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MENUC(1)                    General Commands Manual                   MENUC(1)

     menuc - menu compiler

     menuc [-o name] file

     This implements a curses based menu system.  A source file that describes
     menus, their options, and how to process the options is given to menuc
     and produces both a .c and a .h file that implement the menu system.  The
     standard base name of the files is menu_defs.  The -o name can be used to
     specify a different base name.

     The input file defines static menus and options for processing those
     menus.  It also contains comments, initial C code that is required to
     provide for definitions and other code necessary for the menu system, and
     an option declaration if dynamic menus are requested.

     Comments may appear anywhere in the input file and are like a space in
     the input.  They are like C comments starting with /* and ending with */.
     They are unlike C comments in that they may be nested.  A comment does
     not end until a matching end comment is found.

     In many places, C code is included in the definition file.  All C code is
     passed verbatim to the C output file.  menuc comments do not start in C
     code and comments in the C code are passed verbatim to the output.  The C
     comments are not recognized by menuc.  In all cases, C code starts with a
     left brace (`{') and ends with the matching right brace (`}').  It is
     important to recognize that in code segments, any brace will be counted,
     even if it is in a C comment inside the code.

     The file contains an initial (and optional) code block followed by any
     number of menu definition elements in any order.  The initial code block
     usually contains includes of header files used by code in the menu code
     blocks later in the file.  If USER_MENU_INIT preprocessor symbol is
     defined, then it will be evaluated before the rest of the menu is
     initialised, if it evaluates to a non-zero value then the initialisation
     will fail.  The file is free format, so the actual formatting of the
     input file is to the taste of the programmer.

     All other C code that will appear in an action.  This will be specified
     as <action> in later text.  Such an action will appear as:

           action <opt_endwin> <code>

     in the file.  The <opt_endwin>, is optional `(endwin)' and specifies that
     the curses endwin(3) function should be called before executing the code
     and then reinstating the current curses window after the code has been
     run.  The <code> is as described above.

     There are four kinds of menu definition elements.  The first one just
     declares whether the programmer wants dynamic menus, dynamic messages and
     argument expansion in menus available.  All these option default to off
     (or static only).

     Static menus are the ones defined by the menu definitions and do not
     change at run time.  Dynamic menus provide the programmer with a method
     to create and modify menus during the running of the program.  To include
     dynamic menus, one needs only add the declaration:

           allow dynamic menus;

     The semicolon is required to terminate this declaration.  This
     declaration may appear anywhere in the file, but usually appears before
     any menus are defined.  See below for a detailed explanation of dynamic

     To enable internationalization by loading message files at run time one
     needs to add the declaration:

           allow dynamic messages;

     To allow argument expansion on static menu strings (see below for a
     detailed explanation), one needs to add the declaration:

           allow expand;

     The next element is a code block to execute if the curses screen can not
     be successfully initialized.  The declaration

           error action <code>;

     tells the menu system to execute the associated code block if the
     initialization fails.  If no code is provided, a default code block is
     used that prints "Could not initialize curses." and exits.  This element
     may appear anywhere in the file but usually appears before any menus are

     Each menu is built from a list of options.  These options include the
     location of the upper left corner of the menu, whether there is a "box"
     drawn around the menu, whether the menu is scrollable, the menu's title,
     whether shortcut letters are allowed, whether a standard exit option
     should be included in the menu and text associated with the standard exit

     The default declaration defines default options for menus.  The general
     format is:

           default <comma separated option list>;

     The supported options are:

           y = starty              The row number of the upper left corner of
                                   the menu window.  If starty is negative
                                   then the menu will be placed below any
                                   message text, but in at least row -starty.

           x = startx              The column number of the upper left corner
                                   of the menu window.  If startx is -1 the
                                   menu will be centered horizontally.

           h = height              Specifies the number of menu entries to be
                                   displayed.  If zero, the height will be
                                   based on the number of entries.

           w = width               Specifies the width of the menu window.  If
                                   zero, the width will be that of the longest
                                   menu text line.

           title text              The specified text will be displayed at the
                                   top of the menu window (inside any box).

           box                     If specified, draw a box around the menu.

           clear                   If specified, clear the window before
                                   performing the action.

           exit                    If specified, add an additional option to
                                   exit the menu.

           exitstring text         The menu label for the exit option.  If not
                                   specified defaults to "Exit".

           default exit            If specified, place the cursor on the exit
                                   line of the menu, instead of the top line.

           shortcut                If specified, add alphabetic tags to each
                                   menu line.

           scrollable              If specified, and the menu has more lines
                                   than will fit in its window, then only part
                                   of the menu will be displayed and the `<'
                                   and `>' keys will scroll the displayed menu

           always scroll           If specified, allow for the scroll message
                                   line even if the menu doesn't appear to
                                   have too many lines.  Useful for dynamic
                                   menus, when the number of entries isn't
                                   known when the menu window is created.

           sub menu                If specified, the screen contents that the
                                   menu window overwrites are saved and
                                   restored when the menu exits.

           continuous title        If specified there is no vertical space
                                   between the title and the menu content.

