Wednesday, 30 May 2012

writing a layout in QML

Sometimes, for whatever reason, the layouts provided "out of the box" in QML just don't cut it. lately, I've been doing a few rather different things for experimentation and learning purposes that have meant I've run into quite a lot of these cases.

when this happens, the first instinct is to fall into despair - but there's really no need for that. writing your own layout really isn't that hard. Here's a small, fairly self contained example doing just that.

import QtQuick 2.0

Item {
    id: layout

    property bool ready: false

    onChildrenChanged: performLayout()
    onWidthChanged: performLayout()
    onHeightChanged: performLayout()

    /* the meat of the layout */
    function performLayout() {
        /* nothing to layout? don't bother then */
        if (layout.children.length == 0)

        var currentX = 0

        console.log("DOING LAYOUT FOR " + layout.children.length + " ITEMS")

        /* first real step of doing anything: go over all the children */
        for (var i = 0; i < layout.children.length; ++i) {
            var obj = layout.children[i]

            /* in the real world, we'd probably do something a lot more complex,
             * but let's just position our children along a row.
            console.log("Positioning at " + currentX + " to " + (currentX + obj.width))
            obj.x = currentX
            currentX += obj.width

        console.log("LAYOUT DONE")

import QtQuick 2.0

Rectangle {
    width: 100
    height: 50
    color: "black"

    Rectangle {
       width: 90
       height: 40
       anchors.centerIn: parent

       color: "red"

import QtQuick 2.0

Rectangle {
    width: 1000
    height: 100

    MyLayout {
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }
        MyItem { }

This is obviously very simplified for demonstration purposes, to name a few things that it doesn't do:
  • it omits things like margins, wrapping
  • it will break if MyItem is ever anchored
  • it doesn't use anchoring (which might make for a more optimal implementation in this particular case - at the least, it wouldn't have to relayout if the width/height of the layout changed)
  • it doesn't relayout if the geometry of the children change
  • it relayouts whenever properties changes, which isn't optimal if e.g. the layout is animating a change, instead, it should delay a relayout using a Timer

All of these are left to the reader, but hopefully it's of some help in getting started.

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