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sdef(5) [osx man page]

SDEF(5) 						      BSD File Formats Manual							   SDEF(5)

sdef -- scripting definition file DESCRIPTION
Scripting definition files (sdefs) are XML files that describe everything about an application scripting interface: terminology, implementa- tion information, and complete documentation. Applications may incorporate them to define their own scriptability, and scripting clients such as AppleScript and Scripting Bridge read them to determine what operations an application supports. BASICS
To read this man page, you should know what ``element'' and ``attribute'' mean in an XML document. To create an sdef, you should know how to create well-formed XML; use of an XML editor will probably make your life easier. For basic concepts and style guidelines, see Technical Note TN2106, Scripting Interface Guidelines. Knowledge of AppleScript is helpful but not necessary; see the AppleScript Language Guide, especially chapters 4 (Commands) and 5 (Objects and References). If you have already been working with sdefs in an older version of Mac OS X, read the History section, since there have been changes to the format. If you are using Cocoa, Cocoa Scripting as of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) supports using sdefs directly rather than preprocessing them with sdp(1); see the Sdef Scriptability Guide for Cocoa for details. If you are familiar with AppleScript or with writing aete resources, most of the sdef elements will be familiar to you. If you are not, or if you want to know how sdef elements map to your implementation language, here is a brief translation guide. Many of these equivalents are not exact; for more detailed information, see the definitions in the Reference section. sdef code class class class-extension category property property (ObjC), member variable (C++), attribute (XML), to-one relation element element (XML), to-many relation command, event method (ObjC), member function (C++) parameter parameter direct parameter self (ObjC), this (C++) STRUCTURE
There are two broad categories of elements: terminology element: An element that defines a term usable in a script: class, command, contents, enumerator, event, parameter, property, record-type, and value-type. implementation element: An element that holds implementation information for a particular application framework. Currently, the only imple- mentation element is the cocoa element. The element structure of an sdef is as follows. Indentation shows containment, and '*', '+', and '?' have their usual EBNF meanings: '*' means zero or more, '+' means one or more, and '?' means zero or one (i.e., optional). dictionary (the root element) suite+ (class | class-extension | command | enumeration | event | record-type | value-type) + enumeration enumerator+ record-type property+ class | class-extension contents? property* element* accessor* responds-to* command | event direct-parameter? parameter* result? The elements listed above may also contain documentation, implementation, synonym, and xref elements, as noted here: element occurs in documentation dictionary, suite, and all terminology elements implementation all but dictionary synonym all terminology elements xref suite children: class, class-extension, command, enumeration, event, record-type, and value-type. Including Other Scripting Definitions If you wish to re-export scripting features from a framework your application links to, such as AppKit, you should include the sdef of that framework in your own. (Sdef-based applications have only the scripting interface that they explicitly declare. This is in contrast to the older scriptSuite scheme, which would automatically import scripting interface from any loaded bundles.) To do this, use an XInclude element ( pointing to the desired file. Sdefs for system frameworks are located in /System/Library/ScriptingDefinitions. For example, the sdef for a typical Cocoa application would begin with this: <dictionary xmlns:xi=""> <xi:include href="file:///System/Library/ScriptingDefinitions/CocoaStandard.sdef" xpointer="xpointer(/dictionary/suite)" /> ... By using inclusion instead of copying and pasting, your application will automatically stay up to date with changes to the framework. Only include a framework sdef if you also link to that framework; otherwise you run the risk of your application interface disagreeing with what it actually implements. REFERENCE