     The box, clear, exit, default exit, shortcut, scrollable, always scroll,
     and sub menu options can be preceded by no in order to negate a default.

     The text arguments can be either a quoted text string or a preprocessor
     symbol defined to something suitable for initialising a const char *

     The default declaration may appear multiple times.  Each time, it sets
     the default values for menu definitions that follow in the file.  In each
     menu definition, any or all of these default definitions may be
     overridden for that menu.

     The menu element is the actual static menu definitions.  The format and
     order for a menu definition is:

           menu <name> <options>;
             <expand action>
             <display action>
             <menu items>
             <exit action>
             <help text>

     Menu names are unquoted strings of alpha-numeric and underscore
     characters.  They must start with an alpha character.  In C source, a
     menu named "foo" is appears as MENU_foo.  (Capitalization is important.)
     This is important, because the menu is displayed and processed by calling
     the function

           process_menu(MENU_foo, arg);

     The options are a comma separated list of options as in the default
     declaration.  These override the options from the most recent default

     The expand action is optional and only available if the global option
     allow expand has been declared (see above).  For an example see below.

     The display action is optional and provides C code to execute at each and
     every time the menu is displayed for processing.  If it is included, the
     format is:

           display <action>;

     The bulk of the menu definition is the specification of the menu items.
     The general format of a menu item is:

           option <string>, <element_list>;

     The <string> is the text displayed for the menu item, this must be a
     quoted string or a preprocessor symbol defined to something that will
     initialise a const char * field.  There may be an arbitrary number of
     these items.  (If there are shortcuts in the menu, a practical limit of
     51 should be recognized.  It produces shortcuts `a' to `w', `y', `z', and
     `A' to `Z'.  `x' is the shortcut for the exit item.)

     The <element_list> is a comma separated list of what to do when the item
     is selected.  They may appear in any order.

     The first element processed when a menu item is selected is the
     associated action.  The next element to be processed is the sub or next
     menu option.  They are declared as:

           sub menu <name>
           next menu <name>

     The difference between these two is that a "sub" menu will return to the
     current menu when exited.  The "next" menu will just replace the current
     menu and when exited, will return to where the current menu would have
     gone.  Only one of menu element may be used for each menu item.  Finally,
     after processing both the action and a sub menu, the current menu will be
     exited if the element


     is specified.  Note: If exit is specified, next menu will not work
     because the menu system will exit the current menu, even if current has
     been set by next menu.

     After all menu items, the final two menu definition elements may appear.
     The <exit action> is optional and provides C code to execute in the
     process of exiting a menu.  If it is included, the format is:

           exit <action>;

     The final part of the menu definition is the optional <help string>.  The
     format is:

           help <text>;

     This text is displayed in a full page help window if the question mark is
     typed.  The actual help text starts with a left brace (`{') and ends with
     the matching right brace (`}').  The braces are not included in the help
     string, but all other characters between them are included.  Newlines in
     the code translate to newlines in the help text.  Alternatively, the name
     of a const char * variable may be given.

     If requested, menuc supports dynamic menus by allowing the user to create
     new menus.  The related definitions for using dynamic menus are:

     struct menudesc;

     struct menu_ent {
             const char  *opt_name;
             int         opt_menu;
             int         opt_flags;
             int         (*opt_action)(struct menudesc *, void *);
     } menu_ent ;

     /* For opt_menu */
     #define OPT_NOMENU 0

     /* For opt_flags */
     #define OPT_SUB     1
     #define OPT_ENDWIN  2
     #define OPT_EXIT    4
     #define OPT_IGNORE  8
     #define OPT_NOSHORT 16

     struct menudesc {
             const char  *title;
             int         y, x;
             int         h, w;
             int         mopt;
             int         numopts;
             int         cursel;
             int         topline;
             menu_ent    *opts;
             WINDOW      *mw;
             WINDOW      *sv_mw;
             const char  *helpstr;
             const char  *exitstr;
             void       (*post_act)(struct menudesc *, void *);
             void       (*exit_act)(struct menudesc *, void *);
             void       (*draw_line)(struct menudesc *, int, void *);
     } menudesc ;

     /* defines for mopt field. */
     #define MC_NOEXITOPT 1
     #define MC_NOBOX 2
     #define MC_SCROLL 4
     #define MC_NOSHORTCUT 8
     #define MC_NOCLEAR 16
     #define MC_DFLTEXIT 32
     #define MC_ALWAYS_SCROLL 64
     #define MC_SUBMENU 128
     #define MC_CONTINUOUS 256

     int new_menu(const char *title, menu_ent *opts, int numopts,
             int x, int y, int h, int w, int mopt,
             void (*post_act)(struct menudesc *, void *),
             void (*draw_line)(struct menudesc *, int, void *),
             void (*exit_act)(struct menudesc *, void *),
             const char *help, const char *exitstr);

     void free_menu (int menu_no);

     If allow expand has been declared, the menudesc structure contains
     another member, expand_act:

           void (*expand_act)(struct menudesc *, void *);

     This function (if not null) is called once when initializing a menu,
     before the display action post_act is called.

