupActions();
 
     void setupActions();
 
};
 
};
 +
 +
#endif
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
Only a function <tt>void setupActions()</tt> has been added which will do all the work setting up the QActions.
  
#endif
 
</code>
 
 
===mainwindow.cpp===
 
===mainwindow.cpp===
<code cppqt n>
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
#include "mainwindow.h"
+
#include <QApplication>
 +
#include <QAction>
  
#include <KApplication>
+
#include <KTextEdit>
#include <KAction>
+
#include <KLocalizedString>
 +
#include <KActionCollection>
 
#include <KStandardAction>
 
#include <KStandardAction>
  
MainWindow::MainWindow(QWidget *parent) : KMainWindow(parent)
+
#include "mainwindow.h"
 +
 
 +
MainWindow::MainWindow(QWidget *parent) : KXmlGuiWindow(parent)
 
{
 
{
   textArea = new KTextEdit;
+
   textArea = new KTextEdit();
 
   setCentralWidget(textArea);
 
   setCentralWidget(textArea);
 
+
 
 
   setupActions();
 
   setupActions();
 
}
 
}
Line 81: Line 128:
 
void MainWindow::setupActions()
 
void MainWindow::setupActions()
 
{
 
{
  KAction* clearAction = new KAction(actionCollection(), "clear");
+
    QAction* clearAction = new QAction(this);
  clearAction->setText(i18n("Clear"));
+
    clearAction->setText(i18n("&Clear"));
  clearAction->setIcon(KIcon("filenew"));
+
    clearAction->setIcon(QIcon::fromTheme("document-new"));
  clearAction->setShortcut(Qt::CTRL+Qt::Key_W);
+
    actionCollection()->setDefaultShortcut(clearAction, Qt::CTRL + Qt::Key_W);
  connect(clearAction, SIGNAL(triggered(bool)),  
+
    actionCollection()->addAction("clear", clearAction);
          textArea, SLOT(clear()));
+
    connect(clearAction, SIGNAL(triggered(bool)), textArea, SLOT(clear()));
 +
   
 +
    KStandardAction::quit(qApp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());
 +
   
 +
    setupGUI(Default, "tutorial3ui.rc");
 +
}
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
  
  KStandardAction::quit(kapp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());
+
==Explanation==
  
  setupGUI();
+
This builds upon the KXmlGuiWindow code from [[Development/Tutorials/Using_KXmlGuiWindow/KF5|Tutorial 2]]. Most of the changes are to <tt>mainwindow.cpp</tt>, an important structural change being that the constructor for MainWindow now calls <tt>setupActions()</tt> instead of <tt>setupGUI()</tt>. <tt>setupActions()</tt> is where the new QAction code goes before finally calling <tt>setupGUI()</tt> itself.
}
+
 
</code>
+
===Creating the QAction object===
===main.cpp===
+
The QAction is built up in a number of steps. The first is including the <tt>QAction</tt> header and then creating the QAction:
<code cppqt n>
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
#include <KApplication>
+
#include <QAction>
#include <KAboutData>
+
...
#include <KCmdLineArgs>
+
QAction* clearAction = new QAction(this);
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
This creates a new QAction called <tt>clearAction</tt>.
 +
 
 +
===Setting QAction Properties===
 +
====Text====
 +
Now that we have our QAction object, we can start setting its properties. The following code sets the text that will be displayed in the menu and under the <tt>QAction</tt>'s icon in the toolbar.
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
clearAction->setText(i18n("&Clear"));
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
Note that the text is passed through the <tt>i18n()</tt> function; this is necessary for the UI to be translatable (more information on this can be found in the [[Development/Tutorials/Localization/i18n|i18n tutorial]]).
 +
 
 +
The text of the action should contain a <tt>&</tt> because that makes it easier to translate in non-latin1 languages. In Japanese, the translation might be <tt>ソース(&S)</tt> and without the <tt>&</tt> in the english text the translators cannot know if they have to add a <tt>&</tt> or not.
 +
 
 +
====Icon====
 +
If the action is going to be displayed in a toolbar, it is nice to have an icon depicting the action. The following code sets the icon to the standard the <tt>document-new</tt> icon through the use of the <tt>setIcon()</tt> function:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
clearAction->setIcon(QIcon::fromTheme("document-new"));
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
====Keyboard Shortcut====
 +
Setting a keyboard shortcut to perform our action is equally simple:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
actionCollection()->setDefaultShortcut(clearAction, Qt::CTRL + Qt::Key_W);
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
This associates Ctrl+W with the QAction.
 +
 
