A trip with the cable car in Koblenz

Up to fortress Ehrenbreitstein via cable car over the Rhine.
Enjoy a great time in Koblenz with us on the Xojo Developer Conference!

When to initialize plugin libraries

Before using DynaPDF functions in our plugin, you have to initialize that part of the plugin. For that you call DynaPDF.Initialize function and pass path to the location of the DynaPDF dll or dylib.

Now our example code always used to use a $$DynaPDFInited variable to check the state. But that has two disadvantages:
  • First it may also be set if initialization failed. So if you run a script, it fails, you than put the library where it should be and try again, it will not initialize again.
  • Second with using a server, you may need to initialize both on server and client. But you only have one global variable. This causes trouble if initialization is done on client, but not on server.
  • Third on a server, if the Scripting Engine process is restarted, the variable has the wrong value as the DynaPDF library is unloaded with the end of that process.
So the new way we recommend is to use the DynaPDF.IsInitialized function to check the status. This way you can simply ask the plugin if it is initialized and call Initializ script as needed.

New RTF functions coming for Windows

In the last days I was curious to see if I can do something about Textarea control on Windows. And this seems to work as it is a standard Windows control.

so for next plugins we have this methods for TextArea:

WinRTFDataMBS(SelectionOnly as boolean = false) as string
WinInsertImageMBS(data as string, Width as Integer, Height as Integer)

Insert image works only for Windows 8 and newer. For older versions we could build something with pasting using clipboard.

The RTF functions can read/write the content of the text area as RTF. This includes embedded images which you can't handle with Xojo's built in RTF functions.

One month until FileMaker DevCon 2014

Just one month left until FileMaker DevCon in San Antonio.
If you join the conference, please visit me at the MBS booth. If you do not visit the conference, but you are in the area, feel free to email me and we can meet at the bar and chat about plugins.

Also I got notice about the FileMaker Unconference .fmp[x]Berlin for 2015. It will be a three day conference 2nd to 4th June 2015.

More conference listen in an older blog entry.

ActiveX Control crashing trouble today

I have a client who wants to talk to some huge accounting software using COM objects in Windows from Xojo. He has been looking into using Xojo for his work for years, but we already tried it several times and had lots of crashes. Some functions simply crash when called. I looked into helping him several times the last two years, but well, didn't see a real reason for those crashes.

Yesterday he called again and asked if I could help. He has a PutValue method for filling data which constantly crashes. GetValue works by the way.

This time I had an idea. To analyze the functions, I created a dummy Visual C project and used #import line. The build the project and Visual Studio creates the C++ includes for this type library. In C++ the function looks like this:

HRESULT PutValue (BSTR FieldName, VARIANT Value, VARIANT * RetVal );

As you see the function takes one string, a variant and a byref variant for the result. Now Xojo creates this delegate:

Delegate Function PutValue_Func3(this As Ptr, FieldName_Param As Ptr, Value_Param As Ptr, RetVal_Param As Ptr) As Integer

And there is the mistake. The variant needs to be passed by Value, not by Reference. This causes crashes as stack contains not enough data 4 bytes for the pointer instead of 16 bytes of the variant structure.

more in feedback case 34221.

I also found case 7195, so this problem could be there for over 5 years. So I now hope that Xojo engineers can find and fix this bug, so my client can enjoy using Xojo to write the apps instead of Delphi.

FileMaker Stammtisch Hamburg

Next week the FileMaker users in Hamburg meet next week.
You can come and learn about our latest FileMaker plugin.
Meeting is in Block House Wandsbek in Hamburg at 7pm.

see filemaker-magazin.de/service/filemaker-stammtische/hamburg

xDev Magazine Celebrates the World Cup with a Sale!

Even if you're not a soccer fan enjoying the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer, you can score for yourself with big savings! The publisher of xDev Magazine is such a crazy soccer fan (football, for the purists) that he's authorized a **15% off** coupon for anything on the xDev store. This even includes renewals and other special offers -- the only limitation is that the coupon requires at $25 minimum order.

Just enter WORLDCUP in the coupon code field during checkout to claim your savings. This code is valid until a new World Cup champion is crowned. So enjoy the World Cup and take advantage of this xDev discount today!

