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Versatile Tree Control

By , 18 Feb 2013
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Introduction

Sometime back I had a need to add checkboxes to tree control items. So what? Tree control has the facility to enable check boxes and what else did I need? I needed it in a different way.

  • I wanted to be able to add check boxes to specific items only.
  • Be able to add/remove checkboxes dynamically.
  • Be able to enable/disable items.

Apart from the above features, I have added a few more features which I thought would be really helpful.

  • Multiple selection of tree control items using rubber band selection
  • Drag-n-Drop of multiple selected items on a target.
  • Specifying whether an item can be considered as a valid target for a drop operation.
  • Restricting renaming feature for items, if needed.
  • Specifying whether an item is a valid target for a drop operation.
  • Facility to attach a menu with each tree item.

Background

Add checkbox to a specific item

CTreeControl has the facility to add checkboxes for items but enabling the style creates a checkbox for all items. I wanted to add checkboxes only for specified items.

There are several custom controls over the net which implement the above. They mostly imitate the checkbox items using images. There will be a checkbox like image used to imitate the check box. Clicking on the image will toggle the state of the check box [using two images: Check image and Uncheck image].

I found that the above implementation may not satisfy me because I wanted to have images [if the item belongs to a company then the logo of the company has to be with the item] associated with an item along with a check box. If the checkbox is going to be imitated using an image, then how do I represent the image of the item?

The solution can be, combine the image of the item [e.g., 16x16 ] with the checkbox image [16/16] -> [32x16]. We can generate the combined images for all items and that can be added to the image list.

But in my case, not all items were going to have a checkbox. So some images may not have a combined image [in this case the image will be 16x16] and some may have [image will be 32x16]. But the imagelist does not support variable sizes for images.

Solution

To overcome the issue of having a variable size image list, I created combined images for all items irrespective of whether the item has a checkbox or not.

  1. For a checkbox item, the combined image [checkbox image + item image] is created and added.
  2. For an item which doesn't have a checkbox, an empty image is created and combined to the item image so that the image will be of size 32x16.

Add/Remove checkbox dynamically

How do we add checkboxes during runtime?

Solution

Before that I would like to go through the various images used to represent the various states of an item. I consider the same image of the item to represent its selected state as well. I mean I don't have a separate image to represent the selected state. With this assumption, each item can have six images associated with it. Let's see what they are:

  1. Normal image: Image used to represent an item which is collapsed and does not have the checkbox [].
  2. Expanded image: To represent an item which is expanded and does not have check box [].
  3. Checkbox ON and Collapsed: To represent an item which is collapsed and has the check box with checked state [].
  4. Checkbox OFF and Collapsed: To represent an item which is collapsed and has the check box with unchecked state [] .
  5. Checkbox ON and Expanded: To represent an item which is expanded and has the check box with checked state [].
  6. Checkbox OFF and Expanded: To represent an item which is expanded and has the check box with unchecked state [].

All six images represent an enabled item. These images are prepared whenever an item is inserted into the tree and added to the image list. While enabling the checkbox, set the index of the combined image [checkbox + item image] from the image list.

Enable/Disable an item dynamically

Now the question is how to enable/disable the tree control items dynamically.

Solution

While disabling the item, a new bitmap is prepared by graying out the current image of the item by keeping the transparency and addig to the image list like []. This image is added to the image list and the index is set as the image of the tree control.

This is the overall picture of how things are done! The details are given while presenting the code.

Implementation details

We delve into more explanation of how things are done while going through the code. I have derived a tree control called CCustomTreeCtrl from CTreeCtrl. I have a dialog on which the tree control is placed. This dialog has two edit boxes to list out the selected items and checked items. So whenever there is a change in the list of selected items/checked items, it is informed by the tree control to the dialog and the dialog populates the edit boxes. I'll explain the overview of the important functions and the message handler here. The code contains detailed comments for all functions. We will see more about CCustomTreeCtrl now.

How to insert an item?

Let's see first how an item can be inserted into a tree. As we can define the various properties of the item while inserting, like item color, bold font, valid target for drop operation, item has checkbox or not, restricting the renaming feature, etc., we need to have a custom insert structure.

