Custom Containers

When deriving from Gtk::Container, you should override the following virtual methods:

  • get_request_mode_vfunc(): Return what Gtk::SizeRequestMode is preferred by the container.
  • get_preferred_width_vfunc(): Calculate the minimum and natural width of the container.
  • get_preferred_height_vfunc(): Calculate the minimum and natural height of the container.
  • get_preferred_width_for_height_vfunc(): Calculate the minimum and natural width of the container, if it would be given the specified height.
  • get_preferred_height_for_width_vfunc(): Calculate the minimum and natural height of the container, if it would be given the specified width.
  • on_size_allocate(): Position the child widgets, given the height and width that the container has actually been given.
  • forall_vfunc(): Call the same callback for each of the children.
  • on_add(): Add a child widget to the container.
  • on_remove(): Remove a child widget from the container.
  • child_type_vfunc(): Return what type of child can be added.

The get_request_mode_vfunc(), get_preferred_width_vfunc(), get_preferred_height_vfunc(), get_preferred_width_for_height_vfunc(), get_preferred_height_for_width_vfunc(), and on_size_allocate() virtual methods control the layout of the child widgets. For instance, if your container has 2 child widgets, with one below the other, your get_request_mode_vfunc() might request height-for-width layout. Then your get_preferred_width_vfunc() might report the maximum of the widths of the child widgets, and get_preferred_height_for_width_vfunc() might report the sum of their heights. If you want padding between the child widgets then you would add that to the width and height too. Your widget's container will use this result to ensure that your widget gets enough space, and not less. By examining each widget's parent, and its parent, this logic will eventually decide the size of the top-level window.

You are not guaranteed to get the Gtk::SizeRequestMode that you request. Therefore all four of the get_preferred_xxx_vfunc() methods must return sensible values.

on_size_allocate() receives the actual height and width that the parent container has decided to give to your widget. This might be more than the minimum, or even more than the natural size, for instance if the top-level window has been expanded. You might choose to ignore the extra space and leave a blank area, or you might choose to expand your child widgets to fill the space, or you might choose to expand the padding between your widgets. It's your container, so you decide. Don't forget to call set_allocation() inside your on_size_allocate() implementation to actually use the allocated space that has been offered by the parent container.

Unless your container is a top-level window that derives from Gtk::Window, you should probably also call Gtk::Widget::set_has_window(false) in your constructor. This means that your container does not create its own Gdk::Window, but uses its parent's window. (Note the difference between Gtk::Window and Gdk::Window.) If your container does need its own Gdk::Window, and does not derive from Gtk::Window, you must also override the on_realize() method as described in the Custom Widgets section. And unless your container draws directly onto the underlying Gdk::Window, you should probably call set_redraw_on_allocate(false) to improve performance.

By overriding forall_vfunc() you can allow applications to operate on all of the container's child widgets. For instance, show_all_children() uses this to find all the child widgets and show them.

Although your container might have its own method to set the child widgets, you should still provide an implementation for the virtual on_add() and on_remove() methods from the base class, so that the add() and remove() methods will do something appropriate if they are called.

Your implementation of the child_type_vfunc() method should report the type of widget that may be added to your container, if it is not yet full. This is usually Gtk::Widget::get_type() to indicate that the container may contain any class derived from Gtk::Widget. If the container may not contain any more widgets, then this method should return G_TYPE_NONE.

28.1.1. Example

This example implements a container with two child widgets, one above the other. Of course, in this case it would be far simpler just to use a vertical Gtk::Box.

Figure 28-1Custom Container

Source Code

File: examplewindow.h (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#ifndef GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H
#define GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H

#include <gtkmm.h>
#include "mycontainer.h"

class ExampleWindow : public Gtk::Window
{
public:
  ExampleWindow();
  virtual ~ExampleWindow();

protected:
  //Signal handlers:
  void on_button_quit();

  //Child widgets:
  Gtk::Box m_VBox;
  MyContainer m_MyContainer;
  Gtk::Button m_Button_One;
  Gtk::Label m_Label_Two;
  Gtk::ButtonBox m_ButtonBox;
  Gtk::Button m_Button_Quit;
};

#endif //GTKMM_EXAMPLEWINDOW_H

File: mycontainer.h (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#ifndef GTKMM_CUSTOM_CONTAINER_MYCONTAINER_H
#define GTKMM_CUSTOM_CONTAINER_MYCONTAINER_H

#include <gtkmm/container.h>

class MyContainer : public Gtk::Container
{
public:
  MyContainer();
  virtual ~MyContainer();

  void set_child_widgets(Gtk::Widget& child_one, Gtk::Widget& child_two);

protected:

