《C++ GUI Programming with Qt4》.2 Creating Dialogs

Subclassing QDialog

Our first example is a Find dialog written entirely in C++. We will implement the dialog as a class in its own right. By doing so, we make it an independent, self-contained component, with its own signals and slots.

The source code is spread across two files: finddialog.h and finddialog.cpp. We will start with finddialog.h.
1 #ifndef FINDDIALOG_H
2 #define FINDDIALOG_H
3 #include <QDialog>
4 class QCheckBox;
5 class QLabel;
6 class QLineEdit;
7 class QPushButton;

Lines 1 and 2 (and 27) protect the header file against multiple inclusions.
Line 3 includes the definition of QDialog, the base class for dialogs in Qt. QDialog inherits QWidget.
Lines 4 to 7 are forward declarations of the Qt classes that we will use to implement the dialog. A forward declaration tells the C++ compiler that a class exists, without giving all the detail that a class definition (usually located in a header file of its own) provides. We will say more about this shortly.
Next, we define FindDialog as a subclass of QDialog:
8 class FindDialog : public QDialog
 9 {
10     Q_OBJECT
11 public:
12     FindDialog(QWidget *parent = 0);

The Q_OBJECT macro at the beginning of the class definition is necessary for all classes that define signals or slots.

The FindDialog constructor is typical of Qt widget classes. The parent parameter specifies the parent widget. The default is a null pointer, meaning that the dialog has no parent.
13 signals:
14     void findNext(const QString &str, Qt::CaseSensitivity cs);
15     void findPrevious(const QString &str, Qt::CaseSensitivity cs);
The signals section declares two signals that the dialog emits when the user clicks the Find button. If the Search backward option is enabled, the dialog emits findPrevious(); otherwise, it emits findNext().
The signals keyword is actually a macro. The C++ preprocessor converts it into standard C++ before the compiler sees it. Qt::CaseSensitivity is an enum type that can take the values Qt::CaseSensitive and Qt::CaseInsensitive.
16 private slots:
17     void findClicked();
18     void enableFindButton(const QString &text);
19 private:
20     QLabel *label;
21     QLineEdit *lineEdit;
22     QCheckBox *caseCheckBox;
23     QCheckBox *backwardCheckBox;
24     QPushButton *findButton;
25     QPushButton *closeButton;
26 };
27 #endif

In the class's private section, we declare two slots. To implement the slots, we will need to access most of the dialog's child widgets, so we keep pointers to them as well. The slots keyword is, like signals, a macro that expands into a construct that the C++ compiler can digest.

For the private variables, we used forward declarations of their classes. This was possible because they are all pointers and we don't access them in the header file, so the compiler doesn't need the full class definitions. We could have included the relevant header files (<QCheckBox>, <QLabel>, etc.), but using forward declarations when it is possible makes compiling somewhat faster.

We will now look at finddialog.cpp, which contains the implementation of the FindDialog class.
1  #include <QtGui>
2  #include "finddialog.h"
First, we include <QtGui>, a header file that contains the definition of Qt's GUI classes. Qt consists of several modules, each of which lives in its own library. The most important modules are QtCore, QtGui, QtNetwork, QtOpenGL, QtSql, QtSvg, and QtXml. The <QtGui> header file contains the definition of all the classes that are part of the QtCore and QtGui modules. Including this header saves us the bother of including every class individually.

In filedialog.h, instead of including <QDialog> and using forward declarations for QCheckBox, QLabel, QLineEdit, and QPushButton, we could simply have included <QtGui>. However, it is generally bad style to include such a big header file from another header file, especially in larger applications.
3 FindDialog::FindDialog(QWidget *parent)
 4     : QDialog(parent)
 5 {
 6     label = new QLabel(tr("Find &what:"));
 7     lineEdit = new QLineEdit;
 8     label->setBuddy(lineEdit);
 9     caseCheckBox = new QCheckBox(tr("Match &case"));
10     backwardCheckBox = new QCheckBox(tr("Search &backward"));
11     findButton = new QPushButton(tr("&Find"));
12     findButton->setDefault(true);
13     findButton->setEnabled(false);
14     closeButton = new QPushButton(tr("Close"));

On line 4, we pass on the parent parameter to the base class constructor. Then we create the child widgets. The tr() function calls around the string literals mark them for translation to other languages. The function is declared in QObject and every subclass that contains the Q_OBJECT macro. It's a good habit to surround user-visible strings with TR(), even if you don't have immediate plans for translating your applications to other languages. Translating Qt applications is covered in Chapter 17.

In the string literals, we use ampersands ('&') to indicate shortcut keys. For example, line 11 creates a Find button, which the user can activate by pressing Alt+F on platforms that support shortcut keys. Ampersands can also be used to control focus: On line 6 we create a label with a shortcut key (Alt+W), and on line 8 we set the label's buddy to be the line editor. A buddy is a widget that accepts the focus when the label's shortcut key is pressed. So when the user presses Alt+W (the label's shortcut), the focus goes to the line editor (the label's buddy).

On line 12, we make the Find button the dialog's default button by calling setDefault(true). The default button is the button that is pressed when the user hits Enter. On line 13, we disable the Find button. When a widget is disabled, it is usually shown grayed out and will not respond to user interaction.

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