Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hold Gesture

After writing my last post, I started wondering if I could implement other useful gestures to control the touch list. So I started to wonder what kind of gestures would be needed for a real list-based application, like the CrypSafe prototype I have been working on. One of the issues that you will be confronted with is the requirement of, somehow, single out a single list item and then apply some sort of command to it. Think about deleting a list item: wouldn't it be nice that by clicking the item in a special way you would be able to do just so? There are a lot of other actions you might want to perform in a list item this way (edit, move up or down, you name it). Microsoft actually solved this issue some time ago with the "tap-and-hold" gesture, but gave it a very specific implementation with those circles rolling around the screen to denote it. Alas, I don't like it so I decided to reinvent the wheel and tweak the CTouchGesture in order to implement this gesture. It's actually quite simple: if you press an area of the screen and you don't move or release the finger for some time, a hold gesture is returned by the timer event.

To illustrate the use of this gesture, I implemented a very simple demo based on AppStart (yes, I was lazy) a so that it shows a "context toolbar" when you hold a given list item (see picture). In this case I added an "edit" and a "delete" button that you could use to change the list item. To make the whole thing a bit more fun, I added a small animation to the hold gesture where you can see the item expanding to reveal the "toolbar". Getting information about the pressed toolbar button would be a simple matter of overriding the HitTest function. Note that when the toolbar is displayed you can still flick and click because the item merely changed its size.

Here is the sample app: (268 KB)

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