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Posted 27 Mar 2002

CTreeView Iterator

, 27 Mar 2002
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An iterator to parse subtree and execute function on each item/node

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Don't you find you have written the same segment of code many times to parse a subtree because the action you wanted to launch on the items was different. In order to avoid such code, I've written CTreeViewIterator class. This class contains a method called ApplyFunction to launch a function on each item/node of a subtree.


The class I've written is dedicated to Explorer like applications (those with a CTreeView class on the left side). In that section, we're going to see how to use CTreeViewIterator in that general case. In the section Adaptation, we'll see how to modify it to use it in other cases.

When you generate your application using the wizard, Visual C++ doesn't give you the capability to choose the CTreeView class implementation. Therefore, you have to have a CLeftView in your application. In the LeftView.cpp file, add the following line in the include section.

#include "TreeViewIterator.h"

You're now able to use the CTreeViewIterator class in that module.

You must define the function that will receive the item/node as parameter. This function will be external to your CLeftView class even if defined in the same module. If you don't define it in this module, do not forget to create a definition to set it visible from this module. If for any reason, you do want to set it as a method of your CLeftView class, please read the Adaptation section. The signature of this function is predefined. It must be like this:

int ExternalFunction ( CLeftView *tvTreeView,  /* Handle on the tree view*/
                       HTREEITEM  tiItem )     /* Item in the tree */ 
  • This function must return an integer set to 1 if ok, 0 else.
  • The first parameter is to be a CLeftView*. It will receive a handle on the CLeftView to let you use. 
  • The second parameter is to be a HTREEITEM. It will receive a handle on the currently parsed item/node.

For example, let's consider this function:

//   FUNCTION: ExternalDisplayItem
//   RETURNS:  int
//   COMMENTS: External function to display the subtree as a list
int ExternalDisplayItem (   
    CLeftView  *tvTree,     /* Handle on the tree */   
    HTREEITEM   tiItem )    /* Item in the tree */
    CTreeCtrl  &tTree= tvTree->GetTreeCtrl (); 

    // store the name
    tvTree->sFullList += tTree.GetItemText(tiItem) + "\r\n";

    return ( 1);

The goal here, is to store the subtree as a list in a string. So, the only thing the external function has to do is getting the name and concatenating it to the full list. To do so, it will use an attribute created in the CLeftView called sFullList (type CString). Since we got a handle on the CLeftView as first parameter, there's no problem till the attribute is public (if not, we should have used public methods like get & set). Using this method, you may update the tree item/node or the CLeftView the way you want.  

Now you have the function to apply to each item/node, you have to call it. To do so, you'll have to implement first the iterator and then, to call the ApplyFunction method with the right parameters.  

The ApplyFunction's signature is:

int CTreeViewIterator::ApplyFunction ( 
    CLeftView   *tvView,            /* Handler on the tree view */ 
    HTREEITEM    tiStart,           /* Item to start with */ 
    FuncPtrView  fptrFunction  )    /* Function to launch */
  • This function returns an integer set to 1 if ok, -1 if problem when parsing subtree, 0 if problem when calling the external function.
  • The first parameter is a handle on the CLeftView derived from CTreeView.
  • The second parameter is a handle on the item/node to consider as the root when parsing the subtree.
  • fptrFunction is a function pointer to the external function you previously created.

Using our precedent external function, we got this code:

//  FUNCTION:   OnSelchanged
//  RETURNS:    void
//  COMMENTS:   Current selected item has changed
void CLeftView::OnSelchanged (
    NMHDR   *pNMHDR,    /* handle on event values */
    LRESULT *pResult )  /* handle on event return value */
    CTreeCtrl   &tTree = this->GetTreeCtrl ();

    // create the iterator
    CTreeViewIterator   *ptrTree =   (CTreeViewIterator *) &tTree; 
    // call the  function
    sFullList= ""; 
    ptrTree->ApplyFunction (this, pNMTreeView->itemNew.hItem, 
                            &ExternalDisplayItem ); 
    GetDocument()->UpdateAllViews ( this, 1L, (CObject *) &sFullList  );

    *pResult = 0;   

The method OnSelChanged is launched when the user has selected a new item/node in the treeview. Here, we have caught it to add our function call. As you can see, we first add the iterator implementation with:

CTreeViewIterator  *ptrTree = (CTreeViewIterator *)  tTree;

In fact, we may consider the iterator on the CTreeCtrl as a shell with a special method. Therefore, within ApplyFunction method, we will see the content of the CTreeCtrl to parse.