 +
===Adding to the Collection===
 +
In order for the action to be accessed by the XMLGUI framework (explained in depth later) it must be added to the application's ''action collection''. The action collection is accessed via the <tt>actionCollection()</tt> function like this:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
actionCollection()->addAction("clear", clearAction);
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
Here, the <tt>clearAction</tt> QAction is added to the collection and given a name of ''clear''. This name (''clear'') is used by the XMLGUI framework to refer to the action, ergo, it should not be localized, since it is used internally only.
 +
 
 +
====Connecting the action====
 +
Now that the action is fully set up, it needs to be connected to something useful. In this case (because we want to clear the text area), we connect our action to the <tt>clear()</tt> action belonging to a KTextEdit (which, unsurprisingly, clears the KTextEdit)
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
connect( clearAction, SIGNAL( triggered(bool) ),
 +
        textArea, SLOT( clear() ) );
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
===KStandardAction===
 +
 
 +
For actions which would likely appear in almost every KDE application such as 'quit', 'save', and 'load' there are pre-created convenience QActions, accessed through {{kde|KStandardAction}}.
 +
 
 +
They are very simple to use. Once the library has been included (<tt>#include <KStandardAction></tt>), simply supply it with what you want the function to do and which QActionCollection to add it to. For example:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cpp-qt">
 +
KStandardAction::quit(qApp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
Here we call the QApplicaton's [http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qapplication.html#quit quit] method whenever the KStandardAction quit is triggered. We are able to access that QApplication method via the [http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qapplication.html#qApp qApp] macro.
 +
 
 +
In the end, this creates a QAction with the correct icon, text and shortcut and even adds it to the File menu.
 +
 
 +
==Adding the action to menus and toolbars==
 +
At the moment, the new "Clear" action has been created but it hasn't been associated with any menus or toolbars. This is done with a KDE technology called XMLGUI, which does nice things like movable toolbars for you.
 +
 
 +
==Defining your own help menu==
 +
The help menu is god-given, that is why all KDE help menus look the same. If you want to create your own help menu, search for the explanation around showAboutApplication() in from the {{class|KHelpMenu}} class in XMLGUI.
 +
 
 +
==XMLGUI==
 +
 
 +
The <tt>setupGUI()</tt> function in {{class|KXmlGuiWindow}} depends on the XMLGUI system to construct the GUI, which XMLGUI does by parsing an XML file description of the interface.
 +
 
 +
The rule for naming this XML file is <tt>appnameui.rc</tt>, where <tt>appname</tt> is the name you set in {{class|KAboutData}} (in this case, ''tutorial3''). So in our example, the file is called <tt>tutorial3ui.rc</tt>, and is located in the build directory. Where the file will ultimately be placed is handled by CMake.
  
#include "mainwindow.h"
+
==appnameui.rc file==
  
int main (int argc, char *argv[])
+
Since the description of the UI is defined with XML, the layout must follow strict rules. This tutorial will not go into great depth on this topic, but for more information, see the [[Development/Architecture/KDE4/XMLGUI_Technology|detailed XMLGUI page]].
{
 
  KAboutData aboutData( "tutorial3", "Tutorial 3",
 
      "1.0", "A simple text area using KAction etc.",
 
      KAboutData::License_GPL, "(c) 2006" );
 
  KCmdLineArgs::init( argc, argv, &aboutData );
 
  KApplication app;
 
 
  MainWindow* window = new MainWindow();
 
  window->show();
 
  return app.exec();
 
}
 
</code>
 
  
==Putting the actions in the menus and toolbars==
 
===XMLGUI===
 
 
===tutorial3ui.rc===
 
===tutorial3ui.rc===
<code xml n>
+
<syntaxhighlight lang="xml">
<!DOCTYPE kpartgui SYSTEM "kpartgui.dtd">
+
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kpartgui name="tutorial3" version="1">
+
<gui name="tutorial3"
  <ToolBar name="mainToolBar" >
+
    version="1"
    <text>Main Toolbar</text>
+
    xmlns="http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0"
    <Action name="clear" />
+
    xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  </ToolBar>
+
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0
 +
                        http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0/kxmlgui.xsd" >
 +
 