//CUSTOM DATA WHICH IS ASSOCIATED WITH EACH TREE ITEM.THIS CONTAIN LOT OF INFORMATION
//OF THE ITEMS SUCH AS ITS NORMAL IMAGE,EXPANDED IMAGE,MASK FOR THEM,CHECKBOX IS REQUIRED ETC
typedef struct __CUSTOMITEMDATA
{
 
 //EXPOSED DATA: TO BE SET BY THE USER.
 //####################################

  //Resource of the images for normal and expanded states.Remember these are the bitmap
  //ID's and not the indice.
  UINT    m_uNormalImage;      //Image given when the item is in normal state
  UINT    m_uNormalMaskImage;   //Mask Image for the normal state
  UINT    m_uExpandedImage;     //Image Given when the item is expanded
  UINT    m_uExpandedMaskImage;  //Mask image for the expanded state
  COLORREF  m_cMaskColor;       //If the mask image is not given this can be considered as the mask color
  
  bool     m_bEditable;      //Flag to indicate whether the item is editable or not
  bool     m_bDropTarget;    //Is the item is valid target for dropping operation
  bool     m_bChecked;      //Whether the item has to have CHECKBOX or NOT
  bool     m_bCheckState;     //If checkbox is needed, state of it [CHECKED/UNCHECKED]
  COLORREF  m_cItemColor;     //Color of the text of the item
  bool     m_bIsBold;       //Item to be displayed in bold font
  UINT    m_uMenuID;      //Context menu id given to the item
  bool     m_bEnable;       //Enable or disable tree item
  bool     m_bExpStateBefDisable; //True if the item is in expanded state before disabling, false otherwise

 
 //INTERNAL DATA: DATA NOT EXPOSED TO USER.INERNALLY USED BY THE TREE
 //####################################################################

  //Indice of the images representing various state from the image list
  //-------------------------------------------------------------------
   //Normal State with NO CHECKBOX
   int m_iNormalIndex;
 
   //Expanded State with NO CHECKBOX
   int m_iExpandedIndex;
 
   //Normal State with CHECKBOX
   int   m_iCheckedNormalIndex;   //Index of the checked/collapsed(normal) image
   int   m_iUnCheckedNormalIndex;  //Index of the unchecked/collapsed(normal) image
   
   //Expanded State: In Some case item wont have expanded image.So the following
   //are equal to the above 2. i.e, m_iCheckedExpandedIndex = m_iCheckedNormalIndex
   //and m_iUnCheckedExpandedIndex = m_iUnCheckedNormalIndex.
   //Expaned State with CHECKBOX
   int   m_iCheckedExpandedIndex;  //Index of the checked/expanded image
   int   m_iUnCheckedExpandedIndex; //Index of the checked/expanded image

   //Disabled image index
   int   m_iDisableIndex; //Index of the image for the disable state

 
}CUSTOMITEMDATA,*PCUSTOMITEMDATA;

The above structure keeps all the information about the item. So while inserting the item, instead of using TVITEMINSERTSTRUCT, an instance of CUSTOMINSERTSTRUCT is created, filled, and passed. This structure internally holds a CUSTOMITEMDATA. The instance of CUSTOMITEMDATA is associated with the item using the SetItemData method.

Let's see some of the members:

  • m_uNormalImage: Specifies the bitmap ID to represent the normal state of an item.
  • m_uExpandedImage: Specifies the bitmap ID to represent the expanded state of an item.
  • m_cMaskColor: Which color of the bitmap has to be drawn transparently. I used the color (0,128,128 ) which is the default background color you get when you create an icon.
  • m_bEditable: True if the item can be renamed, false otherwise.
  • m_bDropTarget: True if the item can be considered as a valid target for a drop operation, false otherwise.
  • m_bChecked: True if the item has a checkbox, false otherwise.
  • m_bCheckState: True if the checkbox is ON, false otherwise. This flag is valid only if m_bChecked is true.
  • m_cItemColor: Color of the item label.
  • m_bIsBold: True if the font of the item label is bold, false otherwise.
  • m_uMenuID: Resource ID of the menu to be displayed when the item is right clicked.
  • m_bEnable: True if the item is to be enabled, false otherwise.
CUSTOMINSERTSTRUCT tvIS;