  //Overrides:
  Gtk::SizeRequestMode get_request_mode_vfunc() const override;
  void get_preferred_width_vfunc(int& minimum_width, int& natural_width) const override;
  void get_preferred_height_for_width_vfunc(int width, int& minimum_height, int& natural_height) const override;
  void get_preferred_height_vfunc(int& minimum_height, int& natural_height) const override;
  void get_preferred_width_for_height_vfunc(int height, int& minimum_width, int& natural_width) const override;
  void on_size_allocate(Gtk::Allocation& allocation) override;

  void forall_vfunc(gboolean include_internals, GtkCallback callback, gpointer callback_data) override;

  void on_add(Gtk::Widget* child) override;
  void on_remove(Gtk::Widget* child) override;
  GType child_type_vfunc() const override;

  Gtk::Widget* m_child_one;
  Gtk::Widget* m_child_two;
};

#endif //GTKMM_CUSTOM_CONTAINER_MYCONTAINER_H

File: main.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "examplewindow.h"
#include <gtkmm/application.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
  auto app = Gtk::Application::create(argc, argv, "org.gtkmm.example");

  ExampleWindow window;

  //Shows the window and returns when it is closed.
  return app->run(window);
}

File: examplewindow.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include <iostream>
#include "examplewindow.h"

ExampleWindow::ExampleWindow()
: m_VBox(Gtk::ORIENTATION_VERTICAL),
  m_Button_One("Child One"),
  m_Label_Two("Child 2", Gtk::ALIGN_END, Gtk::ALIGN_CENTER),
  m_Button_Quit("Quit")
{
  set_title("Custom Container example");
  set_border_width(6);
  set_default_size(400, 200);

  add(m_VBox);

  //Add the child widgets to the custom container:
  m_MyContainer.set_child_widgets(m_Button_One, m_Label_Two);

  m_VBox.pack_start(m_MyContainer, Gtk::PACK_EXPAND_WIDGET);
  m_VBox.pack_start(m_ButtonBox, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);

  m_ButtonBox.pack_start(m_Button_Quit, Gtk::PACK_SHRINK);
  m_ButtonBox.set_border_width(6);
  m_ButtonBox.set_layout(Gtk::BUTTONBOX_END);
  m_Button_Quit.signal_clicked().connect( sigc::mem_fun(*this,
              &ExampleWindow::on_button_quit) );

  show_all_children();
}

ExampleWindow::~ExampleWindow()
{
}

void ExampleWindow::on_button_quit()
{
  hide();
}

File: mycontainer.cc (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include <iostream>
#include <algorithm> // std::max
#include "mycontainer.h"

MyContainer::MyContainer()
: m_child_one(nullptr), m_child_two(nullptr)
{
  set_has_window(false);
  set_redraw_on_allocate(false);
}

MyContainer::~MyContainer()
{
/*
  // These calls to Gtk::Widget::unparent() are necessary if MyContainer is
  // deleted before its children. But if you use a version of gtkmm where bug
  // https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=605728
  // has not been fixed (gtkmm 3.7.10 or earlier) and the children are deleted
  // before the container, these calls can make the program crash.
  // That's because on_remove() is not called, when the children are deleted.
  if (m_child_one)
    m_child_one->unparent();

  if (m_child_two)
    m_child_two->unparent();
*/
}

void MyContainer::set_child_widgets(Gtk::Widget& child_one,
        Gtk::Widget& child_two)
{
  m_child_one = &child_one;
  m_child_two = &child_two;

  m_child_one->set_parent(*this);
  m_child_two->set_parent(*this);
}

//This example container is a simplified VBox with at most two children.
Gtk::SizeRequestMode MyContainer::get_request_mode_vfunc() const
{
  return Gtk::SIZE_REQUEST_HEIGHT_FOR_WIDTH;
}

//Discover the total amount of minimum space and natural space needed by
//this container and its children.
void MyContainer::get_preferred_width_vfunc(int& minimum_width, int& natural_width) const
{
  int child_minimum_width[2] = {0, 0};
  int child_natural_width[2] = {0, 0};

  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
    m_child_one->get_preferred_width(child_minimum_width[0], child_natural_width[0]);

  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
    m_child_two->get_preferred_width(child_minimum_width[1], child_natural_width[1]);

  //Request a width equal to the width of the widest visible child.
  minimum_width = std::max(child_minimum_width[0], child_minimum_width[1]);
  natural_width = std::max(child_natural_width[0], child_natural_width[1]);
}

void MyContainer::get_preferred_height_for_width_vfunc(int width,
   int& minimum_height, int& natural_height) const
{
  int child_minimum_height[2] = {0, 0};
  int child_natural_height[2] = {0, 0};
  int nvis_children = 0;

  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
  {
    ++nvis_children;
    m_child_one->get_preferred_height_for_width(width, child_minimum_height[0],
                                                child_natural_height[0]);
  }

  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
  {
    ++nvis_children;
    m_child_two->get_preferred_height_for_width(width, child_minimum_height[1],
                                                child_natural_height[1]);
  }

