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Old 12-04-2007, 01:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question How to escape from a multi-line textbox?

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Not sure of this is the best forum to ask this but I am developing a web application that is targeting Blackberry users as well as other Smartphones, one usability issue I have come up against is how to "escape" from a multi-line textbox that contains a large amount of text, is there a shortcut on the BB that allows a user to jump out of the textbox to the next target without scrolling thru all the text (some of our text fields have hundreds of lines of text when viewed on a BB)?

I have found alt-(trackball)up/down which jumps out and to the top/bottom of the web page but I'm really looking for some way to simply jump to the next or previous control or link on the page?

Any ideas?

Thanks!
Bruce
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barees View Post
Not sure of this is the best forum to ask this but I am developing a web application that is targeting Blackberry users as well as other Smartphones, one usability issue I have come up against is how to "escape" from a multi-line textbox that contains a large amount of text, is there a shortcut on the BB that allows a user to jump out of the textbox to the next target without scrolling thru all the text (some of our text fields have hundreds of lines of text when viewed on a BB)?

I have found alt-(trackball)up/down which jumps out and to the top/bottom of the web page but I'm really looking for some way to simply jump to the next or previous control or link on the page?
It can be done. Create a custom textbox that implements this textbox, and listen for some events in a custom key listener. For example, if this is a readonly textfield, you could program this to make the spacebar/Enter key jump to the next field. If this is an editable textfield, you'd have to find some unused key combo, or trackball click, or custom menu option such as "Jump to Next Field" whenever the popup is displayed (Within the preexisting menu with "Select"/"Cut"/"Copy"/"Paste"/etc that already exists) - you can easily dynamically make menu options depending on which field has the focus. Should be only a one or two screenful .java class file to do this. Plenty of examples exist in the RIM source code examples that will give you enough info on how to do things like these.

Or you can even make the Back button automatically escape from the textbox. If you do it "this" way, I recommend using a custom textbox that draws a thick "focus" border around the textbox if it currently has focus. Then that way, it can be programmed so you can click the trackwheel/ball to start editing, and click the trackwheel/ball again (or hit Esc) to de-focus. This way you can zoom through many controls with tons of text -- then click the control you want to actually scroll. This approach is useful if you have a few big textboxes that people normally don't want to scroll through. This technique is very easy to do, if you know how to create a custom control implemented from a standard control, but can be a little daunting for the firsttimer -- again, check the RIM examples.

Regardless of which approaches you plan to do above, for what you want to do, a custom textbox class wrapper implementing a standard textbox is the way to go.

Alternatively, if you need a contract programmer, email me via my marky.com website.
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Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 12-10-2007 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Mark,

I have filed that useful info away for future reference,

At the moment I'm working on an ASP.NET application for the Blackberry rather than a Java app, however I guess I could do much the same thing by creating a server control that extends the "TextBox" and using Javascript to detect a particular event to "unlock" the textbox.

For the time being I am defaulting the textbox to readonly with a link underneath to begin editing (this works quite well for us anyway because we also offer an "append comment" link to allow BB users to avoid destroying rich text entered by users on other platforms).

Cheers,
Bruce
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