//First Insert the project item
//-----------------------------------------
tvIS.m_tvIS.hParent      = hRoot;   //As the project under the root
tvIS.m_tvIS.hInsertAfter = TVI_FIRST; 

//Valid members of this item are: text,image and the selected image
tvIS.m_tvIS.item.mask  = TVIF_IMAGE | TVIF_TEXT | TVIF_SELECTEDIMAGE; 

//Name of the project is the item text
tvIS.m_tvIS.item.pszText = (LPSTR)( (pProj->m_sTitle).operator LPCTSTR());

//Create the custom data
PCUSTOMITEMDATA pCustomData = new CUSTOMITEMDATA;

//Images representing the normal and expanded
pCustomData->m_uNormalImage   = IDB_BITMAP_FOLDER_16;
pCustomData->m_uExpandedImage  = IDB_BITMAP_FOLDER_OPEN_16;

//Enable the label editing 
pCustomData->m_bEditable = true;

//Need checkbox or not
pCustomData->m_bChecked  = true;

//If needed state of the check box [ CHECKED/UNCHECKED]
pCustomData->m_bCheckState = true;

//Item color
pCustomData->m_cItemColor = RGB(255,40,148);

//Menu resource for this item
pCustomData->m_uMenuID  = IDR_CONTEXT_MENU;

//Custom data
tvIS.m_pCustomData          = pCustomData;
pProj->m_pCustomData = pCustomData;

//Insert the project into the tree
HTREEITEM hPRoject = m_ctrlTree.InsertItem(&tvIS);

As I said already for each item, 6 images will be generated and based on the state requested by the user [which is filled in the CUSTOMITEMDATA instance], the index of the image is set.

Creating the combined image is simple. Say I have a checkbox which is of size 16x16 and the item image is of size 16x16. I create an image of size 32x16 and copy the checkbox and item image into it and add the same to the image list.

How to handle the LButton down message?

As the combined image has both checkbox and item image in a single bitmap, how do we differentiate a  click on a checkbox and a click on an item image? A click on the checkbox should toggle its state and click on an item image should toggle the expand state.

When the user clicks on an image, we have to find out whether the click happened on the left half of the image [click on the checkbox ] or on the right half. If it is on the left half, then the TVN_STATEICON_CLICKED message is generated and sent to tree itself. The message handler of TVN_STATEICON_CLICKED changes the image of the item based on the checkbox state and notifies the parent about the list of checked items' TVN_ITEM_CHECK_TOGGLE message. The WPARAM of this message holds the list of items which are checked.

If the mouse click happens on the right half of the image or on the item's label, then the item has to be selected by calling the default lbuttondown handler of CTreeCtrl.

There is also another chance that the click can happen outside the tree items. In this case, rubber band selection is started.

void CCustomTreeCtrl::OnLButtonDown(UINT nFlags, CPoint point) 
{
 // TODO: Add your message handler code here and/or call default
 TV_HITTESTINFO tvHitInfo;
 tvHitInfo.pt = point;
 HTREEITEM hClickedItem = HitTest(&tvHitInfo );
 
 m_bAllowExpand = true;
 
 //Handling the click on the check box. 
 //If the click is ON the item icon find out whethere it is ON the check box
 //or on the image
 if(  hClickedItem )
 {
  PCUSTOMITEMDATA pCustData = (PCUSTOMITEMDATA) GetItemData(hClickedItem);
 
  if( pCustData && pCustData->m_bChecked && pCustData->m_bEnable )
  {   
   if( tvHitInfo.flags & TVHT_ONITEMICON )
   {
    CPoint pt = point;
 
    //Convert the point from client to screen coordinate
    ClientToScreen(&pt );
 
    //Get the full rect area
    CRect fullRect;
    GetItemRect( hClickedItem,&fullRect,FALSE );
 
    //Convert the rect into screen ordinates
    ClientToScreen( &fullRect );
 
    //Get the rect area of the label
    CRect labelRect;
    GetItemRect( hClickedItem,&labelRect,TRUE );
 
