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C H A P T E R 3
About Views
A template is a data description of an object. A view is the visual representation of
the object that is created when the template is instantiated. The system reads the
stored description in the template and creates a view on the screen--for example, a
framed rectangle containing a title.
Besides the graphic representation you see on the screen, a view consists of a
memory object (a frame) that contains a reference to its template and also contains
transient data used to create the graphic object. Any changes to view data that occur
during run time are stored in the view, not in its template. This is an important point--
after an application has started up (that is, once the views are instantiated from their
templates), all changes to slots occur in the view; the template is never changed.
This distinction between templates and views with respect to changing slot values
occurs because of the NewtonScript inheritance mechanism. During run time,
templates, containing static data, are prototypes for views, which contain dynamic
data. To understand this concept, it is imperative that you have a thorough
understanding of the inheritance mechanism as described in The NewtonScript
Programming Language
You can think of a template as a computer program stored on a disk. When the
program starts up, the disk copy (the template) serves as a template; it is copied
into dynamic memory, where it begins execution. Any changes to program
variables and data occur in the copy of the program in memory (the view), not in
the original disk version.
However, the Newton system diverges from this metaphor in that the view is not
actually a copy of the template. To save RAM use, the view contains only a reference
to the template. Operations involving the reading of data are directed by reference
to the template if the data is not first found in the view. In operations in which data
is written or changed, the data is written into the view.
Because views are transient and data is disposed of when the view is closed, any
data written into a view that needs to be saved permanently must be saved elsewhere
before the view disappears.
A view is linked with its template through a
slot in the view. The value of
this slot is a reference to the template. Through this reference, the view can access
slots in its template. Templates may themselves contain
slots which
reference other templates, called protos, on which they are built.
Views are also linked to other views in a parent-child relationship. Each view
contains a
slot whose value is a reference to its parent view; that is, the
view that encloses it. The top-level parent view of your application is called the
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