Version: 3.1.2
Window IDs

Table of Contents

When creating a new wxWindow-derived class or adding a menu item, its ID must be specified.

An ID is just a unique (at least locally, i.e. inside the same top level window) integer allowing to find the window or menu item later and to distinguish between events from different objects.

If applicable, stock IDs such as wxID_EXIT (for menu item) or wxID_OK (for a button) should be used, see Stock Items for the full list of such IDs.

If the value of an ID is not important, wxID_ANY should be used, telling wxWidgets to allocate a unique ID automatically. All such automatically-assigned IDs are negative and so won't conflict with any user-defined IDs as long as they are positive.

If you do care about the ID value but don't want to specify it as a literal in your code, you can use wxWindow::NewControlId() to create an ID that had never been returned by this function before. Such IDs are also negative.

Finally, you can just define your own IDs. Typically this is done by using a C++ enum to automatically ensure their uniqueness. If you do this, please note that your custom IDs must be positive to avoid clashes with the automatically assigned IDs discussed above and should not have values 0 or 1, that can result in surprising behaviour under some platforms. Finally, you also need to avoid defining IDs in the range from wxID_LOWEST to wxID_HIGHEST which is reserved for wxWidgets-defined IDs, see wxStandardID for more details.

To avoid all these restrictions, it is best to avoid using hard-coded IDs at all, they are not needed when using wxEvtHandler::Bind() for event handling (unlike with the previously used event tables).

See also
wxIdManager, wxWindow::NewControlId(), wxWindow::UnreserveControlId()

Data Types

A wxWindowID is just the integer type for a window ID. It should be used almost everywhere. To help keep track of the count for the automatically generated IDs, a new type, wxWindowIDRef exists, that can take the place of wxWindowID where needed. When an ID is first created, it is marked as reserved. When assigning it to a wxWindowIDRef, the usage count of the ID is increased, or set to 1 if it is currently reserved. Assigning the same ID to several wxWindowIDRefs will keep track of the count. As the wxWindowIDRef gets destroyed or its value changes, it will decrease the count of the used ID. When there are no more wxWindowIDRef types with the created ID, the ID is considered free and can then be used again by wxWindow::NewControlId.

If a created ID is not assigned to a wxWindowIDRef, then it remains reserved until it is unreserved manually with wxWindow::UnreserveControlId. However, if it is assigned to a wxWindowIDRef, then it will be unreserved automatically and will be considered free when the count is 0, and should NOT be manually unreserved.

wxWindowIDRef can store both automatic IDs from wxWindow::NewControlId and normal IDs. Reference counting is only done for the automatic IDs. Also, wxWindowIDRef has conversion operators that allow it to be treated just like a wxWindowID.

Using wxWindowIDRef

A wxWindowIDRef should be used in place of a wxWindowID where you want to make sure the ID is not created again by wxWindow::NewControlId at least until the wxWindowIDRef is destroyed, usually when the associated object is destroyed. This is done already for windows, menu items, and tool bar items. It should only be used in the main thread, as it is not thread safe.