Common Attributes The following attributes are common to several of the element types described below. name For terminology elements, the scripting term for the element. Names must be one or more C identifiers (i.e., [A-Za-z_][A-Za-z0-9_]*) separated by a space. (Other elements have name attributes too, but for different purposes and with different content rules.) id (optional) A unique identifier for the element. Use one when you want to refer to one of a set of identically named elements in a responds-to or xref element. code The four-character code (eight-character for verbs) for the element. AppleScript and the Apple Event Manager use these codes to handle dispatching. ``Character'' is something of a misnomer; a four-character code is really four bytes of data expressed as a string of four characters in the Mac OS Roman encoding. A code may also be expressed as hexadecimal data with a leading ``0x''. For example, ``ABCD'' and ``0x41424344'' are equivalent. This is useful when one of the bytes is not in the printable ASCII range of 0x20 to 0x7E, such as the code ``0x00000001''. type The type of an element, property, or parameter. The value must be one of the primitive types 'any', 'text', 'integer', 'real', 'number', 'boolean', 'specifier', 'location specifier', 'record', 'date', 'file', 'point', 'rectangle', 'type', or 'missing value', or the name of a class, enumeration, record-type, or value-type defined elsewhere in the sdef. To specify a complex type such as ``list of integer'' or ``number or text'', use a type element as described below. Usage of type attributes changed significantly in Mac OS X 10.4; see History for details. description (optional) A short description of the element. hidden (optional) If an element is marked hidden, it is not shown in the dictionary, though it is still implemented. This is useful for obsolete or not-ready-for-prime-time scripting features. Cocoa scriptTerminology files do not support hidden terms; for best results, build an 'aete' into your application as well. The value may be 'yes' or 'no' (the default). Elements accessor Accessors define which access forms an element supports. There are six forms: index numeric index (window 1) name named element (window "Bob") id unique id (file id 8727). Ids are often numeric, but don't have to be. range a range of elements (records 4 through 12) relative relative to another object (word before paragraph 2) test objects satisfying a test (shapes whose color is blue) Accessor elements are currently only useful for aetes; Cocoa Scripting ignores them and figures out supported forms based on the element's properties. ATTRIBUTES style index | name | id | range | relative | test class An abstract object definition that lists the properties, elements, and supported verbs for instances of that class. Class instances are called ``objects.'' CONTAINS implementation?, synonym*, contents?, element*, property*, responds-to* ATTRIBUTES name As above. id As above. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. plural (optional) The plural name of the class. If omitted, defaults to the name with 's' appended. inherits (optional) The class, if any, that this one descends from. class-extension An extension to an existing class; in Objective-C terms, a category. Use one of these when you want to add behavior to an existing class, such as the base ``application'' class, without defining a subclass. You can also use it to break a class defi- nition across multiple suites. A class-extension has mostly the same content as a class, but because it is extending an exist- ing class, it does not define its own name or code, but instead an 'extends' attribute. A class-extension may have a cocoa element, depending on how it is implemented: despite its resemblance to an Objective-C cate- gory, the implementation of a class-extension may in fact be a subclass. For example, when defining your own document class, the sdef would extend the standard ``document'' definition, but the implementation would be a subclass of NSDocument. If the implementation is an Objective-C category, then a cocoa element is not required; if it is a subclass, then use a cocoa element with a 'class' attribute naming the subclass. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym*, contents?, element*, property*, responds-to* ATTRIBUTES extends The name of the class this element extends. id As above. description As above. hidden As above. cocoa Holds implementation information for Cocoa Scripting. Use the appropriate attribute for the containing element to describe the relevant bit of Cocoa implementation. ATTRIBUTES class An Objective-C class name: use for classes and the CommandClass of verbs. key A string key for an NSDictionary of parameters, or a KVC key name for a property or element. method An Objective-C method name: use for responds-to methods. boolean-value, string-value, integer-value A value for an enumerator. For 'boolean-value', the value may be YES or NO; for 'string-value', any text; and for 'integer-value', any integer. You may use at most one of these three attributes in a given cocoa element. The default value is the numeric value of the enumerator's 'code' attribute. insert-at-beginning This attribute may appear in cocoa elements attached to element elements. Its value may be 'yes', meaning that new items will be added at the beginning if their position is not specified, or 'no', the default, meaning that they will be added at the end. See the Foundation release notes for more details. name A name used internally by Cocoa Scripting: use for suites, command and event