   <MenuBar>
 
   <MenuBar>
 
     <Menu name="file" >
 
     <Menu name="file" >
      <text>&amp;File</text>
 
 
       <Action name="clear" />
 
       <Action name="clear" />
 
     </Menu>
 
     </Menu>
 +
    <Menu >
 +
      <text>A&amp;nother Menu</text>
 +
      <Action name="clear" />
 +
    </Menu >
 
   </MenuBar>
 
   </MenuBar>
</kpartgui>
+
</code>
+
  <ToolBar name="mainToolBar" >
 +
    <text>Main Toolbar</text>
 +
    <Action name="clear" />
 +
  </ToolBar>
 +
 +
</gui>
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 
 +
The <tt><Toolbar></tt> tag allows you to describe the toolbar, which is the bar across the top of the window normally with icons. Here it is given the unique name ''mainToolBar'' and its user visible name set to ''Main Toolbar'' using the <tt><text></tt> tag. The clear action is added to the toolbar using the <tt><Action></tt> tag, the name parameter in this tag being the string that was passed to the KActionCollection with <tt>addAction()</tt> in <tt>mainwindow.cpp</tt>.
 +
 
 +
Besides having the action in the toolbar, it can also be added to the menubar. Here the action is being added to the ''File'' menu of the <tt>MenuBar</tt> the same way it was added to the toolbar.
 +
 
 +
Change the 'version' attribute of the <tt><nowiki><gui></nowiki></tt> tag if you changed .rc file since the last install to force a system cache update. Be sure it is an integer, if you use a decimal value, it will not work, but will not notify that it didn't. '
 +
 
 +
{{Warning|The version attribute must be an integer number, if you type in version<nowiki>=</nowiki>"1.2" it will dispose of your kittens  (but not eat them).}}
 +
 
 +
Some notes on the interaction between code and the .rc file: Menus appear automatically and should have a <tt><nowiki><text/></nowiki></tt> child tag unless they refer to standard menus. Actions need to be created manually and inserted into the actionCollection() using the name in the .rc file. Actions can be hidden or disabled, whereas menus can't.
  
 
==CMake==
 
==CMake==
 +
Finally, the <tt>tutorial3ui.rc</tt> needs to go somewhere where KDE can find it (can't just leave it in the source directory!). '''This means the project needs to be installed somewhere''', unlike in the previous tutorials.
 +
 +
===CMakeLists.txt===
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="cmake">
 +
project (tutorial3)
 +
 +
cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8.12 FATAL_ERROR)
 +
set(QT_MIN_VERSION "5.3.0")
 +
set(KF5_MIN_VERSION "5.2.0")
 +
 +
find_package(ECM 1.0.0 REQUIRED NO_MODULE)
 +
set(CMAKE_MODULE_PATH ${ECM_MODULE_PATH} ${ECM_KDE_MODULE_DIR} ${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURCE_DIR}/cmake)
 +
 +
include(KDEInstallDirs)
 +
include(KDECMakeSettings)
 +
include(KDECompilerSettings)
 +
include(FeatureSummary)
 +
 +
find_package(Qt5 ${QT_MIN_VERSION} CONFIG REQUIRED COMPONENTS
 +
    Core    # QCommandLineParser, QStringLiteral
 +
    Widgets # QApplication, QAction
 +
)
 +
 +
find_package(KF5 ${KF5_MIN_VERSION} REQUIRED COMPONENTS
 +
    CoreAddons      # KAboutData
 +
    I18n            # KLocalizedString
 +
    XmlGui          # KXmlGuiWindow, KActionCollection
 +
    TextWidgets    # KTextEdit
 +
    ConfigWidgets  # KStandardActions
 +
)
 +
   
  
<code ini n>
+
feature_summary(WHAT ALL INCLUDE_QUIET_PACKAGES FATAL_ON_MISSING_REQUIRED_PACKAGES)
PROJECT(tutorial3)
+
   
 +
set(tutorial3_SRCS main.cpp mainwindow.cpp)
  
FIND_PACKAGE(KDE4 REQUIRED)
+
add_executable(tutorial3 ${tutorial3_SRCS})
INCLUDE_DIRECTORIES( ${KDE4_INCLUDES} )
 
