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New List Mode Features in Helix 7.0

Since the introduction of ‘View by Kind’ and ‘View by Name’ in Double Helix, the options for what has come to be known as List Mode have remain largely unchanged. Helix 7.0 brings significant new features to this Design Mode staple.

This technote describes each new feature of List Mode.

Display mode

in Classic Helix RADE, there were three possible display modes for collection and relation windows: View by Icon, View by Kind, and View by Name. The latter two switched the display to a ‘spreadsheet-style’ mode, with five (5) columns showing the icon’s type, name, custom name, content, and comments. The only sorting options available were ‘…by Name’ and “…by Kind” — the other columns were primarily informational.

Helix 6.2 morphed these viewing options into a single “Display mode” property for choosing between the original three modes. The two additional user-editable columns — Custom Name and Comment — were added as sort options. (The Content column is a calculated summary of the icon’s attributes, and is not eligible for sorting.)

Helix 7.0 simplifies the “Display mode” property to just two options: Icon and List, as shown at right. These two modes are referred to as Icon mode and List mode.

While Icon mode remains unchanged from previous versions, List mode replaces all of the other options. Sorting is now done via six new properties described in the “Sorting Columns” section below.

New Columns

Helix 7.0 adds three (3) new columns to List mode:

  1. User Mode Name: This ‘read only’ column displays the Custom name for an icon, if one exists, otherwise it displays the Name. This provides an ‘at a glance’ column showing the name by which the icon appears in User mode.
  2. Created: This ‘read only’ column displays the timestamp of when an icon was created in Helix 7.0. See the Icon Time Stamping technote for additional details.
  3. Modified: This ‘read only’ column displays the timestamp of when an icon was last modified in Helix 7.0. See the Icon Time Stamping technote for additional details.

These new columns are also visible as ‘read only’ properties in the Inspector, and are accessible via AppleScript.

Sorting Columns

New in Helix 7.0 is the ability to sort icons up to three levels deep. The image on the right shows the section of the Inspector for a relation or collection window related to the sorting options. In this case, the window is sorted by kind, then by modification date, and lastly by name.

In addition, each sort can be reversed by checking the “Reverse sort order” checkbox immediately beneath each sort option, adding ‘Z–A’ sorting to the ‘A–Z’ sorting order Helix has always supported. In the example at right, the Modified column uses reverse sort order, putting the most recently modified icons at the top of the list (within each kind).

There are now eight (8) sorting options* in List mode. Seven (7) of these correspond to columns in List mode. The final option is ‘none’ which applies no visible sort at that level. (Technically, ‘none’ sorts icons by their internal Object ID.)

You can also sort by a column by clicking anywhere in its header in the collection or relation window. Clicking in the header a second time reverses the sort. The header of the ‘Primary sort order’ column displays a directional arrow indicating which direction is currently in effect.

When the sort order of window is changed — whether by clicking a header or selecting an order in the Inspector — the previous selection moves down to become the next-lower level sort order. In the case of a change to the Primary sort order, the old selection becomes the Secondary sort order and what was the Secondary sort order moves down to become the Tertiary sort order. In this way, Helix allows you to specify three levels of sorting.

* The Content column can not be sorted; that column is a calculated summary of the icon’s attributes, and is different for each icon type, making sorting on this column largely irrelevant.

Showing Columns

Also new in Helix 7.0 is the ability to hide columns that are of no interest. The image on the right shows the seven (7) Show … checkboxes. Unchecking a property hides that column.

Columns* can be rearranged by clicking and dragging the column header, and the can be resized by clicking and dragging the right edge of the column header. The cursor changes appropriately to indicate the action that is being performed.

* Helix 7.0 adds the ability to move and resize the Icon column. This column can not be hidden via the Inspector, although it can by AppleScript.

When a column is hidden, visible columns to the right of it move left to fill the gap, and the last column grows in width to maintain contact with the right edge of the window.

When a column is made visible, the width of the rightmost is cut in half, and the now visible column is added as the rightmost column in the window. (It can then be dragged to another location or resized to suit.)

Additional Notes

Collections in Helix 6.2.4 or earlier have no ‘created’ or ‘modified’ timestamp data. When these collections are updated to Helix 7.0, the timestamps are initialized to unknown, which appears as a dash (“-”) in List mode and in the Inspector.

When a collections is updated from Helix 6.2.4 or earlier, the Modified column is automatically shown in List mode, but the Created date is not, since icons created before Helix 7.0 do not have a created date timestamp, and every icon’s data is unknown (“-”). You can, of course, show this column to track future new icon creation.

When a new collection is created in Helix 7.0 and later, the Created and Modified columns are shown by default in List mode.

Icon timestamping occurs regardless of whether the ‘created’ and ‘modified’ columns are shown or hidden.

See the AppleScript Changes in Helix 7.0 technote for information on accessing these new properties via AppleScript.