BrainVoyager QX v2.8

Platform-Specific Tips

All computational features of BrainVoyager QX work the same on Mac, Windows and Linux. The graphical user interface (GUI) looks also very similar at different platforms. Special care is, however, taken to provide platform-specific enhancements with respect to operational and user interface features expected by experienced users of specific operating systems. An example for going this extra mileage is the provided AppleScript support on Mac OS X and the COM support on Windows to provide Matlab access and out-of-process scripting. Many users work with BrainVoyager using multiple operating systems and may prefer a consistent GUI behvior even if this means not following recommended native platform behavior. The descriptions below describe possibilities offered by BrainVoyager that can be used to modify the behavior of some user inteface elements to allow adjustment to different preferences.

Fullscreen Mode on Mac OS X

Since Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), the Mac operating system provides a special fullscreen mode where an application window can be placed in a separate "space". This space not only provides fullscreen display but also allows easy navigation from that space to other spaces. Since BrainVoyager QX v2.6, this fullscreen mode is supported. 

BrainVoyager shows the fullscreen icon in the right upper corner of the main window (see snapshot above). Clicking that icon puts the window in a separate fullscreen space. In this mode, the menu bar is disabled but can be made visible by moving the mouse pointer to the upper border of the screen. In the right corner of the menu bar is a fullscreen icon that can be used to leave the space restoring normal display mode. Note that using this icon, BrainVoyager will not hide dock widgets and toolbars from view. If you use the keyboard shortcut CMD-F instead to go in and out fullscreen mode, BrainVoyager will hide all open dock widgets (but not toolbars) and it will restore them when using CMD-F again to leave fullscreen mode.

NOTE. This feature has been updated in Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite): the fullscreen icon on the right side has been removed since this function is now invoked by clicking the standard green icon on the left side of the Toolbar. The old "maximize" mode is still available in Mac OS X 10.10 by holding the Option key before clicking the green icon. Note, however that Mac OS X 10.10 is not officially supported in the latest release (2.8.4) - while this version runs fine on Yosemite, there are some GUI glitches that will be resolved in the upcoming major release (v3.0).

Open File Panels on Mac OS X

On Mac OS X File Open (and File Save) panels are powerful tools to navigate to desired folders and files, and to visualize folder contents in several useful ways. The number of files used as input or produced as output in the context of data analysis can grow to a large amount and it may become important to filter folder contents with respect to specific file types. In Mac OS X, as on any other platform, this is usually done by setting file extensions as filters for a respective file type. If one wants to open a mesh file, for example, the file type filter is set to ".srf" in BrainVoyager. On Windows and Linux such a filter will hide all files that do not pass the filter, i.e. only the files with the extension ".srf" would be shown. On Mac OS X a file type filter will disable but not hide other file types. The snapshot below shows a native File Open panel (as a sheet) with a specified ".srf" file type filter; while ".srf" files are selectable, other files are greyed-out and not selectable but they are not hidden from view.

Since a folder will still show all contained files, it may be difficult to find a desired file less easy than on other platforms. BrainVoyager offers two strategies to achieve a "hiding filter" that may be interesting for users prefering this behavior.

The first possibility consists of a switch enabling non-standard "BV" dialogs that will hide other file types in the same way as on Windows or Linux. In order to use these dialogs, turn on the BV dialogs (hide filtered files) option in the GUI tab of the Preferences dialog. The snapshot below shows the same folder as above but now opened (again as a sheet) with a non-native dialog with an active ".srf" filter:

While these non-native File Open dialogs do not provide all visualization and interactive featues as the native dialogs, some users may prefer these dialogs because they truly hide non-desired files.

The second approach sticks to native File Open panels and exploits the search field in the right upper corner. If one types for example ".srf" in the search field, the files displayed will be restricted to those containing the specified letter string. A context menu will even provide a Name matches option under a Filenames section that may restrict the list of displayed files even further matching the list displayed for the non-native File Open dialog (see snapshot above). If one would be able to set the search field to the file extension of the desired files prior to displaying the dialog, this would provide the best combination of using native panels together with a search-field based "file hiding" filtering. This is, however, not possible. It is, however, possible to copy the file extension to the pasteboard before showing the File Open panel. This allows to set the search text field to the desired file extension simply by Option-clicking (or right-mouse clicking) in the search field followed by a click on the Paste entry (see snapshot below).

With this "trick", it is not necessary to switch to the keyboard and to type the file extension in the search field. Note, however, that the search field filters entries not only in the current folder but also in all sub-folders (if any). BrainVoyager 2.6 and later ensures that the relevant file extension filter string is always placed in the pasteboard before presenting a native File Open panel. This second approach may be the better method for users preferring native Mac OS X panels.

Copyright © 2014 Rainer Goebel. All rights reserved.