PRB: Modal Dialog Box Prevents Calls to PreTranslateMessage

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Article ID: 126874 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q126874
NOTE: This article contains references to CWinApp member functions. In the 32-bit version of MFC, the bulk of the code for these functions is actually implemented in the CWinThread class from which CWinApp is derived.
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SYMPTOMS

PreTranslateMessage is not called when a modal dialog box has been invoked. A modal dialog box has its own message loop, which has no interaction with the application's main message loop. This prevents CWinApp::PumpMessage from being called. PumpMessage is the function that calls PreTranslateMessage.

CAUSE

An application is begun by a call to WinMain. MFC's implementation of WinMain calls CWinApp::Run, which has the application's main message loop.

The message loop in Run calls PumpMessage to process messages. PumpMessage retrieves the messages from the application's message queue using the GetMessage API. PumpMessage then calls CWinApp::PreTranslateMessage, which will call PreTranslateMessage for the appropriate CWnd. For details on MFC's message routing mechanism, see MFC TechNote #21 and examine the CWinApp::PreTranslateMessage function in the MFC source code that can be found in APPCORE.CPP. In the 32-bit version of MFC, this code is in CWinThread::PreTranslateMessage and can be found in THRDCORE.CPP. Here is a picture of this process:
                  -------------------------------------
                 |         CWinApp::PumpMessage        |
                  -------------------------------------
                                     |
                                     |
                  -------------------------------------
                 |     CWinApp::PreTranslateMessage    |
                  -------------------------------------
                                     |
                                     |
                  -------------------------------------
                 |       CWnd:: PreTranslateMessage    |
                  -------------------------------------
				
When a modal dialog box has been invoked, the above sequence is no longer used. A modal dialog box uses the Dialog Manager (the code built into Windows for implementing dialog boxes) to retrieve messages from the application's message queue and process them. In other words, the Dialog Manager takes control of all message processing during the existence of a modal dialog box. Here's a picture of this process:
                  -------------------------------------
                 |          CWinApp::PumpMessage       |
                  -------------------------------------
                                    |
                                    |
                  -------------------------------------
                 |           CDialog::DoModal          |
                  -------------------------------------
                                    |
                                    |
                  -------------------------------------
                 |     Dialog Manager's Message Loop   |
                  -------------------------------------
				
The PumpMessage has dispatched the message that invoked the dialog box in the first place. PumpMessage will not be called again until the Dialog Manager exits its message loop -- when the modal dialog box has been dismissed.

However, a modeless dialog box uses the normal message processing sequence because it uses the application's message loop, not the Dialog Manager's message loop.

RESOLUTION

PreTranslateMessage is generally overidden to check for certain messages and do some specialized or additional processing before these messages are translated and dispatched. Because PreTranslateMessage will not be called while a modal dialog box exists, another technique must be used to achieve this processing.

The additional message processing can be achieved by using one of the following two methods:

  1. Use a modeless dialog box to simulate a modal dialog box. To do this, create a modeless dialog box, and then disable the application's main frame window. This method causes the normal message processing sequence to be followed, so the PreTranslateMessage function is called. The application's main window can be disabled by using this:
          AfxGetApp()->m_pMainWnd->EnableWindow(FALSE)
    						
    This window should be re-enabled once the dialog box has been destroyed. Use the following call to do it:
          AfxGetApp()->m_pMainWnd->EnableWindow(TRUE)
    						
    One possible place to do this might be in the CDialog-derived object's PostNcDestroy function that gets called when the dialog box window itself (the HWND) is destroyed.

    If you have multiple top-level windows in your application you may also want to disable the other windows. This can be done for the other windows in the same way -- by using EnableWindow.
  2. If a modal dialog box seems necessary, perform the additional message processing by overiding the CWinApp::ProcessMessageFilter function. The ProcessMessageFilter function gets called for all messages when a modal dialog box exists. This is set up for you by MFC using a WH_MSGFILTER hook. See the ProcessMessageFilter documentation for details. The following sample code illustrates this concept:
       BOOL CMyApp::ProcessMessageFilter(int code, LPMSG lpMsg)
       {
         // Check to see if the modal dialog box is up
         if (m_hwndDialog != NULL)
           if (lpMsg->hwnd == m_hwndDialog ||
               ::IsChild(m_hwndDialog, lpMsg->hwnd))
             {
               // Use the global IsChild() function to get
               // messages destined for the dialog's controls
               // Perform customized message processing here
             }
         return CWinApp::ProcessMessageFilter(code, lpMsg);
       }
    						
In the above sample code m_hwndDialog is a member variable of the CWinApp derived class that holds the handle of the modal dialog box. This variable should be initialized to m_hWnd of the modal dialog in the OnInitDialog function, and should be set to NULL when the modal dialog is destroyed. Also the variable should be initialized in the CWinApp-derived object's constructor. For example:
// The OnInitDialog to initialize m_hwndDialog
// 
CMyDialog::OnInitDialog()
{
  CDialog::OnInitDialog();
  ((CMyApp *)AfxGetApp())->m_hwndDialog=m_hWnd;
}

// When the dialog is destroyed restore m_hwnDialog to NULL
// 
void CMyDialog::PostNcDestroy()
{
  CDialog::PostNcDestroy();
  ((CMyApp *)AfxGetApp())->m_hwndDialog=NULL;
}

// The CWinApp object's constructor to initialize m_hwndDialog
CMyApp::CMyApp()
{
  m_hwndDialog=NULL;
}
				

STATUS

This behavior is by design.

REFERENCES

Books Online: MFC TechNote #21.

"Meandering Through the Maze of MFC Message and Command Routing" by Paul DiLascia in the July 1995 issue of "Microsoft Systems Journal" (Volume 10, Number 7).

Properties

Article ID: 126874 - Last Review: November 21, 2006 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Foundation Class Library 4.2
Keywords: 
kbcode kbprb kbuidesign KB126874
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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