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SAS Companion for the Microsoft Windows Environment

Using OLE Custom Controls (OCXs) in Your SAS/AF Application

An OLE custom control is a special type of OLE object or collection of OLE objects that has an interface to expose its own properties and methods. You can control these objects through its graphical interface and with SCL code.

OLE custom controls differ from other OLE objects in these ways:

OLE controls are packaged in their own dynamic linked library (with a file extension of OCX). Using SCL code, your FRAME entry can respond to events generated by the OLE control (mouse clicks, key presses, and so on). The events exposed by OLE controls vary among controls. For a list of events, see the documentation for the control you are using. After inserting the control into the FRAME entry, you can view the event map by selecting Object Attributes for the OLE control object and then Event Map.

Note:   The OLE controls that SAS provides require 32-bit containers, which makes them unusable with Windows applications that offer only 16-bit container support. Also, because SAS is a 32-bit container, you cannot use 16-bit controls with it.  [cautionend]

Inserting an OLE Control in a FRAME Entry

To insert an OLE control in a FRAME entry:

  1. From the COMPONENTS window, select the V6 objects item to expand the object tree.

  2. Double-click on OLE - Insert Object from the Selection List. The Insert Object dialog box opens. You can also drag OLE - Insert Object from the Selection List to the BUILD window. When you release the mouse button the Insert Object dialog box opens.

  3. Select the Create Control radio button to display a list of registered OLE custom controls. If the OLE control you want to use is not listed here and you have it on your system, you need to register the control (see Registering OLE Controls).

  4. Select the name of the OCX control you want to insert.

Registering OLE Controls

Before you can use any OLE control in Windows, the control must be registered with Windows. SAS ComboBox and SAS Edit, the two OLE controls provided with the SAS System, are automatically registered when you install the SAS System.

If you want to install other controls for use with SAS or other applications, you must register the control with Windows (unless the control was installed by a process that performed the registration for you). The OLE control will not be available from the Insert Object dialog box until it is registered.

To register an OLE control:

  1. Complete steps 1-4 as described in Inserting an OLE Control in a FRAME Entry to invoke the Insert Object dialog box with the list of registered controls.

  2. Click on [Add Control...] to invoke the Browse file selection dialog box.

  3. Use the dialog box to select the control (which usually has a file extension of OCX) that you want to register.

    When you click on [OK], the control is added to the list of registered controls in the Insert Object dialog box.

Accessing OLE Control Properties

OLE controls have properties that you can set or retrieve using SCL methods. Some controls make some of their properties available through a properties page, which lets you set or retrieve the data interactively.

Accessing the OLE Control Properties Page

To invoke the properties page for a control, click on the right mouse button within the control's region in the BUILD: DISPLAY window and then select Properties from the pop-up menu. The properties page for the control appears. An Example Properties Page shows an example of a properties page for an OLE control.

OLE controls provide a Properties verb, which you can use with the _EXECUTE_ method in SCL to bring up the Properties page for the control. Or, you can access the pop-up menu for the control, then choose the cascading menu with the control's name. The Properties verb is available off that cascading menu.

An Example Properties Page


You can use the properties page to view or change settings for some of the exposed properties.

Note that the control is not active (that is, you cannot interact with its interface) while you are in DISPLAY mode. The control becomes active in TESTAF mode.

Accessing Properties Using SCL Code

When you use OLE controls in a SAS/AF application, you may want to access the properties of the control programmatically. Also, an OLE control might not expose all of its properties in a properties page. You can access the properties of a control by using the _SET_PROPERTY_ and _GET_PROPERTY_ methods.

Before you can access a property, you must know:

For example, suppose you have a combo box control named sascombo in your FRAME entry, and you want to set the list style to simple (represented by the integer 1):

call notify ('sascombo', '_set_property_', 
             'Style', 1);

If you want to retrieve data from a property, you must use a variable that is of the same type as the data you want to read. For example, if you want to learn what text the user specified in the edit portion of a combo box, include the following code:

length text $ 200;
call notify ('sascombo', '_get_property_', 
             'Text', text);

Interacting with the OLE Control Using SCL Methods

OLE controls support methods that control their content and behavior. You use either the _DO_ or _COMPUTE_ SCL methods to send a message to an OLE control telling it to implement one of its methods.

Responding to OLE Control Events

OLE controls generate events that you can respond to in your SCL code. You can create a label in your SCL code for OLE events just like you do for SAS/AF events.

Assigning SCL Code to an OLE Control Event

To assign SCL code to run when an OLE control event occurs:

  1. Select the OLE control object in the BUILD window.

  2. Select Object Attributes from the pop-up menu for the object.

  3. Select Event Map from the Object Attributes dialog box. The Event Map dialog box appears (shown in Event Map Dialog Box).

  4. In the Event Map dialog box, select the event that you want to respond to using SCL code.

  5. Specify the SCL, FRAME, or PROGRAM source entry and (if applicable) the SCL label where the event-handling code resides.

