Category Archives: Announcement

B4J: ABMaterial 3.20 Public/3.50 Donators Released!

ABMB4JABMaterial 3.50 for B4J introduces Drag & Drop of ABMContainers between Cells! This new feature took a couple of weeks to implement, but I’m proud of the result.
It opens up a whole new range of possibilities for Web Apps.

Not many bug fixing needed in this release. Proves ABMaterial is really stable and truly production ready! (Happy face)

ABMGoogleMap also adds the possibility to use marker clusters, which cleans up your google map if you have many markers in one map.

GM2

Head to the ABMaterial section on this blog to get your free copy of 3.20, or make a small donation to support the development and get the latest 3.50 version + 9 extra libraries and tools to use in your own projects!

Have a great summer!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

 


B4A + B4J: Profile your apps ‘live’ with ABMonitor

ABMonitor2

It has been some time since I could give my donators a new goodie;), and this time it is a library/tool to profile and monitor your B4J + B4A (7.01+) apps (not limited to ABMaterial WebApps!) I’ve been needing something like this for some time for my own projects, but couldn’t find one that suited me.  This can be a very good asset to find Memory Leaks or to track which method takes up to much time.

Using a very simple API, you can track how long the code execution time is, the times hit, average time, memory usage etc for any block of code you want to investigate.  I deliberately gave you this API freedom, as profiling ALL your code (as most programming languages do) is just drowning you in to much information so you don’t see the wood for the trees anymore.

QUICK NOTE: Do not forget to set your DONATORKEY and the port in the Viewer params.txt . The same port and the IP of your Viewer have to be used in the apps you are monitoring!

How it works:
ABMonitor uses the Jamon library, which has a extremely low overhead on your code. Just by disabling it (using the SetActive method), you can actually leave it in your production apps if you want (or use B4Js conditional compiling if you want to get rid of it all together in a production app).

ABMonitor consists of two main parts:
1. The ‘live’ ABMonitor Viewer.

Instructions: Simply start the Viewer in a command prompt using: java -jar ABMonitor.jar

This Viewer shows all the stuff you are monitoring with the API. It shows e.g. how many times some part of your code was hit, how long it took, what the average time was, when it was last accessed, memory consumption etc… It is presented in a TreeView Table, so you can check every detail (depending on how deep you’ve coded your profiling).  At the bottom, the last 50 runs are presented in some line charts.

Because the IDE of B4X is ‘live’, so is the Viewer! Thanks to this unique feature of the B4X products, you can update your code and see the results in the Viewer immediately.

Little side note: This ‘live’ IDE part is a little-known/promoted feature (except within the B4X community of course, as for us this is normal), but it has a HUGE advantage over any other tool out there.  In similar market aimed tools, like Xojo for example, you have to compile and re-compile every single time you make the smallest of changes to your code (on bigger projects it takes up to 20 minutes, some users reported). In B4X, just change the code, and continue running.  Not happy with it? Change it again and see what gives. BIG production time-saver! Some of you who used to program in VB6 know what I mean…

2. The ABMonitorB4X libraries (ABMonitorB4A.jar/ABMonitorB4J.jar).

Install instructions: Copy the xml and jars (dont’t forget jamon-2.81.jar), to your B4A or B4J libraries folder. In the IDE select the ABMonitorB4X library, the RandomAccessFile library and the Network library.

This API connects your own apps with the monitor. It basically consists of a Start and a Stop method.

First, we have to make the connection with the Viewer. Thanks to Erels new Resumable Subs, doing this is a breeze:

In Main make some declarations:

Sub Process_Globals
   Public Monitor As ABMonitor

   Private port As Int = 10090 ' <-- Set your Viewers Port!
   Private ip As String = "127.0.0.1" ' <-- Set your Viewers IP!
   Private abmonitor As AsyncStreams
   Private client As Socket

   ' Useful to quickly activate/deactivate the monitoring
   Public TRACKMONITOR As Boolean = True
End Sub

Next add the following resumable sub:

Sub ConnectMonitor()
   Dim c As Socket
   c.Initialize("client")
   c.Connect(ip, port, 5000)
   Wait For Client_Connected (Successful As Boolean)
   If Successful Then
     client = c
     abmonitor.InitializePrefix(client.InputStream, False, client.OutputStream, "abmonitor")
     Log("ABMonitor connected")
     Monitor.SetActive("Template", True,abmonitor, 5)
   Else
     Log("ABMonitor disconnected")
   End If
End Sub

Sub abmonitor_Error
   Monitor.SetActive("Template", False,Null, 0)
   Log("ABMonitor disconnected")
End Sub

You can set the interval the data should be send to the Viewer, in seconds, with the last parameter in ‘Monitor.SetActive(“Template”, True,abmonitor, 5)’.  In this example, it is every 5 seconds.  Note: This does not mean it is tracked every 5 seconds! The library will continue tracking everything, but it will only send all the info over to the Viewer every 5 seconds.