  
SET(tutorial3_SRCS
+
target_link_libraries(tutorial3
main.cpp
+
    Qt5::Widgets
mainwindow.cpp
+
    KF5::CoreAddons
 +
    KF5::I18n
 +
    KF5::XmlGui
 +
    KF5::TextWidgets
 +
    KF5::ConfigWidgets
 
)
 
)
  
KDE4_ADD_EXECUTABLE(tutorial3 ${tutorial3_SRCS})
+
install(TARGETS tutorial3 ${INSTALL_TARGETS_DEFAULT_ARGS})
 +
install(FILES tutorial3ui.rc DESTINATION ${KXMLGUI_INSTALL_DIR}/tutorial3)
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
  
TARGET_LINK_LIBRARIES( tutorial3 ${KDE4_KDEUI_LIBS})
+
This file is almost identical to the one for tutorial2, but with two extra lines at the end that describe where the files are to be installed. Firstly, the <tt>tutorial3</tt> target is installed to the <tt>INSTALL_TARGETS_DEFAULT_ARGS</tt> then the <tt>tutorial3ui.rc</tt> file that describes the layout of the user interface is installed to the application's data directory under <tt>KXMLGUI_INSTALL_DIR</tt>.
 +
 
 +
===Make, Install And Run===
 +
This is probably the trickiest part. Where you install the files, especially <tt>tutorial3ui.rc</tt> is important. Normally, you'd want to install it where KDE software is installed by your distribution, which is usually under {{path|/usr}}. That, however, would require root/admin access and If you don't have that, you can install it to a folder in your home directory.
 +
 
 +
To tell CMake where to install the program, set the <tt>DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX</tt> switch. You probably just want to install it somewhere local for testing (it's probably a bit silly to go to the effort of installing these tutorials to your KDE directory), so the following might be appropriate:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="bash">
 +
mkdir build && cd build
 +
cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME
 +
make install
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
which will create a KDE-like directory structure in your user's home directory. Specifically, it will create the directories {{path|$HOME/bin/}} and {{path|$HOME/share/}} and will install the executable to {{path|$HOME/bin/tutorial3}} and the <tt>tutorial3ui.rc</tt> file to {{path|$HOME/share/kxmlgui/tutorial3/tutorial3ui.rc}}.
 +
 
 +
However, to be able to run the program properly, you will need to let the system know where the XMLGUI file is. Since we installed it in a nonstandard location, we'll have to explicitly to do so every time. The following command would suffice:
 +
<syntaxhighlight lang="bash">
 +
XDG_DATA_DIRS=$HOME/share:$XDG_DATA_DIRS $HOME/bin/tutorial3
 +
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
This temporarily adds (prepends) the newly created "share" location to <tt>XDG_DATA_DIRS</tt>, the standard path for application data files.
  
install(TARGETS tutorial3 DESTINATION ${BIN_INSTALL_DIR})
 
install( FILES tutorial3ui.rc DESTINATION  ${DATA_INSTALL_DIR}/tutorial3 )
 
</code>
 
 
==Moving On==
 
==Moving On==
Now we can make the GUI look like and do whatever we want, we can move on to storing application settings with [[Development/Tutorials/Programming_Tutorial_KDE_4/Using_KConfig|KConfig XT]]
+
Now you can move on to [[Development/Tutorials/Saving_and_loading|saving and loading]].
 +
 
 +
Or you can learn [[Development/Tutorial/Icons|how to add icons to your application]].
 +
 
 +
Or you can learn [[Development/Tutorials/Desktop_File|how to place your application in the K-Menu using .desktop files]].
 +
 
 +
{{Attention||The source code on this page applies only the current KDE Frameworks 5 ("KF5") version. For the older KDE Development Platform ("KDE4"), See [[Development/Tutorials/First_program/KDE4]]}}
 +
 
 +
[[Category:C++]]

Latest revision as of 22:55, 1 December 2018

How To Use KActions and XMLGUI
Tutorial Series   Beginner Tutorial
Previous   Tutorial 2 - KXmlGuiWindow, Basic XML knowledge
What's Next   Tutorial 4 - Saving and loading
Further Reading   None

Abstract

This tutorial introduces the concept of actions. Actions are a unified way of supplying the user with ways to interact with your program.

For example, if we wanted to let the user of Tutorial 2 clear the text box by clicking a button in the toolbar, from an option in the File menu or through a keyboard shortcut, it could all be done with one QAction.

