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The Squeak UI
Last updated at 10:37 pm UTC on 8 December 2006
Updated 5/1/99

Two User Interfaces

There are two (yes, two) User Interface's in Squeak., MVC (Pluggable Views) and Morphic (Morphic Squeak). The older UI, MVC (Model-View-Controller) is quite similar to the one described in the Orange book. Morphic makes use of ideas from the Self project, and is considerably more versatile. Most tools are implemented in both systems and the following information applies to both UI's. When you first bring up the system, you are using the MVC interface.

The Squeak Screen

To resize the Squeak Screen, click and drag the bottom right corner (just pretend it has a grow box), and then choose 'restore display' from the screen menu. We'll clean this up soon.


To close a window, click in the left box of its title bar. To collapse or expand a window, click in the right box. To change the name of a window, click in its title, and edit the name in the resulting dialog box.

Windows can be moved by dragging their title bar, provided that you click in the shaded regions. To change the size of a window, move the mouse near a corner or border and, when the cursor changes, click and drag.


Many windows are made up of panes, and many of these have scroll bars on the left (naturally - that's where most text is ;-). Scroll bars are divided into 4 narrow strips, and the cursor changes to tell you which region you are in. Three cursors inform you of normal up/down/jump scrolling (try them now), and the fourth indicates availability of a pop-up menu relating to the pane you are in.


Pane menus (often different in different panes) can also be invoked by option-click (and hold) in most panes, and window menus can be invoked by cmd-click. Many menu commands can also be invoked by cmd-key combinations, indicated in the menus. The global 'screen menu' can be invoked simply by clicking in the gray area within the Squeak screen, but outside any Squeak windows.


Squeak graphics support 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32-bit color. To change the resolution of the Squeak screen, choose 'set display depth...' in the screen 'help...' menu. Naturally, you will want some reasonable correspondence between this choice and the setting of your monitor.

The screen will consume more memory in higher resolutions, but Squeak is careful to use only 1-bit pixels for most text window images. The window menu offers a choice whether to save only two colors or all colors of a given window (as well as a choice of background shade).


Project windows are actually more like doors than windows, since you can enter them by clicking in the interior. You can create new ones by choosing 'open...project' from the screen menu. To exit a project (and return to its containing project), choose 'exit project' from the screen menu. Each project maintains its own set of windows, its own set of changes, and its own screen color depth.


The _ (left-arrow) character in Squeak is really an underbar; that's how you type it. Note that := is an acceptable alternative for assignment.

The Squeak text editor supports many editing operations that can be invoked by command keys. For a full list of these operations, choose 'help' from the screen menu, then choose 'command-key help'


Squeak provides a number of preferences relating to operation of its User Interface. Choose 'help...' in the Screen menu, and then choose 'edit preferences...' to open a panel in which these preferences can be enabled or disabled. Balloon help is also available for each item.


Flaps are an optional feature of the morphic UI. If enabled through preferences, tabs appear on the side of the screen which, when entered or clicked, make additional screen real estate accessible as side panels. Choose 'info about flaps' in the 'help...' menu.