Main Store: xdevmag.com/orders.shtml
Renewals Page: xdevmag.com/renewals/

MBS FileMaker Plugin 4.2 for OS X/Windows - More than 2500 Functions In One Plugin

Nickenich, Germany - (June 24th, 2014) -- MonkeyBread Software today is pleased to announce MBS FileMaker Plugin 4.2 for Mac OS X or Windows, the latest update to their product that is easily the most powerful plugin currently available for FileMaker Pro. As the leading database management solution for Windows, Mac, and the web, the FileMaker Pro Integrated Development Environment supports a plugin architecture that can easily extend the feature set of the application. MBS FileMaker Plugin 4.2 has been updated and now includes over 2500 different functions, and the versatile plugin has gained more new functions:

For the FileMaker script editor the plugin now provides on Mac OS X a new button to copy scripts as formatted text. This allows you to easily copy and paste a script in the FileMaker forums or an email. If you have a text editor to compare text like TextWrangler, you can now use it to compare two versions of a script. Or even put your scripts as text into a version control system to track changes.

Our new Midi functions can find Midi devices on both Mac OS X and Windows. You can connect to a devices including virtual sources or destinations. Over the connection you can send Midi notes or receive Midi events.

If you need to have an user pick an item from a list, you can now use our new ListDialog functions. Fill the list with some values, show the dialog and query what the user chose. Multiple selection and preselection is possible. Currently Mac OS X only.

For the case you work often with lists of elements, we now have a couple of list related functions. You can compare lists, remove duplicates, sort lists or remove empty items.

As part of this update, we also updated a couple of libraries including DynaPDF, GraphicsMagick, OpenSSL and CURL. We also got a few more DynaPDF functions, improvements for AppleScript, Audit, GraphicsMagick and JSON.

More details in the release notes. Please take the time to check our 250 example databases and check where you can use our plugin features in your solutions.

MBS Xojo / Real Studio plug-ins in version 14.2

NICKENICH, Germany (June 24th, 2014) -- Monkeybread Software releases version 14.2 of the MBS plug-in for Xojo and Real Studio.

The MBS plug-in comprises a collection of several plug-in parts which extend the Real Studio development environment with 2,000 classes featuring over 52,000 documented functions. Our plugins support all three platforms Mac OS X, Windows and Linux with all project types desktop, web and console.

Some of the highlights on the 14.2 update:

The new CoreText classes in our plugins cover the whole CoreText framework from Apple for working with fonts and rendering text with attributes. The older ATS classes are now deprecated and we suggest if you need such functions, you should move soon to the new classes.

For Windows you can use WebKit as renderer for a htmlviewer. This uses Chromium internally and with our new ChromiumBrowserMBS and ChromiumFrameMBS classes we can provide additional methods. You can get the text of the current page, the URL or the image. And of course the usual methods like going forward or backwards in history.

For Mac OS X we added new classes for CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics and Cocoa frameworks: CFMutableAttributedStringMBS, CFRangeMBS, CGFontMBS and NSAlertMBS. The new NSServiceProviderMBS class can help providing services in Cocoa applications.

Our new AUPlayerMBS class allows you to play audio on Mac OS X with various parameters. This includes pitch, rate, pan and equalizer. Audio can loop and you can select the output device.

Our SQL Plugin got improvements. The SQLDatabaseMBS and SQLConnectionMBS classes have now a Scrollable property. SQLNumericMBS class got improvements with new shared methods for various number types.

The Barcode generator can now also create SVG or postscript files. For Windows HTMLViewer with Internet Explorer we can now zoom the content.

As part of this update we also updated a couple of used libraries including CURL, GraphicsMagick, LCMS2, DynaPDF and OpenSSL. The Nikon plugin now works with newer SDK versions for newer camera models.

See release notes for a complete list of changes.

FMP URL protocol infographic

Tony White put the FMP URL protocol infographic from the 2014-06-19 NYFMP.org meeting on his website:

I think this is very useful and should be included in every FileMaker developer's toolbox.

More details on twdesigns.com/fmp_url_protocol/. PDF Download.

