Version 0.7, February 1998
Copyright © 1996-1998 Christopher E. Hyde. All rights reserved.
How You Can Help
About the Author
Release Notes
Installing Dialog Director
Auto Dialogs and Live Dialogs
Event Handlers
dd auto dialog - create, display and interact with a dialog window
dd calc dialog bounds - calculate the bounding rectangle of a dialog window
dd count dialogs - return the number of open dialogs
dd delete - delete dialog items or close and delete a dialog window
dd get - retrieve properties from objects
dd install - create and initialise the Dialog Director environment
dd interact with user - interact with the front dialog window
dd make - create one or more dialog items in an open dialog
dd make dialog - create and display a dialog window
dd set - set properties of objects
dd uninstall - clean up and remove the Dialog Director environment
Object Classes
dialog - data used to create a dialog
dialog item - a dialog item
push button - a push button item
check box - a check box item
radio button - a single radio button item
radio group - a group of radio buttons
pop up - a pop-up menu item
list box - a scrolling, text list
icon list box - a scrolling, labeled, icon list
text field - an optionally labelled editable text item
password field - an opaque editable text item
static text - a static text item
group box - an optionally labelled rectangular frame item
pict - a static picture item
icon - a static icon item
dummy - a dummy dialog item
color picker - a colour picking item
gauge - a graphical magnitude/progress indicator
icon push button - a push button with an icon & a beveled edge
icon toggle button - a toggle button with an icon & a beveled edge
icon sticky button - a sticky button with an icon & a beveled edge
icon radio button - a radio button with an icon & a beveled edge
poly push button - a clickable polygon area
poly toggle button - a toggling polygon area
poly sticky button - a sticky polygon area
poly radio button - a radio button polygon area
movie controller - a QuickTime movie controller
font spec - a text font specification
The Global Font Spec Table
Error Codes
Dialog Dumper
Introductory Examples
Contents of 'Examples' Folder
Known Problems and Limitations
Other Scripting Additions


Welcome to Dialog Director v0.7. This is the February 1998 public release of the Dialog Director scripting addition. Dialog Director allows you to create dynamic dialog windows directly from your AppleScript scripts. This provides you with the ability to write applets, droplets and embedded scripts with the power to interact with your users in a friendly and effective manner. Please use Dialog Director and tell me what you think. I intend to enhance and maintain it based on the feedback I receive from you. If you also send me examples of your own scripts then it helps me to understand what you want Dialog Director to do and may give me ideas for future features. The reason that this release is called v0.7 and not v1.0 is because I am still adding features and the API may change (and has already) as a result of your feedback. However, throughout testing it has proved extremely robust and reliable.

Current features include

Dialog item types

  • Push buttons - with user defined default button, return & escape key mapping, actions
  • Check boxes
  • Radio button groups - - one & two dimensional automatic layout
  • Pop-up menus
  • Scrolling text lists - single column, single & multiple selection, keyboard navigable, disableable
  • Static text items - any font, size, style & colour
  • Edit text items - optional label, forward & backward tabbing, cut, copy & paste, extended keyboard support
  • Password text items - as edit text items but display only bullets
  • Rectangular frames - optional label, 3 styles (and horizontal & vertical lines)
  • Pictures
  • Icons - colour or black & white
  • Editable pop-ups
  • Colour pickers
  • Gauges (progress bars & barber poles)
  • Icon list boxes
  • Icon buttons (push, toggle, sticky & radio)
  • Polygon buttons (push, toggle, sticky & radio)
  • QuickTime movie controller


  • Dependencies - automatically enable and disable items depending on other items' states
  • Optional dialog time-out
  • Extensive error checking and reporting
  • Returns an easy to read list of item values
  • No need for resource files or use of ResEdit
  • Six different window styles including movable modal
  • Floating windows - windows that float above all applications [experimental]
  • Support for Apple Greyscale(ish) Appearance (AGA)
  • Embedded sub-dialogs
  • Separate make, interact and delete dialog events
  • Get and set values & other properties of dialog items while the dialog is open
  • Multiple, independent dialogs
  • Get and set multiple item values & other properties via a single call
  • Dynamically create and delete multiple dialog items in an active dialog
  • Font spec table - supports any font spec for any item
  • Make a dialog window float above a specific application

Future features

  • Tristate buttons - on, off, neither
  • Sliders
  • Number text fields
  • Balloon help
  • Keyboard to item mapping
  • Styled text edit
  • And too many other items to list here :-)
  • What would you like Dialog Director to do for you?


