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Tooltips in GnuCash

In the 1.8-branch of GnuCash, all menu items and all multichoice-option values were having a corresponding tooltip that was displayed when the mouse hovers of the items. In the gnome2 version SVN-HEAD, these are no longer there due to missing features in gtk2. This page collects the information about feasible re-implementations of that feature.

The tooltips/statusbar tips in menus have been implemented in r12295. --Cstim 09:01, 8 January 2006 (EST)

Tooltips in Multichoice/Combobox widgets

Old implementation in 1.8

The 1.8-Widget for the multichoice-options was a GtkOptionMenu widget. It contains a GtkMenu where GtkMenuItems are inserted, which are created by gtk_menu_item_new_with_label. This was all used in gnc_build_option_menu() in src/gnome-utils/dialog-utils.c. The tooltip was directly set on any new GtkMenuItem by calling gtk_tooltips_set_tip() on the GtkMenuItem.

To view the usefulness of these tooltips: Start gnucash-1.8. Open the "Report"→"Assets&Liabilities"→"Asset piechart". Click "Options". On the tab "General", there is the option "price source". Take a look at the available choices. You will notice that the short item names are not very obvious (because that whole option is quite non-trivial), but with the tooltip explanation it is fine again.

New GtkComboBox in gtk2

The old GtkOptionMenu is now deprecated since gtk2.4. Instead, the GtkComboBox has to be used, which still doesn't offer tooltips per items, see bug#303717. However, this widget either requires using a Model-View programming ourselves, or alternatively it will only allow to set entries by gtk_combo_box_append_text() which is what we currently do in src/gnome-utils/dialog-options.c. The function gtk_combo_box_append_text() will only allow to add one text entry per item, which it will insert into the internally used GtkTreeModel of the combo box. This means there is no longer one widget per item, so it is impossible to set gtk_tooltips_set_tip() on anything like the item widget.

The implementation of that in gtk_combo_box_new_text() of gtk/gtkcombobox.c confirms that the new GtkComboBox doesn't create widgets for the items anymore. Instead, the items are rendered by a GtkCellRendererText. If that were able to view a tooltip, it would basically mean that any GtkTreeView would be able to display a tooltip on any listview cell. HOWEVER, that kind of gtk feature request is bug#80980 in bugzilla since 2001 and NOTHING has been done in that direction. Aaarg.

As confirmed by a not-so-helpful IRC "discussion" with mclasen, the current GtkComboBox offers no way for us to add per-item-tooltips. There are three options for gnucash:

  1. Copy the code of gtk/gtkcombobox.c into gnucash and create our own ComboBox widget. If we do this, then we have access to the GtkTreeView widget that is used internally in the combobox. We can use the "motion-notify" signal of that widget to update a displayed tooltip depending on the location of the mouse pointer. This approach was tried by a different application as a workaround, see bug#130983. Alternatively, this message proposes to use the "show-help" signal in the very same way. Although they reported that the positioning of the tooltip was not optimum, I think this would at least enable us again to show these tooltips.
  2. Revert the change of GtkOptionMenu to GtkComboBox and continue to use the old GtkOptionMenu, until gtk is able to deliver a combo box which has per-item-tooltips again.
  3. Ignore the per-item-tooltips until gtk implements that function. The implementation of that feature necessarily requires that bug#80980 is implemented and closed, which won't happen in the near future.

I propose to go back to the deprecated GtkOptionMenu, which is the most gain with the least effort for us. --Cstim 08:12, 21 January 2006 (EST)