  //The allocated height will be divided equally among the visible children.
  //Request a height equal to the number of visible children times the height
  //of the highest child.
  minimum_height = nvis_children * std::max(child_minimum_height[0],
                                            child_minimum_height[1]);
  natural_height = nvis_children * std::max(child_natural_height[0],
                                            child_natural_height[1]);
}

void MyContainer::get_preferred_height_vfunc(int& minimum_height, int& natural_height) const
{
  int child_minimum_height[2] = {0, 0};
  int child_natural_height[2] = {0, 0};
  int nvis_children = 0;

  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
  {
    ++nvis_children;
    m_child_one->get_preferred_height(child_minimum_height[0], child_natural_height[0]);
  }

  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
  {
    ++nvis_children;
    m_child_two->get_preferred_height(child_minimum_height[1], child_natural_height[1]);
  }

  //The allocated height will be divided equally among the visible children.
  //Request a height equal to the number of visible children times the height
  //of the highest child.
  minimum_height = nvis_children * std::max(child_minimum_height[0],
                                            child_minimum_height[1]);
  natural_height = nvis_children * std::max(child_natural_height[0],
                                            child_natural_height[1]);
}

void MyContainer::get_preferred_width_for_height_vfunc(int height,
   int& minimum_width, int& natural_width) const
{
  int child_minimum_width[2] = {0, 0};
  int child_natural_width[2] = {0, 0};
  int nvis_children = 0;

  //Get number of visible children.
  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
    ++nvis_children;
  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
    ++nvis_children;

  if(nvis_children > 0)
  {
    //Divide the height equally among the visible children.
    const int height_per_child = height / nvis_children;

    if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
      m_child_one->get_preferred_width_for_height(height_per_child,
                   child_minimum_width[0], child_natural_width[0]);

    if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
      m_child_two->get_preferred_width_for_height(height_per_child,
                   child_minimum_width[1], child_natural_width[1]);
  }

  //Request a width equal to the width of the widest child.
  minimum_width = std::max(child_minimum_width[0], child_minimum_width[1]);
  natural_width = std::max(child_natural_width[0], child_natural_width[1]);
}

void MyContainer::on_size_allocate(Gtk::Allocation& allocation)
{
  //Do something with the space that we have actually been given:
  //(We will not be given heights or widths less than we have requested, though
  //we might get more.)

  //Use the offered allocation for this container:
  set_allocation(allocation);

  //Get number of visible children.
  int nvis_children = 0;
  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
    ++nvis_children;
  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
    ++nvis_children;

  if(nvis_children <= 0)
    return;

  //Assign space to the children:
  Gtk::Allocation child_allocation_one;
  Gtk::Allocation child_allocation_two;

  //Place the first child at the top-left:
  child_allocation_one.set_x( allocation.get_x() );
  child_allocation_one.set_y( allocation.get_y() );

  //Make it take up the full width available:
  child_allocation_one.set_width( allocation.get_width() );

  if(m_child_one && m_child_one->get_visible())
  {
    //Divide the height equally among the visible children.
    child_allocation_one.set_height( allocation.get_height() / nvis_children);
    m_child_one->size_allocate(child_allocation_one);
  }
  else
    child_allocation_one.set_height(0);

  //Place the second child below the first child:
  child_allocation_two.set_x( allocation.get_x() );
  child_allocation_two.set_y( allocation.get_y() +
          child_allocation_one.get_height());

  //Make it take up the full width available:
  child_allocation_two.set_width( allocation.get_width() );

  //Make it take up the remaining height:
  child_allocation_two.set_height( allocation.get_height() -
          child_allocation_one.get_height());

  if(m_child_two && m_child_two->get_visible())
    m_child_two->size_allocate(child_allocation_two);
}

void MyContainer::forall_vfunc(gboolean, GtkCallback callback, gpointer callback_data)
{
  if(m_child_one)
    callback(m_child_one->gobj(), callback_data);

  if(m_child_two)
    callback(m_child_two->gobj(), callback_data);
}

void MyContainer::on_add(Gtk::Widget* child)
{
  if(!m_child_one)
  {
    m_child_one = child;
    m_child_one->set_parent(*this);
  }
  else if(!m_child_two)
  {
    m_child_two = child;
    m_child_two->set_parent(*this);
  }
}

void MyContainer::on_remove(Gtk::Widget* child)
{
  if(child)
  {
    const bool visible = child->get_visible();
    bool found = false;

    if(child == m_child_one)
    {
      m_child_one = nullptr;
      found = true;
    }
    else if(child == m_child_two)
    {
      m_child_two = nullptr;
      found = true;
    }

    if(found)
    {
      child->unparent();

      if(visible)
        queue_resize();
    }
  }
}

GType MyContainer::child_type_vfunc() const
{
  //If there is still space for one widget, then report the type of widget that
  //may be added.
  if(!m_child_one || !m_child_two)
    return Gtk::Widget::get_type();
  else
  {
    //No more widgets may be added.
    return G_TYPE_NONE;
  }
}