Tutorial3-kf5.png

QAction

A QAction is an object which contains all the information about the icon and shortcuts that is associated with a certain action. The action is then connected to a slot which carries out the work of your action.

The Code

main.cpp

#include <cstdlib>
 
#include <QApplication>
#include <QCommandLineParser>

#include <KAboutData>
#include <KLocalizedString>

#include "mainwindow.h"
 
int main (int argc, char *argv[])
{
    QApplication app(argc, argv);
    KLocalizedString::setApplicationDomain("tutorial3");
    
    KAboutData aboutData(
                         // The program name used internally. (componentName)
                         QStringLiteral("tutorial3"),
                         // A displayable program name string. (displayName)
                         i18n("Tutorial 3"),
                         // The program version string. (version)
                         QStringLiteral("1.0"),
                         // Short description of what the app does. (shortDescription)
                         i18n("A simple text area using KAction etc."),
                         // The license this code is released under
                         KAboutLicense::GPL,
                         // Copyright Statement (copyrightStatement = QString())
                         i18n("(c) 2015"),
                         // Optional text shown in the About box.
                         // Can contain any information desired. (otherText)
                         i18n("Some text..."),
                         // The program homepage string. (homePageAddress = QString())
                         QStringLiteral("http://example.com/"),
                         // The bug report email address
                         // (bugsEmailAddress = QLatin1String("[email protected]")
                         QStringLiteral("[email protected]"));
    aboutData.addAuthor(i18n("Name"), i18n("Task"), QStringLiteral("[email protected]"),
                        QStringLiteral("http://your.website.com"), QStringLiteral("OSC Username"));
    KAboutData::setApplicationData(aboutData);
 
    QCommandLineParser parser;
    parser.addHelpOption();
    parser.addVersionOption();
    aboutData.setupCommandLine(&parser);
    parser.process(app);
    aboutData.processCommandLine(&parser);
    
    MainWindow* window = new MainWindow();
    window->show();
    
    return app.exec();
}

This time, very little has changed in main.cpp, only the KAboutData constructor has been updated to show that we are now on tutorial 3.

mainwindow.h

#ifndef MAINWINDOW_H
#define MAINWINDOW_H
 
#include <KXmlGuiWindow>

class KTextEdit;
 
class MainWindow : public KXmlGuiWindow
{
  public:
    MainWindow(QWidget *parent=0);
 
  private:
    KTextEdit* textArea;
    void setupActions();
};
 
#endif

Only a function void setupActions() has been added which will do all the work setting up the QActions.

mainwindow.cpp

#include <QApplication>
#include <QAction>

#include <KTextEdit>
#include <KLocalizedString>
#include <KActionCollection>
#include <KStandardAction>

#include "mainwindow.h"

MainWindow::MainWindow(QWidget *parent) : KXmlGuiWindow(parent)
{
  textArea = new KTextEdit();
  setCentralWidget(textArea);
  
  setupActions();
}

void MainWindow::setupActions()
{
    QAction* clearAction = new QAction(this);
    clearAction->setText(i18n("&Clear"));
    clearAction->setIcon(QIcon::fromTheme("document-new"));
    actionCollection()->setDefaultShortcut(clearAction, Qt::CTRL + Qt::Key_W);
    actionCollection()->addAction("clear", clearAction);
    connect(clearAction, SIGNAL(triggered(bool)), textArea, SLOT(clear()));
    
    KStandardAction::quit(qApp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());
    
    setupGUI(Default, "tutorial3ui.rc");
}

Explanation

This builds upon the KXmlGuiWindow code from Tutorial 2. Most of the changes are to mainwindow.cpp, an important structural change being that the constructor for MainWindow now calls setupActions() instead of setupGUI(). setupActions() is where the new QAction code goes before finally calling setupGUI() itself.

Creating the QAction object

The QAction is built up in a number of steps. The first is including the QAction header and then creating the QAction:

#include <QAction>
...
QAction* clearAction = new QAction(this);

This creates a new QAction called clearAction.

Setting QAction Properties

Text

Now that we have our QAction object, we can start setting its properties. The following code sets the text that will be displayed in the menu and under the QAction's icon in the toolbar.

clearAction->setText(i18n("&Clear"));

Note that the text is passed through the i18n() function; this is necessary for the UI to be translatable (more information on this can be found in the i18n tutorial).

