Dialog Examples

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Some useful dialogs

Here are some useful dialogs not found in the Component Palette:

  • procedure ShowMessage (const Msg: string);
  • function MessageBox (Text, Caption : PChar; Flags: Word): Integer;
  • function MessageDlg (const Msg: string; AType: TMsgDlgType; AButtons: TMsgDlgButtons; HelpCtx: LongInt): Word;
  • function InputBox (const ACaption, APrompt, ADefault: string); string;
  • function InputQuery (const ACaption, APrompt: string; var Value: string): Boolean;
  • function PasswordBox(const ACaption, APrompt : String) : String;

Each of these components causes a small popup box to be displayed, which contains some information and requires a user response: either a button press or some text entry or both. The programmer has little control over the format, size or position of these popup boxes, but can influence their textual content.
The reason why there are often several very similar alternatives, is to allow different methods of calling the component and receiving data back from the procedure or function. These dialogs might be platform dependent i.e. they might be displayed differently. For example, strings which are fully displayed in Windows XP, might be truncated in Windows 7.

Message Dialogs

Message dialogs display a message and wait for a key-press or mouse-click response.

ShowMessage

procedure ShowMessage(const Msg: string);

{ Defined in Dialogs.pp }

The simplest message dialog: takes a simple string as parameter, displays it in a stereotyped box, and waits for a mouse-click or enter-key event before returning to the calling routine or program.
This is a modal procedure call, that is the box is displayed, receives focus, and does not relinquish focus until the OK box is clicked or otherwise selected.

Example:

program LazMessage;
uses 
  Dialogs;
begin
  ShowMessage('This is a message from Lazarus');
end.

You have the ability to create multilines message using the following line separators, they will all work:

  • sLineBreak
  • LineEnding
  • or the character code: #13#10

Multiple lines example:

program LazMessage;
uses 
  Dialogs;
begin
  ShowMessage('This is a multilines' + sLineBreak + 'message!' );
end.

MessageBox

function Application.MessageBox(Text, Caption: PChar; Flags: LongInt): Integer;

{ Defined in Forms.pp as part of TApplication; hence must be called as Application.Messagebox () or using the 'with Application do ...' construct }

Parameters include

  • Text: the string that is displayed as a prompt or instruction in the Box;
  • Caption: the string label at the top of the message box;
  • Flags: longint - an integer constructed by adding together various constants to define the contents and behaviour of the box, for example MB_ABORTRETRYIGNORE + MR_ICONQUESTION will cause the application to display a query (?) icon in a box with three buttons: ABORT RETRY IGNORE.

The function returns an integer value corresponding to the button that was pressed; its value can be determined by reference to the constants [IDOK..IDHELP]

It can be invoked like a procedure call (ie as a 'MessageBox()' statement rather than as a 'Variable := MessageBox()' function call - see example below)

Example:

uses 
  Forms, Dialogs, LCLType;
 
procedure DisplayMessageBox;
var 
  Reply, BoxStyle: Integer;
begin
  BoxStyle := MB_ICONQUESTION + MB_YESNO;
  Reply := Application.MessageBox('Press either button', 'MessageBoxDemo', BoxStyle);
  if Reply = IDYES then Application.MessageBox('Yes       ', 'Reply',MB_ICONINFORMATION)
    else Application.MessageBox('No         ', 'Reply', MB_ICONHAND);
end;

Notice that in this example the 'Yes' and 'No' strings have been padded out with spaces; otherwise the box would not be wide enough to display the caption properly

MessageBoxDemo.png ReplyYes.png

MessageDLG

function MessageDlg(const aMsg: string; DlgType: TMsgDlgType; 
  Buttons: TMsgDlgButtons; HelpCtx: Longint): Integer;
function MessageDlg(const aCaption, aMsg: string; DlgType: TMsgDlgType; 
  Buttons: TMsgDlgButtons; HelpCtx: Longint): Integer;

Two versions of this function, ie first 'Caption' parameter is optional; if omitted, caption is missing from box

This is the most complete and elaborate of the message dialogs, and allows the programmer considerable control over the appearance of the dialog box. The parameters defining the kind of box and its icon are types rather than integer constants, and the buttons can be specified as a set in square brackets eg [mbRetry, mbIgnore, mbAbort, mbCancel]. The HelpCtx parameter is not currently implemented and should be set to zero. The return value from the Function is the identity of the button pressed, expressed as an integer (see the definitions below, [mrNone..mrAll]).