key names, enumerations, and enumera- tors. This attribute is only used for compatibility with older scriptSuite files; ordinary sdefs do not need it. cocoa elements are optional; if omitted, sdp(1) will generate a default name. The basic rule is to capitalize each word of the element's name except the first, and then to remove any spaces. There are two special cases: classes also capitalize the first word, and elements start with the plural of the specified element type. For example: element default name <class name="refresh rate"> RefreshRate <property name="current resolution"> currentResolution <element type="monitor"> monitors This default name becomes the 'class' for classes, the 'key' for properties, elements, and parameters, and the 'name' for suites, verbs, enumerations, and enumerators. In Cocoa, verbs are implemented by a class, which Cocoa refers to in scriptSuite files as the CommandClass; the default is always NSScriptCommand. An explicit cocoa element is only necessary if you want to override these defaults. WARNING: The above is correct for sdp(1), but not for Cocoa Scripting. See Bugs. command (aka method, member function; see also event) Commands and events, collectively called ``verbs,'' are messages that may be sent to an object. For documentation purposes, sdefs distinguish between commands, which are verbs a script would send to an object (e.g., ``close''), and events, which are notifications sent to an object by a framework or system service (e.g., ``did close''). Unlike most object-oriented languages, verbs are defined independently of any particular class; a class may then list the verbs that it responds to. To Java and Objective-C programmers, sdef verbs therefore resemble protocols more than member functions. You may specify the same command more than once with different parameters, such as to define a polymorphic ``open'' command that has different parameters depending on whether it is applied to a document or a database. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym*, direct-parameter?, parameter*, result? ATTRIBUTES name As above. id As above. code As above; event codes are eight characters. description As above. hidden As above. contents contents is a special type of property: like a property, it defines a unique data member, but its name and code are optional; if omitted, they default to ``contents'' and 'pcnt', respectively. There may be at most one contents element in a class. In addition, Cocoa Scripting will treat the contents property as its class's implied container: scripts may refer to properties and elements of the contents property as if they belong to the class. For example, TextEdit documents have a ``text'' contents property. Technically, the first word of a document is ``word 1 of text of document 1'', but because ``text'' is an implied container, a script can also say ``word 1 of document 1''. dictionary The root element of an sdef. CONTAINS suite+ ATTRIBUTES title (optional) The title of the dictionary, which appears in the dictionary display. direct-parameter direct-parameter is a special type of parameter: like a parameter, it defines a value included with a verb, but it has no 'name' or 'code' attribute, and may not be hidden. There may be at most one direct-parameter element in a verb. The direct parameter of a verb is a value that appears immediately after the verb and specifies its target. The type of the direct parameter is usually an application class. For example, in the command ``close window 1'', the direct parameter is ``window 1''. Not all verbs have a direct parameter; in such cases, omit this element. In Cocoa Scripting, the direct parameter is the object to which the message is sent (i.e., ``self'') if the direct parameter is an application class. Otherwise, the message is sent to the application object with the direct parameter's value as a normal parameter. documentation When an element needs more exposition than a simple 'description' attribute can provide, use a documentation element. A documentation element may contain any number of html elements, which contain text that will be displayed at that point in the dictionary. The text may contain HTML markup tags, but in order to keep the XML processor from interpreting them as XML, they must be escaped using either entities or a CDATA section, for example: <documentation> <html> For answers to commonly asked questions about &lt;i&gt;do shell script&lt;/i&gt;, see <![CDATA[ <a href="">TN2065</a>. ]]> </html> </documentation> Bear in mind that an sdef is intended to be a reference, not a tutorial. If you want to include any lengthy material, consider using a link to an external resource. element (aka to-many relation.) An object contained in another one. An object may have any number of elements of a given class, includ- ing none at all, and may have any number of element classes. For example, the documents of an application are elements. CONTAINS implementation?, accessor* ATTRIBUTES type As above. description As above. hidden As above. access (optional) The allowed access for the element class: 'r' for read-only, 'w' for write-only and 'rw' for read-write (the default). enumeration A list of symbolic constants (enumerators). For example, the type of the ``saving'' parameter for ``close'' is the enumeration yes/no/ask. CONTAINS implementation?, enumerator+ ATTRIBUTES name As above. id As above. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. inline (optional) Controls how many enumerators are displayed in-line. By default (with no attribute), all enumerators are displayed in-line. For example: sdef: <enumeration name="save options"> <enumerator name="yes"/> <enumerator name="no"/> <enumerator name="ask"/> </enumeration> <parameter name="saving" type="save options"/> display: saving yes/no/ask By specifying a number, that number of enumerators will be listed in-line, with a link to the complete definition. To show only the enumeration name, use ``inline="0"''. For example: inline="2" saving yes/no/more... inline="0" saving save options This attribute only affects the display; it has no semantic meaning. enumerator A symbolic constant. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym* ATTRIBUTES name As above. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. event See command. parameter A named value included with a verb. Parameter names are often prepositions: ``with'', ``by'', etc. CONTAINS implementation? ATTRIBUTES name As above. code As above. type As above. description As above. hidden As above. optional (optional) Indicates whether the parameter is optional or required. The value may be 'yes' (optional) or 'no' (required; the default). property (aka field, instance variable, to-one relation.) A unique data member of an object. Properties always have a name, and there is always exactly one of them with a given name in an object. For example, the name of a document is a property. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym* ATTRIBUTES name As above. code As above. type As above. description As above. hidden As above. access (optional) 'r', 'w', or 'rw' (the default), as for element. in-properties (optional) For frameworks that provide automatic support for a ``properties'' property, indicates whether or not this property should not be included. The value may be 'yes' (the default) or 'no'. record-type A simple structure, as opposed to a class. (In C terms, a ``POD'' or ``plain old data'' type.) Points, rectangles, and print settings are all record-types. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym*, property+ ATTRIBUTES name As above. id As above. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. plural As for class. WARNING: scriptSuite and scriptTerminology files do not support record-type elements. You must use an sdef file directly. responds-to Defines a verb that a class responds to. Cocoa Scripting only requires these in order to define a custom method for handling a verb (see cocoa); they are otherwise purely for documentation. CONTAINS implementation? ATTRIBUTES command The name or id of the verb. (This attribute used to be called 'name'; see History.) hidden As above. result The type of value generated when a verb is executed. If there is no result, omit this element. result is a special case of parameter; it has only 'type' and 'description' attributes and may not be hidden or optional. suite A collection of related terms. Suites are purely an organizational aid to the user; they have no impact on scripts. There is no technical limit on how many items a suite can contain, but 10 to 15 items is considered a comfortable size. CONTAINS implementation?, (class | command | enumeration | event | record-type | value-type)+ ATTRIBUTES name The name of the suite, which appears in the dictionary display. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. synonym Defines an alternate term or code for the main element. ATTRIBUTES name The alternate name, which follows the rules for terminology element names. code The alternate code. hidden As above. At least one of 'name' or 'code' is required. Depending on which attributes are present, the element will have different effects: Name only Use these to define an alternate term that may be used at compile time. It will decompile as the main term. For example, AppleScript uses ``app'' as a name-only synonym for ``application''. Cocoa scriptTerminology files do not support these; generate an 'aete' resource for your application as well. Code only Use these when migrating from one code to another. (Typically, this happens when correcting an older version of the dictionary which used a non-standard code.) Compiled scripts that use the synonym code will decompile using the main term. Code-only synonyms are implicitly hidden. Because of how Cocoa scriptSuite files work, they must contain a cocoa element with a 'method' or 'key' attribute in order to generate a correct scriptSuite file. Name and Code Use these to define an alternate term that is preserved across compilation. Effectively, this is a separate term