barcode generator dll in vb.net 13: Support Tools for the Busy Developer in Objective-C

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CHAPTER 13: Support Tools for the Busy Developer
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Figure 13 2. The stock image after manipulation in Photoshop
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Notice that I kept a layer with the original untouched image file. This is prudence born of experience it s always a good idea to leave the original and work on a copy, because you will make mistakes! Notice also that I have a layer that just provides a white background for the image. Since the icon will have transparency and shape, you can use a background layer here to make sure that you have properly cut out the original background and that the drop shadow works OK. Try a few different background colors. Having saved the Photoshop image, I exported it as a transparent Portable Network Graphics (PNG) file. This is a good format for bringing in to Icon Composer.
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Creating the Icon in Icon Composer
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If you want to follow along with this next section, you can use your own PNG file or the one provided in the download for this (it s called DJIcon.png). Start up Icon Composer (it s in /Developer/Applications/Utilities/). The program window shows a set of image wells representing different sizes, ranging from 16 pixels square to 512 pixels square. Now find the 512 512 pixel PNG icon image file and drag it over the largest image well. You should see something like Figure 13 3.
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CHAPTER 13: Support Tools for the Busy Developer
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Figure 13 3. Icon Composer with DailyJournal icon image at 512 pixels
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The good news is that if you have provided a 512 x 512-pixel icon you probably won t need to supply any of the others. The display system in Mac OS X will handle the resizing to give you the other icon sizes. You can see the effect in the Preview panel, which lets you see how your icon will look at different sizes. However, because the icon is being resized programmatically it won t always look right. Smaller sizes particularly can look blurred and lose edge definition. If your icon looks ugly or indistinct at different sizes, you can provide a refined image at the appropriate size and drop it into the corresponding image well. The most common case is for the 16pixel icon. Icon Composer has two other panels: Masks and Preview. Check out the Masks panel first, in Figure 13 4.
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CHAPTER 13: Support Tools for the Busy Developer
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Figure 13 4. Icon Composer has generated a mask for the icon image.
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You may be wondering why you need a mask what is it for In the old days of small, simple, rectangular icons there was no need for them. Masks are used where the edges of images need to be displayed in a more refined fashion, particularly in terms of shapes and aliasing. Take the icon we are creating here: an open book with a drop shadow. Ideally we would want the icon s outline to follow the outline shape of the book itself so that the background shows through correctly when the icon is seen against a colored or image-based background (see Figure 13 5). Additionally, the icon has a drop shadow. This has a soft edge blending out to the background, so we need a way to manage that in the display of the icon. Those two needs are satisfied by having a mask. It can be very difficult to create precise masks manually, so it s great to know that Icon Composer just does this automatically for you (if you really want to, you can create your own mask image and drag it into this pane, but in my experience Icon Composer does a great job).
CHAPTER 13: Support Tools for the Busy Developer
Figure 13 5. The Icon Preview pane helps you to see the image against a variety of backgrounds.
As mentioned previously, the Preview pane allows you to see the icon at a range of sizes and against different backgrounds. You can also see how your icon will look in the Dock (View Preview in Dock, or D, and your icon will replace the standard Icon Composer Dock icon). You can create the icon resource file now. Choose File Save and put the file in a suitable location. That s it you have created the icon resource file. Now open up the DailyJournal project. Drag the DJIcons.icns file that you just created into the Resources folder. In the drop-down dialog window that appears, check the box Copy items into destination group s folder and click the Add button. Next, choose the DailyJournal-Info.plist file in the Detail pane. In the editing pane, look for the Icon file item and enter the name of the new file (see Figure 13 6). As usual with Xcode, there is another way to set the icon file. You can bring up the Get Info window (right-click the DailyJournal target and choose Get Info). Then choose the Properties tab and enter the icon file name in the Icon File field.
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