    //Convert the rect into screen ordinates
    ClientToScreen( &labelRect );
 
    //Get the rect of the image
    CRect imgRect;
    imgRect.left   = fullRect.left;
    imgRect.top    = fullRect.top;
    imgRect.right  = imgRect.left + ( labelRect.left - fullRect.left );
    imgRect.bottom = fullRect.bottom;
 
    //ImgRect contains both the check box image and image of the button
    //We want to know whether the check box is clicked or not. So get
    //the left half of the ImgRect which is nothing but the check box rect.
    int imgW,imgH;
    ImageList_GetIconSize( m_pImgList->GetSafeHandle(),&imgW,&imgH);
    imgRect.right -= imgW/2;
 
    //Now check the click point is there in this rect. If so the click is on the
    //check box of the item
    if( imgRect.PtInRect( pt ) )
    {
     m_bAllowExpand = false;
     CUSTNMHDR chdr;
     chdr.m_hdr.hwndFrom =  m_hWnd;
     chdr.m_hdr.idFrom  =  ::GetDlgCtrlID(m_hWnd);
     chdr.m_hdr.code   =  TVN_STATEICON_CLICKED;
     chdr.m_hItem     =  hClickedItem;
     chdr.m_data      =  (PCUSTOMITEMDATA) GetItemData(hClickedItem);
     SendMessage(TVN_STATEICON_CLICKED, (WPARAM)&chdr, (LPARAM)chdr.m_hdr.idFrom );              
     return;     
    }
   }  
  }
 }
 
 
 //If the click is not on the item and not on the item button means enable the
 //banding
 if( !(tvHitInfo.flags & TVHT_ONITEM) && !(tvHitInfo.flags & TVHT_ONITEMBUTTON) )
 {
  if( GetEditControl( ) )
  {
   CTreeCtrl::OnLButtonDown(nFlags, point);
   return;
  }
 
  //if there is no selected item then ON the banding
  m_bIsBandingON = true;
 
  //Store the starting point
  m_startPt = m_endPt = point;
 
  //Remove the selection
  int i = 0;
  for( ; i < m_vecSelectedItems.size(); i++ )
  {
   HTREEITEM hItem = m_vecSelectedItems[i];
   SetItemState( m_vecSelectedItems[i],~TVIS_SELECTED,TVIS_SELECTED );
  }
 
  //This is important.If you dont select the NULL item, the GetSelectedItem will
  //always return the previous selected item.For example,select item1.Click the mouse
  //button somewhere on the tree and not on any of the tree item. So in previous loop
  //we have removed the selection flag of item1 [ highlighting of the items goes].
  //Now again click on item1.But the tree gives the item1 as selected [eventhough it is
  //not highlighted ]item1 and because of this we are not able to select item1.So make
  //forcefully that no item is selected by calling SelectItem(NULL ).Now it works.Great!!!!
  SelectItem( NULL );
   
  //Send the notification to the parent dialog about the selected items.
  //Collect the selected items. May be parent may seek this data.
  CollectSelectedItems();
  GetParent()->SendMessage( TREE_SELCHANGED,(WPARAM)(&m_vecSelectedItems),NULL ); 
  SetCapture();
  return;  
 } 
 //Capture the mouse
 SetCapture();
 Invalidate();
 CTreeCtrl::OnLButtonDown(nFlags, point);
 
}

Handling the RButtonDown message

Right button click can happen at:

  1. An Item:
    • Item is selected already: Show only the context menu of the right clicked item.
    • Item which is not selected: Discard all the selected items and select only the right clicked item and show the context menu associated with it.
  2. Outside the items: Not handled right now.