We now have to get the parameters:

  • The first one, the handle on the CLeftView is easy to get, it's this variable.
  • The second is the handle on the item/node. Since we are in the method that catches the new selection, we are going to extract the item address within the parameter pNMHDR using two lines:
    NM_TREEVIEW *pNMTreeView =   (NM_TREEVIEW *) pNMHDR; // to cast the event param
    pNMTreeView->itemNew.hItem // to refer to the new selected item
  • The last parameter is the handle on the external function we created.

That way, we obtain the following call:

ptrTree->ApplyFunction (this, pNMTreeView->itemNew.hItem, &ExternalDisplayItem ); 

Since this event may be caught many times, we initialize the variable sFullList before we parse the subtree.

When the ApplyFunction is finished, we update the other views with the generated string using the method UpdateAllViews.

Here we are, catching the UpdateAllViews event isn't the subject here but you may have a look at the sample project to get an idea.


That section is to explain you how to upgrade the CTreeViewIterator to adapt it to your own case. I wrote it as a FAQ. I'll update it with the cases you will propose. So, what's your problem?

Question: My CTreeView class is not named CLeftView.

Answer: Change the CTreeView classname in:

  • The function pointer's signature
  • The ApplyFunction definition
  • The ApplyFunction implementation

Question: I want to set the called function a method of my class CLeftView.

Answer: You just have to change the function pointer's signature to add your class. For example, try this:

  • Change the External function to a public method called DisplayItem in CLeftView class.
  • Change the signature to:
    typedef int ( CLeftView::*FuncPtrView ) ( CLeftView * tTree, HTREEITEM tiItem );
  • Change the call of ApplyFunction method to:
    ptrTree->ApplyFunction (this, pNMTreeView->itemNew.hItem, &CLeftView::DisplayItem );
  • In ApplyFunction implementation, change the function call to:
    ( tvView->*fptrFunction ) ( tvView, tiCurrItem )


This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.


About the Author

Julien Martino
Web Developer
France France
After years passed in services companies, I now work for Euromaster, an international group dedicated to vehicules maintenance. I also develop for my own usage. I both use Java and C++ languages and now, I integrate XML documents and XSL syntax in my applications even if SQL Databases like Oracle remain my main data sources

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionHow to set ActiveView Pin
deodiaus13-Jan-06 10:45
memberdeodiaus13-Jan-06 10:45 
Generalhelp my Pin
Anonymous20-Apr-04 9:43
memberAnonymous20-Apr-04 9:43 
GeneralRe: help my Pin
Julien Martino28-Apr-04 1:24
memberJulien Martino28-Apr-04 1:24 
GeneralGreat And Simple article but i need some more info Pin
Vikrant Vikrant22-Sep-03 10:20
memberVikrant Vikrant22-Sep-03 10:20 
GeneralRe: Great And Simple article but i need some more info Pin
Julien Martino23-Sep-03 23:06
memberJulien Martino23-Sep-03 23:06 
GeneralNice and simple to understand Pin
MarcK19-Sep-03 2:45
memberMarcK19-Sep-03 2:45 
GeneralRe: Nice and simple to understand Pin
Julien Martino21-Sep-03 21:35
memberJulien Martino21-Sep-03 21:35 
GeneralTreeView ItemLevel Pin
23-Jul-02 21:25
suss23-Jul-02 21:25 
GeneralRe: TreeView ItemLevel Pin
Julien Martino24-Jul-02 21:16
memberJulien Martino24-Jul-02 21:16 
GeneralRe: TreeView ItemLevel Pin
chepuri_uk25-Jul-02 19:36
memberchepuri_uk25-Jul-02 19:36 
Thanks for your reply.

I require more clarification.
In the given example :


If Item131 is selected, level should be 3.
Now can we get the ID of this item ( i.e item 131 )using Microsoft Tree Control API ? If yes, how ? any help ?

Thank you.
GeneralRe: TreeView ItemLevel Pin
Julien Martino25-Jul-02 19:57
memberJulien Martino25-Jul-02 19:57 
GeneralRe: TreeView ItemLevel Pin
chepuri_uk25-Jul-02 21:12
memberchepuri_uk25-Jul-02 21:12 

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