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Outline Views

Outline Views visualize a tree of hierarchical data. NSOutlineView is actually a subclass of NSTableView, so much of its functionality should be familiar from the previous chapter. Individual objects are still displayed in separate rows, and each column still represents a property of that object.

An Outline View displaying the organizational structure of a company

Superficially, the only real difference is the disclosure triangles that expand or collapse a particular node. However, the underlying data set is quite different. Instead of a flat array of objects, Outline Views let the user drill down into a hierarchy of objects. This can be any kind of parent-child relationship: organizational structures, family trees, file systems, and XML documents are just a handful of examples.

This chapter provides a brief walkthrough of the NSOutlineView class. We’ll build up the necessary data set from scratch, implement a data source and delegate, expand and collapse rows programmatically, and manipulate the current selection.

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