    Note:   You can specify the same SCL source entry that is stored with the FRAME entry; however, in addition to compiling the code with the FRAME entry, you must also compile the SCL entry outside of the FRAME context (that is, outside of the BUILD: SOURCE and BUILD: DISPLAY windows) in order for the event handler to recognize the SCL label. Thus, it is more efficient to store event-handling code for OLE controls in an SCL source entry that is not associated with a FRAME entry.  [cautionend]

Event Map Dialog Box


Note:   Many OLE controls include a LostFocus event, which they generate when the control loses window focus. Because of the way that SAS/AF software communicates with the control, mapping the LostFocus event sometimes has the effect of placing focus back on the control that just lost it. Although you can still respond to the LostFocus event in your FRAME entry, be aware that this might cause unusual focus behavior.  [cautionend]

Retrieving Argument Values from Events

Some OLE control events also include parameters you might find useful. For example, the SAS ComboBox control generates a KeyPress event that also reports the ASCII value of the key that was pressed. If a particular event passes an argument back to the FRAME entry, the type of value returned is indicated in the Event Map dialog box. A numeric value is indicated with an N; a character value is indicated with a C.

To retrieve the value returned by an OLE control event, you must define a method (using the METHOD statement in SCL) in the event-handling code. In the argument list for the METHOD statement, specify a variable of the type that you expect the OLE control to return. This variable contains the value returned by the event. You can then use that variable as you wish inside your event-handler.

For example, suppose you want to retrieve the value of the key that triggered the KeyPress event in the SAS ComboBox control and then report it as an ASCII character. The KeyPress event returns an integer that represents the ASCII value of the key pressed. Your event-handling code would look like the following:

   /* Label specified in Event Map dialog box */
   /* Define a method with an 
      integer argument */
method keyval 8;         
      /* Convert the integer to an 
         ASCII character */
  put keychar=; /* Output the character */

Example: Mapping OLE Control Events to SCL Code

When mapping OLE control events, you can do one of the following:

The following example shows how to structure the SCL code when all events for an OLE control are mapped to a single label, which in turn runs the object's label to determine the event and act accordingly:

length event $ 80;
  /* All OLE control events are mapped to 
     this label */
     /* Call the object's label */
  call send(_self_, '_OBJECT_LABEL_'); 
  /* This is the label of the OLE control */
     /* Determine the last event */
  call notify('obj1', '_GET_EVENT_', event); 
  select (event);
     when('Click') put 'Click received';
     when('DblClick') put 'DblClick received';
     otherwise put event=;

Example: Subclassing an OLE Custom Control

If you create SAS/AF applications that make frequent use of one or more OLE custom controls, you might want to write your own methods to abstract the methods that the control recognizes without having to specify the intermediate _DO_ and _COMPUTE_ methods in SCL.

You can achieve this by creating a subclass of the OLE class and adding methods to your derived class. When you insert the OLE control into your FRAME entry, be sure to insert it as an instance of the new class that you define (instead of OLE - Insert Object). The examples provided here contain sample code you can use to abstract the methods of a control. They do not include details about how to create subclasses. For information about creating subclasses of a SAS/AF classes, see SAS/AF Software: FRAME Class Dictionary.

Adding an Item to a Combo Box List

You can use this method to add a new item to the list portion of the SAS ComboBox control. The SAS ComboBox control uses zero-based numbering to indicate the positions of the list items (that is, the first item is at position 0, the second is at position 1, and so on). The following method lets you specify the position numbers such that position 1 holds the first item.

/* Add a new item to a ComboBox list.  */
method text $200 row 8 rc 8;
     /* adjust for zero-based index */
  ocxrow = row-1;  
  call send(_self_, '_COMPUTE_', 'AddItem',
             text, ocxrow, rc);
  if ( rc = 0 ) then
    _MSG_="ERROR: Could not add item to list.";

Assuming you mapped this code to a new method called ADD_ITEM, you would use this syntax to add a new item to the control:

   /* Adds 'Item 1' at the first position */
   /* in the control                      */
length success 8;
call notify('sascombo', 'ADD_ITEM', 
            'Item 1', 1, success);

Finding an Item in a Combo Box

The following method finds the specified item and returns its position in the list. As in the previous example, this method adjusts the position number to be one-based instead of zero-based.

method text $200 row 8;
  call send(_self_, '_COMPUTE_', 'FindItem',
             text, row);
  row = row + 1; /* adjust for zero-based */
endmethod;       /* index                 */

Assuming you mapped this code to the FIND_ITEM method, you would then use it as in this example:

length position 8;
call notify('sascombo','FIND_ITEM', 
            'Lost Item', position);

Retrieving the Text Value of the Control

Both the SAS ComboBox and SAS Edit controls have Text properties, which you can access using the _GET_PROPERTY_ method with the property name. For easier and more intuitive access from your OLE subclass, you can override the _GET_TEXT_ method and map it to this code:

method text $200;
   call send(_self_, '_GET_PROPERTY_', 
             'Text', text);

You would then access the Text property of a control the same way you access the text of other SAS/AF widget objects:

length text $ 200;
call notify('sasedit', '_GET_TEXT_', text);

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.