Finally, Initialize the monitor and call the resumable sub when your app starts (a good place is e.g. before StartMessageLoop in a Server app):

...
Monitor.Initialize("YOURDONATORKEY")

ConnectMonitor

StartMessageLoop

Ready to do some monitoring!

As I said, there are basically only two commands: Start and Stop.

There are two ways to monitor/profile your code (you can mix the use of them):

a. Monitor some code:
You want to monitor a query, or a whole sub, … In general this is a complete block of code.

Good practice is using the class/module name as the Group parameter, and the method name as the Label, but you can put whatever you want. This will later be used in the Viewer to group stuff. (Group and Label are the first and second parameters in the calls).

Example:

Private Sub WebSocket_Connected (WebSocket1 As WebSocket)
   If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Start("ABMPageTemplate", "WebSocket_Connected", "")

   '   ... the code you want to monitor

   If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Stop("ABMPageTemplate", "WebSocket_Connected", "")
End Sub

Or tracking a query:

..
If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Start("ABMPageTemplate", "MySlowQuery", "")

Dim SQL_str As String
SQL_str = "SELECT cases.CaseID, cases.CaseUserID, cases.CaseType, cases.CaseSummary FROM tCases WHERE cases.CaseStatus=1;"
Dim cases As List = DBM.SQLSelect(SQL, SQL_str, Null)

If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Stop("ABMPageTemplate", "MySlowQuery", "")
...

b. Monitor methods which are used in multiple places, and you want to know where it was called.
You have for example a page.Refresh method, which is called in multiple places. You can use the third parameter to set the ‘caller’. In general there will only be one line of code between the start() and stop().

This caller will later be used in the Viewer to build a call tree (or stack trace)

Example:

Private Sub WebSocket_Connected (WebSocket1 As WebSocket)
     ...
     If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Start("ABMPageTemplate", "page.Refresh", "WebSocket_Connected")
     page.Refresh
     If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Stop("ABMPageTemplate", "page.Refresh", "WebSocket_Connected")
     ...
End Sub

public Sub ConnectPage()
   ...
   ' refresh the page
   If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Start("ABMPageTemplate", "page.Refresh", "ConnectPage")
   page.Refresh
   If Main.TRACKMONITOR Then Main.Monitor.Stop("ABMPageTemplate", "page.Refresh", "ConnectPage")
   ...
End Sub

As you can see, you are totally free to monitor anything you want.

Call for action: if anyone out there is a guru in making B4i libraries, please PM me!  The java library code is quite simple and it shouldn’t be to hard for an experienced B4i library coder to write one which can connect to the same Viewer.  If we got this one too, then we’ve covered all major platforms in B4X!

ABMonitor is part of a multi-pack on libraries, frameworks and tools all Donators to this blog receive.

Included are currently:

ABMaterial (B4J) A very powerful framework combining a tuned Materialize CSS with the free programming tool B4J. It allows creating Web Apps that not only look great thanks to Googles Material Design, but can be programmed with the powerful free tool from Anywhere Software without having to write a single line of HTML, CSS or Javascript code!

ABExchange (B4J) It can be used to sync the ABMCalendar control with your exchange server and outlook. It can also send a mail.

ABJasperReports (B4J) his is a little library that allows you to export reports created in Jasper Reports in your B4J applications. They can be exported to pdf, html and xls. You can use parameters defined in JasperReports.

ABPDFBox (B4J) With this library you can print PDF files (either by showing a dialogbox or directly to a specified printer). Works in UI and NON-UI apps.

ABMonitor (B4J + B4A) Tool to monitor/profile your B4A (7.01+) and B4J code! Includes the libraries for both platform + the ABMonitor Viewer. See the tutorial for more info.

ABCron (B4J + B4A) A more advanced timer library that can schedule more intelligently tasks using Cron expressions. You can also set a start and end datetime. I’ve added a method RestartApplicationNONUI() that should restart you .jar file when the Cron expression is met.

ABEvaluator (B4J + B4A) Evaluate mathematical expressions. You can also write your own functions in B4J/B4A.

ABPlugin (B4J) Create Live plugins for you own apps. This means you can create plugins that can be added/removed while your app is running. Note it is a little experiment that shows the power of B4J. The ‘compile to library’ feature of B4J is very handy to create plugins.

ABZXCVBN (B4J + B4A) Realistic password strength estimation.