The text of the action should contain a & because that makes it easier to translate in non-latin1 languages. In Japanese, the translation might be ソース(&S) and without the & in the english text the translators cannot know if they have to add a & or not.

Icon

If the action is going to be displayed in a toolbar, it is nice to have an icon depicting the action. The following code sets the icon to the standard the document-new icon through the use of the setIcon() function:

clearAction->setIcon(QIcon::fromTheme("document-new"));

Keyboard Shortcut

Setting a keyboard shortcut to perform our action is equally simple:

actionCollection()->setDefaultShortcut(clearAction, Qt::CTRL + Qt::Key_W);

This associates Ctrl+W with the QAction.

Adding to the Collection

In order for the action to be accessed by the XMLGUI framework (explained in depth later) it must be added to the application's action collection. The action collection is accessed via the actionCollection() function like this:

actionCollection()->addAction("clear", clearAction);

Here, the clearAction QAction is added to the collection and given a name of clear. This name (clear) is used by the XMLGUI framework to refer to the action, ergo, it should not be localized, since it is used internally only.

Connecting the action

Now that the action is fully set up, it needs to be connected to something useful. In this case (because we want to clear the text area), we connect our action to the clear() action belonging to a KTextEdit (which, unsurprisingly, clears the KTextEdit)

connect( clearAction, SIGNAL( triggered(bool) ), 
         textArea, SLOT( clear() ) );

KStandardAction

For actions which would likely appear in almost every KDE application such as 'quit', 'save', and 'load' there are pre-created convenience QActions, accessed through Template:Kde.

They are very simple to use. Once the library has been included (#include <KStandardAction>), simply supply it with what you want the function to do and which QActionCollection to add it to. For example:

KStandardAction::quit(qApp, SLOT(quit()), actionCollection());

Here we call the QApplicaton's quit method whenever the KStandardAction quit is triggered. We are able to access that QApplication method via the qApp macro.

In the end, this creates a QAction with the correct icon, text and shortcut and even adds it to the File menu.

Adding the action to menus and toolbars

At the moment, the new "Clear" action has been created but it hasn't been associated with any menus or toolbars. This is done with a KDE technology called XMLGUI, which does nice things like movable toolbars for you.

Defining your own help menu

The help menu is god-given, that is why all KDE help menus look the same. If you want to create your own help menu, search for the explanation around showAboutApplication() in from the KHelpMenu class in XMLGUI.

XMLGUI

The setupGUI() function in KXmlGuiWindow depends on the XMLGUI system to construct the GUI, which XMLGUI does by parsing an XML file description of the interface.

The rule for naming this XML file is appnameui.rc, where appname is the name you set in KAboutData (in this case, tutorial3). So in our example, the file is called tutorial3ui.rc, and is located in the build directory. Where the file will ultimately be placed is handled by CMake.

appnameui.rc file

Since the description of the UI is defined with XML, the layout must follow strict rules. This tutorial will not go into great depth on this topic, but for more information, see the detailed XMLGUI page.

tutorial3ui.rc

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<gui name="tutorial3"
     version="1"
     xmlns="http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0"
     xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
     xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0
                         http://www.kde.org/standards/kxmlgui/1.0/kxmlgui.xsd" >
 
  <MenuBar>
    <Menu name="file" >
      <Action name="clear" />
    </Menu>
    <Menu >
      <text>A&amp;nother Menu</text>
      <Action name="clear" />
    </Menu >
  </MenuBar>
 
  <ToolBar name="mainToolBar" >
    <text>Main Toolbar</text>
    <Action name="clear" />
  </ToolBar>
 
</gui>

The <Toolbar> tag allows you to describe the toolbar, which is the bar across the top of the window normally with icons. Here it is given the unique name mainToolBar and its user visible name set to Main Toolbar using the <text> tag. The clear action is added to the toolbar using the <Action> tag, the name parameter in this tag being the string that was passed to the KActionCollection with addAction() in mainwindow.cpp.

Besides having the action in the toolbar, it can also be added to the menubar. Here the action is being added to the File menu of the MenuBar the same way it was added to the toolbar.

Change the 'version' attribute of the <gui> tag if you changed .rc file since the last install to force a system cache update. Be sure it is an integer, if you use a decimal value, it will not work, but will not notify that it didn't. '

Warning.png
Warning
The version attribute must be an integer number, if you type in version="1.2" it will dispose of your kittens (but not eat them).