Please note that this software is provided "as is" and without any express or implied warranties, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Dialog Director is FREE. You may redistribute Dialog Director to anyone as long as you include the complete, unaltered, Dialog Director package and do not charge for it. The "complete package" is defined as meaning the entire and exact contents of the file <>. It includes all scripting additions, all documentation and all examples & utilities, in either compressed or fully uncompressed form. You may, of course, charge for your own software that uses Dialog Director (if you so desire), just not extra for Dialog Director. It also means that you may not sell copies or redistribute parts of the Dialog Director package without obtaining a separate and specific licence from the author. Although not a formal part of the licence I strongly suggest that if you use any URLs to Dialog Director at my website then you should use <>. Also I would sincerely appreciate being sent a complementary copy of any compilation CD that includes Dialog Director.

How You Can Help

I want Dialog Director to be compatible with as many different machines, Mac OS versions, and languages as possible. I would be happy to see it become a standard part of everyone's AppleScript setup. Together with your help I can make Dialog Director even better. Send your comments, ideas, questions, problems and example scripts to me at the above address. I hope to include the best of these in future releases of Dialog Director along with more extensive documentation and an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions document).

About the Author

Hello, my name is Christopher E. Hyde. I am the creator of Dialog Director. I have over 10 years of commercial Macintosh software development experience and have been programing professionally for more than 17 years. I spend most of my time doing bespoke (custom) Macintosh software development using C++ and MacApp, PowerPlant, etc. I have designed and developed shrink wrapped applications as well as vertical market applications. I specialise in RAD, Human Computer Interaction (User Interface design and User Requirements), code optimisation, debugging existing code bases and making the impossible actually happen. [However, I don't do dishes, and I don't do windoze ;-).] So, if you are looking for someone to develop your next killer application ... I'm your man! Just for your information: Dialog Director contains approximately 15,000 lines of code written in C++ (with a little assembly language). It is designed and written to a professional quality employing best practise in OOP, defensive programming and macro & micro-optimisation techniques.

Release Notes

This section briefly lists the changes between the different releases of Dialog Director.

Dialog Director v0.7 (Feb '98)

Dialog Director v0.6 (Apr '97)

Note: The 'label' property was replaced with 'name' (except in the static text class where it was replaced with 'contents') and the 'data' & 'the items' properties were replaced with 'contents'. DD v0.6 has extra code to support backward compatibility with DD v0.5.1. All scripts compiled with DD v0.5.1 should continue to function with DD v0.6. However, future versions of DD may not be compatible with 'replaced' properties. It is therefore advisable to update and recompile all your scripts with DD v0.6

Dialog Director v0.5.1 (6 Dec '96)

Dialog Director v0.5 (25 Nov '96)

Dialog Director v0.4 (27 Oct '96)

This was the first public release of Dialog Director.

Installing Dialog Director

To install Dialog Director all you have to do is copy the "Dialog Director" scripting addition file into the "Scripting Additions" folder. If your computer is running Mac OS 8 or later then this is in your System folder. If your computer is running Mac OS 7.6.1 or earlier then this is in the "Extensions" folder in your System folder. If you intend to make use of DD's floating windows then you may also want to install the "TSM Fix 1.03" System extension. This fixes some problems in Mac OS where it may miss clicks in floating windows. To install, just drop the "TSM Fix 1.03" extension file on your System folder. Note: TSM Fix is by Matt Slot and may be redistributed independently of Dialog Director. Now you are ready to run the sample scripts and write your own.

Auto Dialogs and Live Dialogs