Example:

uses 
  Forms, Dialogs, LCLType, Controls;
 
procedure TryMessageDlg;
begin
  if MessageDlg('Question', 'Do you wish to Execute?', mtConfirmation, 
   [mbYes, mbNo, mbIgnore],0) = mrYes
  then { Execute rest of Program };
end;
Question.png


QuestionDlg

Question dialog allows changing button captions and setting default and cancel buttons. Example:

    case QuestionDlg ('Caption','Message',mtCustom,[mrYes,'Positive', mrNo, 'Negative', 'IsDefault'],'') of
        mrYes: QuestionDlg ('Caption','So you mean „Yes“',mtCustom,[mrOK,'That is right'],'');
        mrNo:  QuestionDlg ('Caption','Oh, you mean „No“',mtCustom,[mrOK,'Exactly'],'');
        mrCancel: QuestionDlg ('Caption','You canceled the dialog with ESC or close button.',mtCustom,[mrOK,'Exactly'],'');
    end;
QuestionDlg.png
Note-icon.png

Note: If the user cancels the dialog and there is no 'IsCancel' button defined, mrCancel is returned! If you want to redirect ESC/close to a defined button use the 'IsCancel' parameter just after the cancel button.

Advanced examples for buttons (from promptdialog.inc)

    [mrOk,mrCancel,'Cancel now',mrIgnore,300,'Do it','IsDefault']

This will result in 4 buttons:

  • 'Ok' returning mrOk
  • 'Cancel now' returning mrCancel
  • 'Ignore' returning mrIgnore
  • 'Do it' returning 300. This will be the default button (focused)

Usually buttons in Lazarus dialogs have icons. In order to prevent icons from being shown non standardize values for message results can be used. Currently highest standardized value is 11. For example:

  case QuestionDlg ('Caption','Message',mtCustom,[20,'Positive', 21, 'Negative',22,'I do not know','IsCancel'],'') of
     20: QuestionDlg ('Caption','So you mean „Yes“',mtCustom,[20,'That is right'],'');
     21:  QuestionDlg ('Caption','Oh, you mean „No“',mtCustom,[21,'Exactly'],'');
     22:  QuestionDlg ('Caption','So, please find out!',mtCustom,[22,'Maybe'],'');
  end;

In order to facilitate work, constants can be defined. For example:

const
  mrNoneNI=      20;
  mrOkNI=        mrNoneNI+1;
  mrCancelNI=    mrNoneNI+2;
  mrAbortNI=     mrNoneNI+3;
  mrRetryNI=     mrNoneNI+4;
  mrIgnoreNI=    mrNoneNI+5;
  mrYesNI=       mrNoneNI+6;
  mrNoNI=        mrNoneNI+7;
  mrAllNI=       mrNoneNI+8;
  mrYesToAllNI=  mrNoneNI+10;
  mrCloseNI=     mrNoneNI+11;
  mrLastNI=      mrCloseNI; 
begin
  case QuestionDlg ('Caption','Message',mtCustom,[mrYesNI,'Positive', mrNoNI, 'Negative',mrCancelNI,'I do not know','IsCancel'],'') of
    mrYesNI: QuestionDlg ('Caption','So you mean „Yes“',mtCustom,[mrYesNI,'That is right'],'');
    mrNoNI:  QuestionDlg ('Caption','Oh, you mean „No“',mtCustom,[mrNoNI,'Exactly'],'');
    mrCancelNI:  QuestionDlg ('Caption','So, please find out!',mtCustom,[mrCancelNI,'Maybe'],'');
  end; //case
end;
QuestionDlgNoButIcons.png

Text input Dialogs

InputBox

Text input Dialogs: display a message and await user text input

function InputBox(const ACaption, APrompt, ADefault: String): String;

Displays a box with defined title and prompt, and expects user input in a text box. A default string can optionally be displayed in the text box. The user-entered or default string is returned as the function result.

Example:

uses 
  Forms, LCLType, Dialogs, Controls;
 
procedure TryInputBox;
var 
  UserString: string;
begin
  UserString := InputBox('Get some text input', 
    'Please type in some information', 'Some sample text');
  ShowMessage(UserString)
end;

InputQuery

function InputQuery(const ACaption, APrompt : String;
  MaskInput : Boolean; var Value : String) : Boolean;
function InputQuery(const ACaption, APrompt : String;
  var Value : String) : Boolean;

Two versions of this function which displays a prompt and expects user input of textual data; the first includes a MaskInput boolean parameter which determines whether the user input is masked out by asterisks in the text-input box (like during entry of a password), while the second omits this property. The text entered by the user is returned in the variable parameter 'Value'; the function result is a boolean which returns TRUE if the OK button was pressed, or FALSE if the box was closed by any other mechanism (such as clicking the 'Close' icon on the top title bar). Omitting the MaskInput parameter is equivalent to setting it FALSE.

