Creating your own LiveXtensions

LiveXtensions ››


Are you a ToolBook OpenScript programmer and interested in creating a LiveXtension Tool?

The following information is intended to give an experienced OpenScript programmer the necessary details needed in order to successfully create a LiveXtension.

What is a LiveXtension?

A LiveXtension is just a regular .TBK file that does some task. However it is important for you to understand how your tool is shown.

What can a Developers Exchange Tool do?

A LiveXtension can do virtually anything a normal book can do. For example a very simple tool to show the current date would be a one page book with a single button in it with the following code on the button.

to handle buttonClick

  request sysDate


A slightly more complex task would be to show the user how many Pages and Backgrounds are in their book. This is more complex because your Tool has to access information about their book. Here is a sample of one way to do this:

-- Show the PageCount and BackgroundCount of the user's book

to handle buttonClick

  userBook = parent of mainWindow

  tp = pagecount of userBook

  tb = backgroundcount of userBook

  request tp & CRLF & tb


Notice the need to tell the code to fetch the information from the parent of the mainWindow (which is essentially the user's loaded book). If you fail to include such logic the code would instead fetch the information from your tool, which is not the desired effect in this case.

-- Show the PageCount and BackgroundCount of the Tool itself

to handle buttonClick

  tp = pagecount of this book

  tb = backgroundcount of this book

  request tp & CRLF & tb


Special Settings Needed for your Tool


On the Summary tab of the Book Properties there are several values which need to be populated in order for your Tool to properly import as a local tool.

    Book Title

    This is the name of your tool (not the file name).

    For example: Automatic Buttonizer


    Your Name


    A summary description of what the tool does


You can choose to have your Tool shown in a Modal or Non-Modal window. By default your tool will appear in a Modal window. If you wish to make this a non-modal window, set the following book user property of your tool:

    devex_modal = false


Recall that your tool is being shown in a Viewer of another book (_index.tbk). When exiting your tool, all you need to do is close the window you are in. You would not want to perform an EXIT command.

-- programmatically closing the window

to handle buttonClick

  close this window


Letting the user click the X in the corner of the tool's window is a valid way to allow them to exit, which works well in a stand-alone tool or as a LiveXtension. However if you wish to provide an Exit button, use this code in the Exit button.

-- programmatically closing the window (or exiting)

to handle buttonClick

  if shownBy of objectContainer(self,"page") = mainWindow

  send exit


  close this window




When you launch a LiveXtension, the tool is shown in a viewer of _index.tbk, as discussed above. This way of showing another book has a unique side effect in that normal messages sent up through the ToolBook messaging hierarchy from the users book (the MainWindow) are never sent to your tool.

This may not be an important consideration for your tool but in the case of the Web Safe Color Tray (for example), it is a requirement of the tool to be able to not only be Non-Modal, but also be able to tell what is happening in the MainWindow. For example, in the case of the Web Safe Color Tray, it is critical that the Color Tray know when the user selects an object in the MainWindow.

The way to get your Tool into the normal messaging hierarchy is to push your tool onto the SYSBOOK stack (note this does not mean your tool has to have a .SBK extension). This is a little tricky to do as you have to essentially override the normal opening mechanism of the LiveXtensions, and then handle the removal of your tool from the SYSBOOK stack when your tool closes.

Below is our recommended way to create a Non-Modal Tool which pushes itself onto the SYSBOOK stack and then properly removes itself when the tool closes. You may find other approaches which work equally well for you.

-- this script goes in your book script

-- you'll need to modify ONE line of the script below

to handle enterBook

 if (self is in TARGET) AND (parent of this window) IS NOT (this book)

   close this window

   sysSuspend = false

   in mainWindow

     push (name of self) onto sysbooks


   sysSuspend = true

   --> specify your viewer name on this next line

   show viewer "tray" of self




-- this script goes in your viewer script

-- you should not need to modify any of the code below

to handle closeWindow


 fileRef = name of this book

 step k from 1 to itemCount(sysbooks)

   curSysbook = item k of sysbooks

   if curSysbook = fileRef

     clear item k of sysbooks




KEYWORDS: 23202 P5125

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