Layout Library

The layout package contains a library for specifying the layout of a set of rectangles (for example, UI components in a window). By itself, the library is not very useful, but it requires a small bit of code to integrate it with another library. This is provided for the UI library and the presentation library for example.

The layout library does not introduce additional coordinate systems. That is, all coordinates produced by the library are in the same coordinate system as those provided to the layout system. Coordinates are never relative to the root container or similarly.

Core Concepts

The library is centered around the class layout.Component, which represents a rectangle on the screen. A Component itself does not actually store a position, but it rather provides callbacks to retrieve and set the position. The Component provides the following members:

The second important class is layout.Layout. It represents a collection of Components that it is responsible to assign positions to. The Layout class extends Component which means that it is possible to nest layout logic to create more complex layout rules.

The Layout class introduces the following members in addition to the ones in Component:

As noted above, the add function returns a layout.Layout.Info class that contains layout-specific information about the child. The Info class in Layout is empty, but other layout managers subclass the Info class in Layout to add custom data there. For example, the Grid layout stores the row and column that the child should be placed in inside the Info class. This information lets the DSL (see below) access the properties conveniently.

Cardinal Directions

The layout library provides a set of cardinal directions to specify relative directions. These directions are described by the layout.Cardinal class and subclasses that implement some common directions. The Cardinal class has the following members:

The following cardinal directions are available:

Layout Managers

The library provides the following layout managers. Of course it is possible to create custom layout managers by subclassing the Layout class.

Finally, the library provides a single component that is useful in some cases:

Integrating the Layout Library

To use the layout library elsewhere, it is necessary to create a custom Component that overloads the pos(Rect) member and assigns the position to whatever should be laid out. It is also useful to implement the minSize member in order to provide the layout library with information about the minimum size of components.

When using the domain specific language, it is often inconvenient to have to create the custom component manually. For this reason, the domain specific language will automatically call the component() function on all objects that do not already inherit from Component. The component() function is expected to return a Component that corresponds to the parameter type.

Domain Specific Language

The layout library provides a small domain specific language so that layouts can be specified more conveniently. The DSL is designed to be extended by other libraries to suit their needs. As such, the syntax provided here is quite simple.

The syntax consists of a tree of layout declarations. Each such declaration has the following form:

<type-or-name>(<parameters>) {

Here the sequence <type-or-name>(<parameters>) is a call to a constructor, or a function. The result of evaluating this call will be inserted in the layout. The parentheses can be omitted if no parameters are required. As such, <type-or-name> may also be the name of a variable in the surrounding context. As mentioned above, if the type specified does not inherit from Component, then the language will attempt to call the component() function to create a component. The function is found using the standard Basic Storm lookup rules.

The <body> may consist of zero or more nested layout declarations or property assignments. Nested layout declarations are like regular layout declarations. Such objects will be added using the add member of the outer layout object. As such, nesting declarations in this way assumes that the parent declaration refers to a Layout.

Property assignments modify the behavior of the layout element. A property assignment has the following form:

<identifier>: <parameters>;



Where <identifier> is an identifier, and the optional <parameters> is a comma-separated list of expressions. A property assignment attempts to call the function <identifier>(<parameters>) on the layout element for the current block. These functions are typically designed to modify the behavior of the element, which is why they are written in a different form from regular function calls. If no parameters are required, the second form can be used. The same syntax can also be used to assign values to member variables.

If <identifier> with suitable parameters is not found in the layout element, the language looks for a suitable function or member in the Info class that was returned when the element was added to its parent. This means that it is also possible to specify child-specific properties related to the parent layout inside the block used for the child.

To start a layout declaration in Basic Storm, the keyword layout is used. The example below uses the layout syntax to create a simple layout of a few components:

use layout;

Layout createLayout(Component a, Component b) {
    var x = layout Grid {
        wrapCols: 2;      // Executes: Grid.wrapCols(2)
        expandCol: 0, 1;  // Executes: Grid.expandCol(0, 1)

        a {}
        FillBox(1, 1) {}

        b {
            row: 3;     // Executes: Grid.Info.row = 3
            col: 3;     // Executes: Grid.Info.col = 3
    return x;

The code above is roughly equivalent to the following:

use layout;

Layout createLayout(Component a, Component b) {
    Grid x;
    x.expandCol(0, 1);


    x.add(FillBox(1, 1));

    var cInfo = x.add(b);
    cInfo.row = 3;
    cInfo.col = 3;

    return x;