Example:

uses 
  Forms, LCLType, Dialogs, Controls;
 
procedure TryInputQuery;
var 
  QueryResult: Boolean;
  UserString: string;
begin
  if InputQuery('Question', 'Type in some data', TRUE, UserString)
  then ShowMessage(UserString)
  else 
  begin
    InputQuery('Don''t be silly', 'Please try again', UserString);
    ShowMessage(UserString);
  end
end;
MessageDlgQuestion.png
DontBeSillly.png

PasswordBox

Function PasswordBox(const ACaption, APrompt : String) : String;

Behaves very similarly to the InputQuery function with MaskInput = TRUE; the difference is that the password that was typed in is returned as the result of the function (like InputBox).

Constants and Types used in message dialogs

Several constants and types relevant for use with the dialog boxes are pre-defined in the LCL library:

const { Defined in LCLType.pp }

integer constants for defining the types of buttons and the icon for display in MessageBox

MB_OK = $00000000;
MB_OKCANCEL = $00000001;
MB_ABORTRETRYIGNORE = $00000002;
MB_YESNOCANCEL = $00000003;
MB_YESNO = $00000004;
MB_RETRYCANCEL = $00000005;
 
 
MB_ICONHAND = $00000010;
MB_ICONQUESTION = $00000020;
MB_ICONEXCLAMATION = $00000030;
MB_ICONASTERICK = $00000040;
MB_ICONWARNING = MB_ICONEXCLAMATION;
MB_ICONERROR = MB_ICONHAND;
MB_ICONINFORMATION = MB_ICONASTERICK;

integer constants defining the return value from MessageBox according to which button was pressed

IDOK = 1; 	ID_OK = IDOK;
IDCANCEL = 2;	ID_CANCEL = IDCANCEL;
IDABORT = 3;	ID_ABORT = IDABORT;
IDRETRY = 4;	ID_RETRY = IDRETRY;
IDIGNORE = 5;	ID_IGNORE = IDIGNORE;
IDYES = 6;	ID_YES = IDYES;
IDNO = 7;	ID_NO = IDNO;
IDCLOSE = 8;	ID_CLOSE = IDCLOSE;
IDHELP = 9;	ID_HELP = IDHELP;

define whether first, second or third button is default

MB_DEFBUTTON1 = $00000000;
MB_DEFBUTTON2 = $00000100;
MB_DEFBUTTON3 = $00000200;
MB_DEFBUTTON4 = $00000300;

The Flags parameter of MessageBox is constructed by adding a button constant [MB_OK..MB_RETRYCANCEL], an optional icon constant [MB_ICONHAND..MB_ICONINFORMATION] and an optional default button constant [MB_DEFBUTTON1..MB_DEFBUTTON3]

Types for use in MessageDlg, which needs parameters AType of TMsgDlgType and AButtons of TMSgDlgButtons


{ Defined in Dialogs.pp }
type
  TMsgDlgType    = (mtWarning, mtError, mtInformation,  mtConfirmation,
                    mtCustom);
  TMsgDlgBtn     = (mbYes, mbNo, mbOK, mbCancel, mbAbort, mbRetry, mbIgnore,
                   mbAll, mbNoToAll, mbYesToAll, mbHelp, mbClose);
  TMsgDlgButtons = set of TMsgDlgBtn;
 
 
const
  mbYesNoCancel = [mbYes, mbNo, mbCancel];
  mbOKCancel = [mbOK, mbCancel];
  mbAbortRetryIgnore = [mbAbort, mbRetry, mbIgnore];
 
 
  MsgDlgBtnToBitBtnKind: array[TMsgDlgBtn] of TBitBtnKind = (
   bkYes, bkNo, bkOK, bkCancel, bkAbort, bkRetry, bkIgnore,
    bkAll, bkNoToAll, bkYesToAll, bkHelp, bkClose
   );
 
 
  BitBtnKindToMsgDlgBtn: array[TBitBtnKind] of TMsgDlgBtn = (
    mbOk, mbOK, mbCancel, mbHelp, mbYes, mbNo,
    mbClose, mbAbort, mbRetry, mbIgnore, mbAll, mbNoToALl, mbYesToAll
    );
 
 
{ Defined in Controls.pp }
const
  mrNone = 0;
  mrOK = mrNone + 1;
  mrCancel = mrNone + 2;
  mrAbort = mrNone + 3;
  mrRetry = mrNone + 4;
  mrIgnore = mrNone + 5;
  mrYes = mrNone + 6;
  mrNo = mrNone + 7;
  mrAll = mrNone + 8;
  mrNoToAll = mrNone + 9;
  mrYesToAll = mrNone + 10;
  mrLast = mrYesToAll;