MBS Filemaker Plugin, version 4.2pr12

New in this prerelease of the 4.2 plugins:
  • Added Windows support for Icon.GetIcon function.
  • Added a new button to script editor/debugger to copy the text of a script to clipboard.
  • Changed Files.Launch and Files.LaunchFile implementation, so it returns better error codes on Mac.
  • Fixed ListDialog to disable the select button if nothing is selected.
Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

MBS Xojo / Real Studio Plugins, version 14.2pr12

New in this prerelease of the 14.2 plugins:
  • Fixed a bug on Windows IconMBS function where icon would just be in top left area of image.
  • Changed folderitem.IconMBS, IconMaskMBS and IconImageMBS to user newer Cocoa based APIs if possible.
  • Added HasAlphaChannel property for PictureEditorMBS, PictureReaderMBS and PictureWriterMBS class.
  • Added NewPictureWriterMBS support for alpha images and for reusing images.
  • Added ContainerControl.NSViewMBS, useful to animate containers.
  • Updated Chromium plugin classes for the future.
  • Fixed bug in LinuxHIDInterfaceMBS.MatchDevice event.
  • Fixed problem with GDI Plus bitmap in PictureMBS and other picture functions.
  • Fixed NSGraphicsMBS.graphicsContextWithNSView to raise NSExceptionMBS objects if they happen.
Download: macsw.de/plugin/Prerelease. Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

Copy Script Button

Soon coming to your FileMaker Script windows.

This copy button allows to copy the text of the script without formatting.

You can paste in any text editor and for example do comparison. This way you can see what things you modified in a script easily.

Sliding controls

Sliding in Xojo Cocoa app:

This uses two containers and slides them to right/left depending on what you select in menu.
Example is included with next plugin prerelease.

MBS Filemaker Plugin, version 4.2pr11

New in this prerelease of the 4.2 plugins:
  • Added new list functions: List.FindEquals, List.FindUnequals, List.RemoveDuplicateItems, List.RemoveEmptyItems and List.Sort.
  • Added ListDialog functions.
  • Added Type parameter for Clipboard.GetText and Clipboard.SetText for Mac.
  • Upgraded OS Version query on Mac to work better on Mac OS X 10.10
  • Fixed problem with Calendar.Item.SetCalendar function.
  • Updated DynaPDF library to version
Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

MBS Xojo / Real Studio Plugins, version 14.2pr11

New in this prerelease of the 14.2 plugins:
  • Updated adaptor.appendPicture to work with transparency.
  • Marked NavigationDialogMBS, HIViewMBS, MenubarMBS, MenuMBS and StandardAlertMBS classes as deprecated. Those are only for Carbon and should be replaced when you move projects to Cocoa.
  • Fixed bug in CTParagraphStyleSettingMBS class.
  • Most deprecated things in plugin now list replacement.
  • Upgraded OS Version query on Mac to work better on Mac OS X 10.10
  • Updated DynaPDF library to version
Download: macsw.de/plugin/Prerelease. Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

fm conference

MBS will be present at the FM Conferénce 2014 this year in Toulouse, France.
Feel free to join the event and meet us there and ask all the questions you have.

I may even have a little presentation about our MBS Plugin there.

For more details, please check fmconf.com website.

Tip of the day: Using computed property with weak reference

Often we need to keep a property somewhere, but it needs to be a weak reference. So if the target goes out of scope, our reference should become nil. Now we can of course use WeakRef class directly for this. But that requires some work and casting on every access. It is much nicer to wrap it in a computer property. This way the compiler can check types when using the property. Internally we map back to the weakRef object. So check this code:

ComputedProperty ParentWindow As window1
Sub Set(value as ParentWindow) if value<>Nil then mParentWindow = new weakref(value) else mParentWindow = nil end if End
Function Get() as ParentWindow if mParentWindow<>nil then dim o as variant = mParentWindow.Value Return o end if End
End ComputedProperty
Property Private mParentWindow As WeakRef

As you see we have a private property with the actual weakRef. The computed property getter checks if we have a WeakRef and provides value of it. We use a variant to avoid the need of explicit casting. For the setter we either set our weakRef property to nil or a new weakRef pointing to the target value.
Please use weak references always for references in data structures where a leaf references back to the tree.

FMSummit 2014 in Den Haag

MBS will be present at the FM Summit 2014 this year in Scheveningen near Den Haag.
Feel free to join the event and meet us there and ask all the questions you have.

For more details, please check fmsummit.info website.

Pictures from Vienna

We had an excellent meeting with nine Xojo developers in the beer garden of the Schweizer Haus:

Next day Reinhard invited me to join his colleague Christian on a boat trip:

See you all next time in Vienna or at our conference in Koblenz.

