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View Changes in Helix 6

The transition from OS 9 to macOS is pretty radical, and there are a number of old technologies that Apple has chosen to let fade into history. Some of them, Helix formerly put to use. While you are waiting for the macOS release of Helix, there are things you can do to ensure that your collections handle the transition smoothly.

If you do not take time to prepare your collections for Helix 6, they will continue to work fine. Things may look a bit different, and some functionality may change, but your collections will otherwise operate normally. And if you haven't ever used any of the features mentioned below, your collections should function the same as when run in Helix 5.

Check Your Windows Types for macOS Tolerance

Support for many of the window types in OS 9 was dropped from macOS, and the look of other window types has changed. When a Helix collection is run through Update Collection (a requirement to use it with Helix 6), OS 9 window types are mapped to macOS equivalents where possible. Where there is no equivalent type, Update Collection changes the view type to the standard document type.

Helix 5 Window TypeHelix 6 Conversion

In macOS, Helix supports only three window types: document, plain, and invisible. Note that all of the customizable attributes of a window (turning on/off the close box, zoom box, scroll bars, grow box, status box, and page boundaries) are all fully supported, so attributes specified on existing views are inherited in Helix 6.

Note that deactivated attributes in a drag bar (close box and zoom window) were removed from an OS 9 window, but in macOS, they are simply dimmed. Apple has apparently decided it is more confusing to have a control disappear than dim when unavailable.

In version 5.3, we added the ability to see which window type each view icon uses. This information is shown in a view's Get Info window, and when looking a relation's contents in View by Name or View by Kind mode. The character before the colon in the Contents column is the window type indicator. In this illustration, the selected view icon's "I:" designates the "Invisible" window type, as seen in both the relation window and the view's Get Info window.

Helix 5 Window TypesHelix 6 Conversion Equivalent
(Shown in macOS, also applies to OS 9)
OS 9 Window Types macOS Window Types

Of course, this feature provides benefits and saves time beyond this transition period. By providing a quick and convenient way of identifying your view's window types, Helix provides one more visible clue about the use of each view.

Changing window types must be done in Helix Design Mode. You can change view window types one by one, or in groups. To change a view's window type, select that icon (or icons) then select Set Window Type (Command-J) from the Icon menu.

A reminder: the alert, plain, and shadow window types do not have a drag bar, so you can not move them in the normal manner. To position one of these windows, hold down the Command and Option keys while dragging the window. (This only works in Design Mode: end users can not move these alert-type windows.) Likewise, a window with no size box can be resizes by holding down the Option key, then clicking and dragging the lower right corner of the window (where the size box would normally appear).