Some notes on the interaction between code and the .rc file: Menus appear automatically and should have a <text/> child tag unless they refer to standard menus. Actions need to be created manually and inserted into the actionCollection() using the name in the .rc file. Actions can be hidden or disabled, whereas menus can't.

CMake

Finally, the tutorial3ui.rc needs to go somewhere where KDE can find it (can't just leave it in the source directory!). This means the project needs to be installed somewhere, unlike in the previous tutorials.

CMakeLists.txt

project (tutorial3)

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8.12 FATAL_ERROR)
set(QT_MIN_VERSION "5.3.0")
set(KF5_MIN_VERSION "5.2.0")

find_package(ECM 1.0.0 REQUIRED NO_MODULE)
set(CMAKE_MODULE_PATH ${ECM_MODULE_PATH} ${ECM_KDE_MODULE_DIR} ${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURCE_DIR}/cmake)

include(KDEInstallDirs)
include(KDECMakeSettings)
include(KDECompilerSettings)
include(FeatureSummary)

find_package(Qt5 ${QT_MIN_VERSION} CONFIG REQUIRED COMPONENTS 
    Core    # QCommandLineParser, QStringLiteral
    Widgets # QApplication, QAction
)

find_package(KF5 ${KF5_MIN_VERSION} REQUIRED COMPONENTS
    CoreAddons      # KAboutData
    I18n            # KLocalizedString
    XmlGui          # KXmlGuiWindow, KActionCollection
    TextWidgets     # KTextEdit
    ConfigWidgets   # KStandardActions
)
    

feature_summary(WHAT ALL INCLUDE_QUIET_PACKAGES FATAL_ON_MISSING_REQUIRED_PACKAGES)
    
set(tutorial3_SRCS main.cpp mainwindow.cpp)

add_executable(tutorial3 ${tutorial3_SRCS})

target_link_libraries(tutorial3
    Qt5::Widgets
    KF5::CoreAddons
    KF5::I18n
    KF5::XmlGui
    KF5::TextWidgets
    KF5::ConfigWidgets
)

install(TARGETS tutorial3  ${INSTALL_TARGETS_DEFAULT_ARGS})
install(FILES tutorial3ui.rc DESTINATION ${KXMLGUI_INSTALL_DIR}/tutorial3)

This file is almost identical to the one for tutorial2, but with two extra lines at the end that describe where the files are to be installed. Firstly, the tutorial3 target is installed to the INSTALL_TARGETS_DEFAULT_ARGS then the tutorial3ui.rc file that describes the layout of the user interface is installed to the application's data directory under KXMLGUI_INSTALL_DIR.

Make, Install And Run

This is probably the trickiest part. Where you install the files, especially tutorial3ui.rc is important. Normally, you'd want to install it where KDE software is installed by your distribution, which is usually under /usr. That, however, would require root/admin access and If you don't have that, you can install it to a folder in your home directory.

To tell CMake where to install the program, set the DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX switch. You probably just want to install it somewhere local for testing (it's probably a bit silly to go to the effort of installing these tutorials to your KDE directory), so the following might be appropriate:

mkdir build && cd build
cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME
make install

which will create a KDE-like directory structure in your user's home directory. Specifically, it will create the directories $HOME/bin/ and $HOME/share/ and will install the executable to $HOME/bin/tutorial3 and the tutorial3ui.rc file to $HOME/share/kxmlgui/tutorial3/tutorial3ui.rc.

However, to be able to run the program properly, you will need to let the system know where the XMLGUI file is. Since we installed it in a nonstandard location, we'll have to explicitly to do so every time. The following command would suffice:

XDG_DATA_DIRS=$HOME/share:$XDG_DATA_DIRS $HOME/bin/tutorial3

This temporarily adds (prepends) the newly created "share" location to XDG_DATA_DIRS, the standard path for application data files.

Moving On

Now you can move on to saving and loading.

Or you can learn how to add icons to your application.

Or you can learn how to place your application in the K-Menu using .desktop files.

Warning.png
The source code on this page applies only the current KDE Frameworks 5 ("KF5") version. For the older KDE Development Platform ("KDE4"), See Development/Tutorials/First_program/KDE4

This page was last edited on 1 December 2018, at 22:55. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.