ABTreeTableView (B4J) Custom B4J component which combines a TreeView with a TableView.

Until next time!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial


B4J: New in ABMaterial 3.50: Drag and Drop about anything

ABMDragDrop

It may have been a bit silent the last few weeks around ABMaterial, but behind the scenes I have been working nights and weekends on maybe the biggest new feature since Chipmunk was introduced: Drag & Drop!

In 3.50, it will be possible to drag ABMContainers (and hence about anything in it) from one cell to another.

Let’s watch a video demonstration first:

Pretty cool hè!

How it works in B4J:
I explain the basics here, the DragDrop demo project included in the ABMaterial 3.50 download will show all tricks shown in the demo video.

1. Page_ParseEvent() gets a little bit of extra code to sync the moves made in the browser with our server

...
If SubExists(Me, eventName) Then
     Params.Remove("eventname")
     Params.Remove("eventparams")
     ' BEGIN NEW DRAGDROP
     If eventName = "page_dropped" Then
       page.ProcessDroppedEvent(Params)
     End If
     ' END NEW DRAGDROP
     Select Case Params.Size
     ...

2. Next we define a ‘DRAG’ group:

' name, minimum height of a cell
page.DragDropCreateGroup("DRAG", 150)

3. We add cells to this ‘DRAG’ group we want to drag & drop between. The last ‘null’ parameter can be any ABMComponent you want to use a title of the cell (e.g. the COLUMN X ABMLabel in the demo).

page.DragDropAddZone("DRAG", "DRAGCELL1", page.Cell(3,1),null)
page.DragDropAddZone("DRAG", "DRAGCELL2", page.Cell(3,2),null)
page.DragDropAddZone("DRAG", "DRAGCELL3", page.Cell(3,3),null)

4. We add our draggable ABMContainers to the cells. Note: they MUST be added with AddArrayComponent!

Here we also enable them to be draggable with cont.EnableDragDropZone().  There is also a shortcut method to enable/disable all ‘Zones/Cells’ in a group with cont.EnableDragDropAllZonesFromGroup() in one go.

page.Cell(3,1).AddArrayComponent(CreateCard("1", True, True, True, "I may be dragged everywhere", "../images/list1.jpg"), "Cards")
...

Sub CreateCard(ID As String, AllowInCell1 As Boolean, AllowInCell2 As Boolean, AllowInCell3 As Boolean, Title As String, image As String) As ABMContainer
  Dim cont As ABMContainer
  cont.Initialize(page, ID, "")
  cont.AddRows(1,True,"").AddCells12(1, "")
  cont.BuildGrid

  cont.IsTextSelectable = False

  If AllowInCell1 Then
    ' can be dragged to zone 1 of 'DRAG'
    cont.EnableDragDropZone("DRAG","DRAGCELL1",True)
  End If
  If AllowInCell2 Then
    ' can be dragged to zone 2 of 'DRAG'
    cont.EnableDragDropZone("DRAG","DRAGCELL2",True)
  End If
  If AllowInCell3 Then
    ' can be dragged to zone 3 of 'DRAG'
    cont.EnableDragDropZone("DRAG","DRAGCELL3",True)
  End If
  cont.EnableDragDropZone("DRAG","DRAGCELL4",True) ' for the sidebar

  Dim card As ABMCard
  card.InitializeAsCard(page, "card", "MY CARD", Title, ABM.CARD_SMALL, "")
  card.Image = image
  card.AddAction("Press me")

  ' add the card to the page
  cont.Cell(1,1).AddComponent(card)
  Return cont
End Sub

5. There are three events you will receive (all on Page level):

Sub Page_DragStart(component As String, source As String)
  Log("Drag start: " & component)
End Sub

Sub Page_DragCancelled(component As String, source As String)
  Log("Drag cancelled: " & component)
End Sub

' there are four parameters: component, source , target, before
Sub Page_Dropped(Params As Map)
  Log("Dropped: " & Params.Get("component"))
End Sub

And this is basically it! Very simple without having to write any HTML, CSS, PHP or Javascript. All done in pure B4J!

I’m finishing up ABMaterial 3.50, ABMonitor (an upcoming article on this for B4J and B4A soon on the blog) and ABTreeTableView now and early next week I think I may be able to release it to the donators.

Cheers,

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial


B4J: ABMaterial 2.20 Public/2.50 Donators released

abmaterial250

This is just an announcement for the new version(s) of ABMaterial for B4J! It has been a while since I’ve been able to release a new free (public) version, but it is worth the wait!

As the donators already know, 2.20 was a major release, as it tackled a whole new reconnecting system.  If you’re using the free version (pre 2.00), make sure you read the included documents to see how you need to upgrade to the new version!