that hap- pens to act the same as the main one. As with code-only synonyms, they must contain a cocoa element to generate a correct scriptSuite file. Sdef synonym elements have nothing to do with 'Synonyms' sections in Cocoa's suite definition files. Those are a trick to allow two different classes in the dictionary to share the same implementation class; this is necessary because suite definition files use the implementation class name as a key. If you have two classes that happen to share the same implementation, declare them separately, and point their cocoa elements at the same class. sdp(1) will do the right thing and generate a 'Synonyms' section for you. type Any element that has a type attribute may instead have one or more type elements. (Using both in the same element is an error.) Using more than one type element indicates that any of the types are allowed; using the 'list' attribute indicates a list of the specified type. Using type elements inside type elements, such as to express ``list of list of integer'', is not currently sup- ported. ATTRIBUTES type As above. list (optional) Indicates that the full type is a list of the type specified by the 'type' attribute. May be 'yes' or 'no' (the default). hidden As above. EXAMPLES tabs (list of integer): <property name="tabs"> <type type="integer" list="yes"/> </property> frequency (number or text): <property name="frequency"> <type type="number"/> <type type="text"/> </property> value-type A simple type definition. A value-type has no properties and no elements accessible by your scripting; it is useful for defin- ing new basic types, such as an image. CONTAINS implementation?, synonym* ATTRIBUTES name As above. id As above. code As above. description As above. hidden As above. plural As for class. cocoa elements for value-type elements should declare the backing Cocoa class (typically NSData) using the 'class' attribute, and may also declare the qualifier name using the 'name' attribute, but this is only used inside the scriptSuite file. For example, an ``image'' type might be declared like this: <value-type name="image" code="PICT"> <cocoa class="NSData" name="Image"/> </value-type> xref A cross-reference. These are purely for documentation purposes; use one to refer to another suite child that is somehow related. For example, ``open'' might have a cross-reference to ``close''. The cross-referenced element does not need to be of the same type as the original; a class may refer to a command, for example. ATTRIBUTES target The name or id of the referenced item. hidden As above. EXAMPLES
/Developer/Examples/AppKit/Sketch. SEE ALSO
sdp(1), /System/Library/DTDs/sdef.dtd, TN2106: Scripting Interface Guidelines <>, Sdef Scriptability Guide for Cocoa <>. HISTORY
To upgrade an old sdef to the current format, you can use xsltproc(1) with the supplied transform: xsltproc /usr/share/sdef/upgrade.xsl my.sdef > upgraded.sdef Changes in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): o Added xref elements. o html elements (children of documentation elements) are now declared to contain text, not XHTML elements. For example: before: <html><b>Important</b><html> after: <html><![CDATA[<b>Important</b>]]><html> Both forms work in 10.4 and 10.5, but the former is now deprecated. o The 'name' attribute of responds-to elements is now called 'command', and may be an id or a name. Changes in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger): o ``collector'' elements such as classes, types, and properties no longer exist. Their former children should be moved to their immediate ancestor element. In general, children may be freely mixed now. For example, placing a command element next to a class element is per- fectly acceptable. o Some primitive types changed their names: 'string' is now 'text', 'object' is now 'specifier', and 'location' is now 'location specifier'. o Complex types such as 'list of integer' or 'number or text' are now expressed using type elements, not complex strings. For example: before: <property name="tabs" type="list of integer"/> after: <property name="tabs"> <type type="integer" list="yes"/> </property> before: <property name="frequency" type="number | text"/> after: <property name="frequency"> <type type="number"/> <type type="text"/> </property> See the type documentation for complete details. o Boolean attributes, that is, optional and hidden, now accept 'yes' and 'no' as values (formerly the attribute name, e.g. 'hidden="hidden"'). o The not-in-properties attribute is now named in-properties; its possible values are 'yes' (the default) and 'no'. o cocoa elements of property and element elements now use a 'key' attribute (formerly 'method'). o The default Cocoa key for element elements is now the type's plural (formerly its name). BUGS
Cocoa Scripting requires cocoa elements in some places that should be optional: class, parameter, responds-to, and value-type elements all must have cocoa sub-elements. Mac OS X August 30, 2006 Mac OS X
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