Note: The command of the menu shown during the right click of the menu is specific to the right clicked item. I mean if there are three items selected and a right click is done on one of the selected items, the menu command is applied to the right clicked item only and not for all the selected items. My requirement was like that and it can be changed to work on all selected items, if needed.

void CCustomTreeCtrl::OnRButtonDown(UINT nFlags, CPoint point) 
{
 TV_HITTESTINFO tvHitInfo;
 tvHitInfo.pt = point;
 m_hRClickItem = NULL;
 m_hRClickItem = HitTest(&tvHitInfo );
 
 //Get the custom data of the item
 if( m_hRClickItem )
 {
  //If the item was already in selected state, then show only the context menu
  if( GetItemState( m_hRClickItem,TVIS_SELECTED ) & TVIS_SELECTED )
  {
   //Dont do any thing. Just show the context menu
  }
  else
  {
   //If there are some already selected items, deselect them and select the right clicked item
   //and show the context menu
   int iSelItemCtr = 0;
   for( ; iSelItemCtr < m_vecSelectedItems.size( ); iSelItemCtr++ )
   {
    SetItemState(m_vecSelectedItems[iSelItemCtr],~TVIS_SELECTED,TVIS_SELECTED );
   }
   SelectItem(NULL);
 
   //Select the right clicked item
   SetItemState(m_hRClickItem,TVIS_SELECTED,TVIS_SELECTED );   
 
   //As this is the only selected item, have only this in the m_vecSelectedItems
   m_vecSelectedItems.clear( );
   m_vecSelectedItems.push_back( m_hRClickItem );
   GetParent()->SendMessage( TVN_SELECTION_CHANGED,(WPARAM)(&m_vecSelectedItems),NULL ); 
  }
 
  //Show Context menu
 } 
}

Handling mouse move message

  1. Drag mode ON: If the drag mode is ON, then a drag image list is prepared based on the selected items and shown at the mouse position. We know that CTreeCtrl::CreateDragImage is used to create the drag image of an item. But this tree control allows you to drag multiple tree items, and we have to prepare our own drag image list. Refer to the function GetImageListForDrag which is being prepared at OnBeginDrag which is the handler for TVN_BEGINDRAG. The TVN_BEGINDRAG message is handled by the tree control itself by a message reflection mechanism. If the mouse is on an item, store the item as target for the drop operation.
  2. Rubber band mode ON: When rubber band mode is ON, a rectangle is drawn by using a point stored during the left mouse button down and the current mouse point.
void CCustomTreeCtrl::OnMouseMove(UINT nFlags, CPoint point) 
{
 //If dragging is enabled then drag image
 if( m_bIsDragging )
 {
  m_hDragTargetItem = NULL;
  if( m_pDragImageList )
  {
   // Move the drag image to the next position 
   m_pDragImageList->DragMove(point);
   
   //DragShowNolock:Shows or hides the drag image during a drag operation,
   //without locking the window.
   //As the window is locked during the BeginDrag,if you dont unlock
   //using DragShowNoLock(), the previosly highlighted target wont be
   //refreshed.So it will remain in highlighted state.
   m_pDragImageList->DragShowNolock(false );
 
   //Based on the mouse position keep updating the target node for the drop operation
   UINT flags;
   m_hDragTargetItem = HitTest( point,&flags );
 
   //If the target is not a valid one for dropping the show the nocursor
   PCUSTOMITEMDATA pTargetData = NULL;
 
   ::SetCursor( m_defaultCursor);
 
   if( m_hDragTargetItem )
   {
    pTargetData = (PCUSTOMITEMDATA) GetItemData(m_hDragTargetItem);
   
    //if both source and target are same,show invalid cursor
    if( m_hDragSourceItem == m_hDragTargetItem )
    {
     ::SetCursor( m_noCursor );        
    }
 
    if( !pTargetData->m_bDropTarget )
     ::SetCursor( m_noCursor );        
   } 
        
   if( m_hDragTargetItem )
   {
    //Highlight the target item
    SelectDropTarget( m_hDragTargetItem );
 
    //Expand the target item if it is not in the disbaled state
    if( pTargetData )
     if( pTargetData->m_bEnable )
      Expand( m_hDragTargetItem,TVE_EXPAND);
 
    //Again lock the window
    m_pDragImageList->DragShowNolock(true );    
   
   }   
  }
 }
 else if( m_bIsBandingON )
 {
  CClientDC dc(this);
  InvertRectangle( &dc,m_startPt,m_endPt );
  InvertRectangle( &dc,m_startPt,point );
  m_endPt = point;
 }
 CTreeCtrl::OnMouseMove(nFlags, point);
}

Handling LButtonUp message

  1. If Drag mode is ON, then check for valid dragged items and valid target items [updated during the mouse move]. If both dragged items and target item is there, then check whether the target item is a valid target for drop operation by checking the m_bDropTarget member of the PCUSTOMDATA associated with the target item. If so, then copy all the dragged items under the target item.
  2. If Ruuber band mode is ON, then find out all the items under the rectangle and select them.