Xojo/FileMaker Meetings in Vienna, Austria

The meetings will take place as we have a couple of attendees:

Wednesday, 11th June, Xojo Developer Meeting, at Schweizer Haus (schweizerhaus.at)
Thursday, 12th June, FileMaker Developer Meeting

I'll be there from around 6pm to 10pm.

If you are interested in joining, please email me, so we know how many seats we need.
Meeting will be probably in a beer garden or restaurant somewhere near Vienna.

CoreText Completed

With 14.2pr10 plugins, we completed the CoreText plugin part. This includes all those new classes: On the other side we deprecate all the older ATS classes: You can use CoreText on Mac OS X 10.5 and newer. With Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 a few new methods got added.
So if you use ATS classes, please move soon to CoreText.
Your feedback is welcome. Maybe you have an idea for missing convenience function?

MBS Xojo / Real Studio Plugins, version 14.2pr10

New in this prerelease of the 14.2 plugins:
  • Tuned internal functions to convert between NSObject/CFTypeRef to Xojo objects to make CoreText work well.
  • Added CFObjectMBS.NewCFObject.
  • Fixed problem with IMExceptionQ8MBS, IMExceptionQ16MBS and IMExceptionQ32MBS classes.
  • Fixed bug in CFRangeMBS class.
  • Fixed bug in ECDHEMBS.PublicKey function (returned more characters than needed).
  • Added tag parameters for NSFileCoordinatorMBS class.
  • Added RenderSamplesMBS support for floating point values.
  • Added Steganography methods for picture class.
  • Updated DynaPDF library to version
  • Moved NSSortDescriptorMBS to CocoaBase plugin to avoid dependencies on Lion plugin.
Download: macsw.de/plugin/Prerelease. Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS Filemaker Plugin, version 4.2pr10

New in this prerelease of the 4.2 plugins:
  • Added String.ConvertEncoding function.
  • Added DeltaX/DeltaY parameter for PDFKit.Watermark function.
  • Updated DynaPDF library to version
  • Our MBS Plugin may decide to stop working on FileMaker Server without license after 2 hours.
Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

The 2015 Xojo Developer Conference

Mark your calendar now!

The 2015 Xojo Developer Conference will take place April 29 - May 1, 2015 at the Radisson hotel in fabulous downtown Austin! The 2014 conference sold out so start planning today - save the date!

XDC is the best place for Xojo users to learn from the experts, network with other Xojo users from around the world and meet the Xojo engineers. We will have sessions for everyone wanting to get the most out of their tool - from topics for those who are just getting their feet wet, to sessions for the most advanced Xojo developer. More information about registration and the call for speakers will be available soon.

PS: Don't forget the Xojo Developer Conference in Europe 2014 from 17th to 20th September.

iOS Frameworks coming

Just a note from WWDC: iOS 8 allows bundled frameworks inside apps.

This could technically allow both FileMaker and Xojo to support plugins on iOS devices!

We'll see if they use this new feature to allow us to port plugins to iOS.

MBS Filemaker Plugin, version 4.2pr9

New in this prerelease of the 4.2 plugins:
  • Improved GMImage.Annotate function.
  • Added GMImage.GetStrokeDashArray and GMImage.SetStrokeDashArray.
Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

MBS Xojo / Real Studio Plugins, version 14.2pr9

New in this prerelease of the 14.2 plugins:
  • Added JPEGExporterMBS.Markers.
  • Added SetRegistrationMessageMBS.
  • Added NSTableViewMBS functions for sort descriptors.
  • Added new CoreAudio functions.
  • Improved CustomNSSharingServiceMBS to use tag with variant instead of integer.
  • Added CFMutableAttributedStringMBS class.
  • Rewrote CFAttributedStringMBS class.
  • Added CFRangeMBS class.
  • Added helper functions to convert between NSMutableAttributedStringMBS and CFMutableAttributedStringMBS.
  • Added helper functions to convert between NSAttributedStringMBS and CFAttributedStringMBS.
  • Added WinNotificationMBS.SendMessage and WinNotificationMBS.SendMessageToWindow.
  • Removed implicit references to CoreText framework from 100 plugin parts...
Download: macsw.de/plugin/Prerelease. Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.


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