It was also the first version that introduced the Grid Builder.  With this tool, it is now very easy to create your responsive framework.

2.50 containes a lot of new stuff, as you’ve read in the posts on this blog: ABMChat, ABMPlanner and ABMPercentSlider are only a few of the new things.  Worth mentioning are the major changes in the ABMPivot component, adding new features like exporting to Excel, collapsable rows and columns, new presentations and so on.

Check out the online demo abmaterial.com or download your free copy from the B4J website.

Donators will receive a download link for 2.50 shortly.

Happy Programming!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation if you like my work


B4J: ABMaterial Public 1.22/Donators 2.00 now released

It has been a long night to get everything ready, but I’m happy to release the new version(s) of ABMaterial for B4J!

2.00 is a major release.  Lots of new stuff and some changes that were really needed in preparation of the upcoming (ABMaterial Abstract Desinger) ABMAD tool.

Highlights of the releases:

1.22: New component ABMPatternLock

ABMPatternLock is yet another authentication method you can use based on the popular Pattern Lock you see in e.g. Android.

patternlock

1.22: ABMContainer can collapse

ABMContainer can be initialized as a collapsable component.  As a collapsable has a header and a body and clicking on the header will collapse/expand the body.  This can be used as an alternative for an ABMCard so you can build your own.

1.22: Support for Font-Awesome icons

If you set: page.UseFontAwesome = true then you can, next to the material icons, also use the Font Awesome Icon library (634 icons in used version Font Awesome 4.6.3)
See fontawesome.io for a list of icons.

fontawesome

2.00: New component ABMChronologylist

The ABMChronologyList is a vertical timeline component. Useful to give an overview of a limited period. It is device aware so e.g. on a phone, all items will be one under each other.

chronology

2.00: New helper ABMSideBar

In ABMaterial 2.00, you will be able to define multiple side bars (sliding in from the right). I’ve tried to mimic the usage of ABMSideBar as much of the existing Side Navigation menu. The tricky part was making it work well with the NavigationBar, on all screensizes.

Check out the online demo abmaterial.com or download your free copy from the B4J website.  Make sure you read the included README.TXT files.  It contains some important info and shows some tips and tricks.

That’s it for now.  Next big release will be all about ABMAD. Until next time!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation if you like my work


ABXPlay for Xojo is dead, long live ABMXPlay for B4J!

abmxplaylogo

As many will have noticed in the last year,  there are fewer articles about Xojo on Alwaysbusy’s Corner.  I do like to write graphics projects/frameworks and Xojo is more a language for business apps. Over the years, I’ve written several ‘Proof of Concept’ articles on graphics programming with RB/Xojo.  And although the algorithms could be written, I always quickly hit a wall when it came to speed. I sometimes get requests to update the existing articles, but IMHO, Xojo is becoming the new VB6.  Just like at the end of the popular VB6, using declares in Xojo are in many cases the only solution to make your program work in a modern way.

But it has been fun and I’m sure Xojo can be used to write several other type of projects. I have no regrets having learned RB/Xojo in the past.

But in this view, I have discontinued the ABXPlay for Xojo project and decided to start all over again with ABMXPlay for B4J as a ABMaterial 2.0 component. B4J is excellent when it comes to pure speed in WebApps and that is exactly what is needed for a game framework.

The complete rewrite of ABMXPlay for B4J is better than the Xojo version.  It is integrated in ABMaterial so it can make use of this engine too.  As the B4J syntax is a lot easier than the one in Xojo to interpret (it is very similar to what RB used to be) and the used file format is plain text, I’m working on a B4JS transpiler that will translate B4J code to Javascript.  This changes everything massively!  While still being able to write simple Basic syntax, you are actually writing powerful and fast client side Javascript.

ABMXPlay is going to be the first ABMaterial component with this functionality. In the following months, I’ll gradually will introduce this to other ABMaterial components as they can equally benefit from B4JS. Imagine having a form, being able to check the input fields, making some price calculations etc without having to talk to the server.  Only when the user hits the ‘buy’ button, an actual request is made to the server.  And for you as a programmer, all you have to do is continue programming in B4J as you always did!

So, still a lot of work to do. Coffee and Red bull will be my best friends in the upcoming nights. But it is going to be worth it!

Note: ABXVision for Xojo is also DISCONTINUED: Interested parties in purchasing the source code for the Xojo versions can contact me via email.

Until the next update,

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial


B4J: ABMaterial officially named…

Just a little announcement: ABMaterial for B4J finally got its own domain abmaterial.com! My brainchild is moving out…

57920667

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

 


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