Handling TVN_BEGINDRAG message

As mentioned earlier, this handler prepares the drag image for the list of selected items. This message is handled by the tree itself by a message reflection mechanism.

Handling TVN_BEGINLABELEDIT message

This message is handled by the tree itself by a message reflection mechanism. This handler checks whether label editing is allowed for this item by checking the m_bEditable of CUSTOMITEMDATA associated with the item. Label editing is not allowed for disabled items.

Handling TVN_ITEMEXPANDING message

Expansion is allowed only if the item is enabled and a click happens on the item image and not on the check box [if the item has a check box].

If expansion is allowed, then get the image representing the expanded state of the item and set it to the item.

Handling TVN_SELCHANGING and TVN_SELCHANGED messages

These handlers basically handle the extended selection using CTRL key and arrow keys.

Handling the ON_WM_PAINT message

Basically we are doing custom drawing for all items. Why not the default drawing? Because each item has its own color, boldness of text, etc. So we handle the drawing of items. Apart from that we do one more thing to add a better appeal and look for the item. Do you remember, if the item does not have a check box then we are appending an empty bitmap so that the size of the image used in the image list is the same. This empty image will give the following look if you do the default drawing:

Can you see the space between the item image and the label? I'm painting a rectangle with the appropriate background color to hide the default drawing and adjust the rectangle used to draw the label by offsetting the left side, to get the following output:

I'm using a function called IteateItems which is basically used to iterate all the items of the tree and for each item, it calls the callback function passed to IterateItems. I'll be using IterateItems at many places like for finding out the items inside the rubber band rectangle, while drawing all the items, while finding out the list of selected items, etc.

This function takes the callback function to be called for each item, starts an item from where the iteration is to be started, end item for the iteration, and any specific info for the callback function as parameters. This function internally calls ScanItem which is called recursively until the end item for the iteration is reached.

void CCustomTreeCtrl::IterateItems( ScanCallBackFunc func,
       HTREEITEM hIterStart /*= NULL*/,
       HTREEITEM hIterEnd, /*= NULL*/
       void* pInfo /*=NULL*/
       )
{
 //If there is no start then take the root item
 HTREEITEM hStart = GetRootItem(); 
 if( !hIterStart )
  hIterStart = hStart;
 
 m_bContinueScan = true;
 m_bStartFound = false;
 ScanItems( func,hStart,hIterStart,hIterEnd,pInfo );
}

Scope for improvement

I found there are some issues with the code which can be fixed in future versions.

  1. For example, if you drag multiple images, the drag image shows the stacked view instead of the tree view. This is because I'm just stacking all the images of the items in a bigger bitmap and adding to the drag image list like this:
  2. When you do rubber band selection, the rubber band rectangle should completely enclose the item vertically to get selected. I mean the top and bottom rectangle of the item should lie within the rubber band rectangle. Otherwise the item won't be selected.
  3. Still, there can be many issues which I may not have noticed.

Practical application

This tree control can be used for various purposes like listing out an entire directory structure where checked items represent folders with Read only permission and disabled items represent hidden folders/files. Or to represent a company and its ongoing projects and members associated with projects, as demonstrated in this example. A checkbox can be given to a billable project and the disabled items can represent the projects which are dropped, or a person who is no more active in the project, etc.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

syed_babu
Software Developer
India India
I'm working as Senior software Engineer since 7 years and interested in MFC and COM programming.

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionThe code PinmvpMika Wendelius29-Jan-13 17:51 
AnswerRe: The code PinmvpSandeep Mewara29-Jan-13 18:15 
AnswerRe: The code Pinmembersyed_babu29-Jan-13 22:01 
GeneralRe: The code PinmvpMika Wendelius29-Jan-13 23:25 

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