     The title is the title displayed at the top of the menu.  The opts is an
     array of menu entry definitions that has numopts elements.  The
     programmer must build this array and fill in all of the fields before
     processing calling process_menu() for the new menu.  The fields of the
     opts may change at any time.  For example, opt_name may change as a
     result of selecting that option.  When the menu is redisplayed, the new
     text is printed.  Arguments x, y, h, and w are the same as the options in
     the menu description.  mopt is the boolean options.  Note, box, clear,
     exit and shortcuts are enabled by default.  You need to add option flags
     to turn them off or turn on scrollable menus.  The options post_act, and
     exit_act are function pointers to the display action and the exit action.
     If they are null, no call will be made.  draw_line will be called to
     display the menu line if the corresponding opt_name field is null.  help
     is the text to display in a help screen.  A null help pointer will
     disable the help feature for the menu.  And finally, exitstr is the text
     for the exit line of the menu.  If it's null, string "Exit" is used.

     When creating dynamic menus, the programmer supplies function pointers
     for the menu items opt_action member.  This functions return one of three
     possible values:
     0   process sub menu (if set) and continue with the current (or new) menu
         as usual.
     1   exit the current menu.  This is equivalent to specifying "exit" in a
         non-dynamic menu specification.
     -1  do not handle the current item any further and restart handling the
         (same) menu.  This return value is used when actions modify the menu
         definition on the fly, e.g. adding or removing additional menu items.
         The action may set "cursel" to jump to an arbitrary menu item (in the
         modified menu).

     With the enable expansion declaration in effect, static menus may be
     customized before being displayed.  This allows parameter substitution or
     special formatting of the menu item strings without having to resort to a
     full dynamic menu.  Expanded strings are stored in the opt_exp_name
     member of struct menu_ent.  This string is preferred over the non-
     expanded string opt_name when displaying the menu.  The expand action
     code is responsible for filling this pointers.  When leaving the menu,
     all opt_exp_name pointers that are populated will be automatically freed
     by calling free(3).

     A very simple (and nonsensical) example for an expand option would be:

           expand action {
                   int i;
                   for (i = 0; i < menu->numopts; i++) {
                           const char *s = MSG_XLAT(menu->opts[i].opt_name);
                           if (s == NULL)
                           char *t = strdup(s);
                           t[0] = tolower((unsigned char)t[0]);
                           menu->opts[i].opt_exp_name = t;
     which would force the first character of all menu items to lower case.
     The free(3) call for the strdup(3) call in above code is automatically
     handled on menu exit.

     MENUDEF      Can be set to point to a different set of definition files
                  for menuc.  The current location defaults to


     The following is a simple menu definition file.  It is complete in that
     the output of menuc may be compiled into a complete program.  For
     example, if the following was in a file called example.mc, an executable
     program could be produced by the following commands.

           menuc -o example example.mc
           cc -o example example.c -lcurses

     A much more complete example is available with the source distribution in
     a subdirectory called testm.

     /* This is an example menu definition file for menuc. */

     #include <stdio.h>
     #include <unistd.h>

     /* Main program! This is often in a different file. */
         process_menu (MENU_main, NULL);
         return 0;

     /* Example initialize function! */

     default x=20, y=10, box, scrollable, exit;

     error action {
        fprintf (stderr, "Example Menu: Could not initialize curses.");

     menu main, title "Main Menu", no exit, no shortcut;
        display action { init_main(); };
        option "Option 1",
           action (endwin) {
             printf ("That was option 1!");
        option "Sub Menu", sub menu othermenu;
        option "Next Menu", next menu othermenu;
        option "Quit", exit;
        help {
     This is a simple help screen for an example menu definition file.

     menu othermenu, title "Sub/Next Menu", x=5, y=5, no box;
        option "Do Nothing!", action { };


     Philip A. Nelson for Piermont Information Systems Inc.  Initial ideas for
     this were developed and implemented in Pascal at the Leiden University,
     Netherlands, in the summer of 1980.

     Both menuc and msgc are probably only used by sysinst.  The features of
     both have been tailored for sysinst, and further changes are likely to

NetBSD 9.99                    February 25, 2019                   NetBSD 9.99