Menu integration

BlackBerry 10 OS offers a well-integrated menu system that enables you to make highly contextual apps. There are two types of menus available on the UI of a BlackBerry 10 OS device: action menu and context menu.

In this section, you will learn how to add menus to your app and how to use the invocation framework to display your application in the context menu of other apps. You will also learn about configuring your app to allow the BlackBerry 10 OS to automatically populate any related actions into the context menu of your app.

It's a good practice to add invocation-related actions to the context menu. However, if an action applies to the whole page, you can add the action to the action bar.

Meanwhile, to learn more about the action and application menus, see Menus.

Context menu

The context menu is a vital part of building an intuitive experience and is a key feature in BlackBerry 10 OS. It is presented when the user presses and momentarily holds a particular area of the application UI. The context menu is divided into two sections that offer actions related to the content selected by the user.

The upper half of the context menu is the application section, which contains all the actions that the application adds. For example, in the following image on the right, Add as friend, Call, Email, and Text actions are all application actions.

The lower half of the context menu is the platform section, which contains all the actions that the BlackBerry 10 OS adds automatically. In the following image on the right, Call, Email, Text, Share, Set as and Open in are platform actions.

 

Screen showing a context menu with the icons and labels associated with each action.

Screen showing the order of items in a context menu. The upper half of the items are application specific actions and the lower half are platform specific actions.

 

Customizing the context menu

You can use the following techniques to customize the context menu and integrate it with the invocation framework.

Add bound invocations

The ActionItem class represents the actions that your app supports, but your application can also add actions that other apps support to the application section of your app's context menu. However, applications can also add the actions supported by other apps, to the application section of their context menu by using the invocation framework. When an invocation request is sent, an action is created as InvokeActionItem, which extends the ActionItem class. Here's how you can add a bound invocation action to the context menu using QML and C++:

InvokeActionItem {
	query {
		invokeTargetId: "com.example.image.view"
	     	mimeType: "image/png"
		invokeActionId: "bb.action.OPEN"
		uri: "file:///.../image.png"
	}
}
InvokeActionItem invokeItem;
invokeItem.setTarget("com.example.image.view"); 
invokeItem.setAction("bb.action.OPEN");
invokeItem.setMimeType("image/png");
invokeItem.setUri("file:///.../image.png"); 

Adding the platform section

Before the platform can add any actions to the context menu, it determines the current context of the application. For example, if your application is currently displaying an image, the platform determines the properties of the image (for example, .jpg, .png) and how it can be accessed (for example, as file:// or http://). Here's how you can add the platform section to your app's context menu using QML and C++:

InvokeActionItem {
	query {
	     	mimeType: "image/png"
		invokeActionId: "bb.action.OPEN"
		uri: "file:///.../image.png"
	}
}
InvokeActionItem invokeItem;
invokeItem.setAction("bb.action.OPEN");
invokeItem.setMimeType("image/png");
invokeItem.setUri("file:///.../image.png");

The platform section is displayed only if there are targets that match the criteria of the invocation-related actions.

Add your application to the platform section

You can add a specific functionality of your application to the platform section of the context menu of other apps. Enabling your application to appear in the platform section allows it greater visibility among other applications and is good for the publicity of your app. You can add a specific functionality of your application to the platform section by declaring support for the invocation of a core action for a given context. The following core actions are available in the BlackBerry 10 OS:

  • bb.action.OPEN
  • bb.action.SHARE
  • bb.action.SET

It is important to choose the action that suits your application's needs. For example, if your application manages images, then supporting bb.action.OPEN action in your app is a good idea. If your app uploads images to an online catalog, then you probably want to support bb.action.SHARE. If your app assigns images as avatars, you probably want to use bb.action.SET as the core action.

Here's how you can declare these actions in the target filter section of the bar-descriptor.xml file of your application:

<invoke-target id="com.example.image.view">
	<invoke-target-type>application</invoke-target-type>
	<invoke-target-name>My Sample Application</invoke-target-name>
	<icon>
		<image public="true"> icon_small.png</image>
		<image public="true"> icon_big.png</image>
	</icon>
	<filter>
		<action>bb.action.SHARE</action>
		<mime-type>*</mime-type>
		<property var="uris" value="file://,list://"/>
		<property var="exts" value="jpg,png,jpeg,bmp"/>
	</filter>
</invoke-target>

For more information about invocation and how you can make your app an invocation target, see Receiving invocation.

Target selection menu

Target selection menu displays when the user selects the share action on the context menu. The target selection menu contains two sections: suggestions and a list displaying all the available targets for sharing.

Screen showing the share card.

Adding icons to the target selection menu

If your application is declaring itself as a target for core menu actions (OPEN, SHARE, SET), you must package your application with two images of size 81 x 81 pixels and 358 x 358 pixels respectively. These images should typically show your application's icon. The image of size 81 x 81 pixels is used in the list that displays all the available targets while the image of size 358 x 358 pixels is used in the suggestions section of the target selection menu.

Here's how the images for BBM and Text Messages applications look in the list section:

 

The BBM icon in the list section of the target selection menu.

The Text Messages icon in the list section of the target selection menu.

 

Here's how the images for Email and Text Messages applications look in the suggestions section:

 

Screen showing the email icon for suggestions grid of the context menu.

Screen showing the Text Messages app icon for suggestions grid of the context menu.

 

As a best practice, remember to fill any transparent pixels in your image with color. This prevents the background color of the suggestions grid from appearing through the transparent pixels.

You should specify the images in the bar-descriptor.xml file of your application as shown in the code below.

...
<icon>
	<image public="true"> icon_small.png</image>
	<image public="true"> icon_big.png</image>
</icon>
...

Last modified: 2014-01-23



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