A BView object represents a rectangular area within a window. The object draws within this rectangle and responds to user events (mouse clicks, key presses) that are directed at the window.

Most of the other classes in the Interface Kit inherit from BView. You can use these objects off-the-shelf, but for most applications, you'll also need to create some BView subclasses, and create instances of these subclasses.

The BView class is one of the largest in the BeOS class library. Because of this, the BView documentation is split across a number of files:

Developing a BView Subclass

To define special behavior for a BView—such as the type of behavior that might be needed for the canvas area of a painting program—you define your own subclass of BView, and in that subclass implement the appropriate hook functions of the BView class. A hook function is a function that is called by the BeOS internals in response to certain events, and that is intended specifically for definition in a user-defined subclass. For example, the BView::MouseDown() hook function is called on a BView instance every time a mouse button is clicked while the mouse is inside the view. The default BView::MouseDown() function does nothing, but you can override this with your own implementation, to respond to mouse-down events as you wish.

The following are the most commonly used hook functions. Other hook functions provide for changes in the size or structure of views and windows, changes in the input focus, and so forth. For a complete list and reference of hook functions, see BView Hook Functions.


Called whenever the contents of the view need to be drawn or redrawn.


Called when a keyboard key is pressed.


Called when a keyboard key is released.


Called when a mouse button is clicked while the mouse cursor is in the view.


Called when the mouse cursor enters, exits, or moves within the view.

The View Structure

A newly created view is an "orphan"—it won't appear onscreen, and can't be used for much, because it isn't associated with an onscreen & quot;parent". To rectify this situation, and give your new view a warm and loving home, invoke the AddChild() method of an existin BWindow or BView object to add the new view as a child, i.e.


Ultimately, all views displayed in a window end up as a tree of views, with the window as the root of the tree.

See the BView View Hierarchy Functions section for BView functions related to this view structuring.

Locking the Window

Most BView functions expect the view's BWindow to be locked. To find a view's BWindow and lock/unlock it, you first call BView::Window() and then call the LockLooper() and UnlockLooper() functions (defined by BHandler, inherited by BWindow):

if (window.LockLooper() ) {
   . . .

BView functions check to ensure sure the caller has the window locked. If the window isn't properly locked, they print warning messages and fail.

Whenever the system calls a BView hook function, it automatically locks the BWindow for you—you never have to lock the BWindow in the implementation of BView hook function.


To facilitate keyboard navigation of views, BView provides integral support for the concept of focus. The view that has the focus is the one whose KeyDown() function is called to process keyboard events. Only one view in a window can have the focus at any given time

From the user's point-of-view, the tab key rotates the focus from one view to the next through the navigation group, cycling back to the first view if the tab key is pressed while the last targetable view in the group has the focus. shift+tab cycles the focus backward. Holding down the control key while cycling groups causes the focus to jump from one navigation group to the next.

When a view has the focus, some sort of indicator should be drawn to inform the user that the view is the focus. Typically, this involves drawing a line under a label in the view, or possibly drawing a box around the view or some portion of it. The global keyboard_navigation_color() function should be used to obtain the color used to draw the focus indicator.

The view's MakeFocus() function is called to specify whether or not the control has the focus; it's called with an argument of true if the control has the focus, and false if it's not the focus; MakeFocus() calls the previously-focused view's MakeFocus() function to inform that view that it's not the focus anymore. You can augment MakeFocus() in a subclass if you need to take notice when the view becomes the focus (or loses the focus). For example, you may need to draw or erase the keyboard navigation indicator.

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