Macos – Cocoa OSX custom widgets/controls

cocoamacoswidget

I want to know how can I create custom widgets/controls in Cocoa.
Not a full tutorial, but some guidance on what to start looking into. I'm confused by custom views, Core Animation, etc. I feel lost.

I see a lot of cool looking controls, like in Reeder App, or Sparrow etc. For example:

Sparrow

The left side is a collapsable menu that includes animations etc. How can I achieve something similar? I thought of using a WebView + HTML + JavaScript, but that doesn't seem like a very optimized solution.

Best Solution

Controls are views, so if custom views confuse you, you'll need to get that figured out before moving on to custom controls. Although you should really read the entire View Programming Guide, the section called Creating a Custom View will get you started on creating your own views. Try creating a simple view that draws a circle, for example, or the time.

When you've got views figured out, move on to custom controls. Most controls work about the same way. The user touches them, and the control responds by: a) tracking the user's input, b) changing its value, c) sending its action message to its target, and d) giving the user some feedback by redrawing itself. To get started, first make sure that you know how to use controls. Reading Control and Cell Programming Topics should help, and the section titled Subclassing NSControl covers (obviously) creating your own subclasses.

The example you provided is pretty clearly Apple's Mail.app. The view on the left side of the window might be an instance of NSOutlineView, or it might be a custom class. Either way, NSOutlineView would be a good starting point if you want to duplicate that functionality. NSOutlineView is a subclass of NSTableView, which in turn is a subclass of NSControl, which in turn is a subclass of NSView. Read Outline View Programming Topics for help getting started -- tables and outlines are extremely useful, but also more complicated to use than basic controls like buttons and text fields.