BANano 4.50 released and Anywhere Software drops a bomb!

“A very exiting week it is” would Yoda say.

The latest version of BANano introduces the BANanoServer.b4xlib library, which is an easy to use wrapper around jServer, the same B4J lib ABMaterial uses. One can now use BANano to make stand-alone Web sites, but also interfaces for e.g. IoT and Raspberry Pi (when using the BANanoServer lib: as this is a normal B4J app, it can use all B4J libs on the server side) and build complex Web Apps.

NOTE: BANano still works without the BANAnoServer Library as it did before in case you want to use another backend like PHP, but only having to program in one language has huge advantages and is what RAD is al about. :)

When you will look at the code of BANanoServer, ABM users will recognize the powerful Caching system, Root, Websocket support and HTTP/2 filters. In BANano, all that code is removed from your own projects view (but still accessible as it is an open source .b4xlib).

Some ‘easy-to-use’ methods to communicate between the browser and the server are added (to call methods from each other and to exchange files).

More info and download BANano for free here: BANano Download

But the biggest news this week must have been the BOMB Erel from Anywhere Software dropped: B4A, the tool to make native Android apps, is from now on free to use for everyone!

From his announcement a couple of weeks ago:

I’m very proud in the continuing progress of B4X tools. I’m also very proud to be part of this amazing developers community.

In the last couple of years, I have a growing feeling that B4X tools do not realize their potential. While there are all kinds of development tools, B4X offers a unique set of features: simple, powerful, mature, great community, RAD, native, cross platform and more.
B4X tools are an excellent choice for a wide range of real-world use cases.

So, the question is how to make B4X more popular? Obviously, it is not a simple nor a short-term task.
A clear growth barrier is the fact that unlike most development tools today, B4A and B4i are not free. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago.

The big announcement today is that B4A will become free in a few weeks. The framework – set of internal libraries, will be open sourced.

We will accept contributions for B4A like currently done with B4J.
We’ve also secured funds from a US investor who shares my vision of making B4X a popular development tool. These resources will allow us to further expand.

Two huge points were raised here: for one, the tool that started it all (B4A) to make native Android apps, is now 100% free (download it here)! It is clear that nowadays paying for a development platform is so 2009. Some development vendors may exist for 20+ years, but haven’t grown accordingly and seem to be stuck in overprotecting their (outdated?) technology.  Clearly, Erel is not one of them and is thinking on how to expand his tools into the next decade.

But the second part may be even more exciting: a private US investor has shown interest in the potential of B4X and shares Erel view of the future.  This opens a whole new world to the development tool and allows to think a lot bigger. He can expand his team not only with new developers, but even more important, surround himself with professionals to market his brand and let the world know of the big impact his technology can have on any software developer.

Just read up on the forum (100K+ members) and one quickly realizes the brought spectrum of apps that can be written with B4X. It is used by big corporations like NASA, IBM and Bosch to name a few, but also by small companies and citizen developers. I for one use it daily in my day job at OneTwo and we feel so secure with the tools we use it as the foundation of all our software.  Very rarely one comes across a tool where the developers are so close to its users and actually listens to their concerns and wishes.  I remember having found a bug (yeah, you really have to go deep to find one) and after reporting it to the Anywhere Software team, 10 minutes(!) later, an update was released.  This has never been seen and blocked me zero time in my own development.

I am a big fan of the B4X suite. It allowed me to write ABMaterial and BANano, two libraries to make modern Websites and Webapps.  Something I can’t see me do in any other tool, at least not with such ease and speed. And it is fun, really fun to work with too. 🙂

So I think Yoda would concur: ‘The future, bright it is!’

Alwaysbusy

B4XHelp: An ABMaterial WebApp for B4X Library documentation

b4xhelpI’ve created an ABMaterial (3.75) WebApp to show the documentation for the B4X libraries. Everyone who created a library for B4A, B4i or B4J can upload their .xml file to the WebApp and everyone can consult it. You can re-upload a new version for a library if needed.

NOTE: not online anymore! In the zip is the source code of the webapp so you can run it yourself.

b4xhelp

Notes:

  • This WebApp is open for everyone, but please try to keep it clean. Thank you!
  • B4XHelp is running on my personal Raspberry Pi with not a super-duper internet connection, so it also may give some indication how it handles a lot of users.
  • The libraries itself are NOT uploaded to the WebApp! Only the .xml files to parse them.
  • The WebApp also runs on a HTTP/2 server, but I do not have a verified certificate. If you use this link, you will get a warning that it may not be safe. You normally only need to accept this once:

priv

ABMaterial may be overwhelming at first with all its features at your disposal, but once you get the hang of it, creating such a WebApp as this, in pure B4J, can go very fast.

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

B4A: ABFlicB4A library for Flic buttons

cute-as-a-button-1

You probably have seen these nifty little IoT Flic buttons around. They are a fun and relative cheap BLE button that allows you to do something when the button is clicked, doubleclicked or hold.

I decided to write a wrapper for the Android SDK to use with B4A.

How to use:
1. Install the Flic app from the Google Play.
2. On their developer page, create a new app: you get a key and a secret.
3. Copy the ABFlicB4A library jar and xml to your library folder and select it in B4A

Here is a small video demonstrating the library.  You can the use the full power of B4A to do about, well, everything…

Example usage code:

Sub Process_Globals

End Sub

Sub Globals
   Private flic As ABFlic
   Private Button2 As Button
   Private Button3 As Button
   Private Button4 As Button
   Private Label1 As Label
   Private Button1 As Button

   Private MyFlicID As String

   Private FlicResults As List
End Sub

Sub Activity_Create(FirstTime As Boolean)
   Activity.LoadLayout("1")
   FlicResults.Initialize
   FlicResults.Add("RESULTACTION_HOLD")
   FlicResults.Add("RESULTACTION_SINGLECLICK")
   FlicResults.Add("RESULTACTION_DOUBLECLICK")
End Sub

Sub Activity_Resume
   ' your key and secret
   flic.Initialize("Flic", "d60d36a0-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX", "db5c2b3d-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX", "ABFlicTest")
End Sub

Sub Button1_Click
   flic.ForgetButton(MyFlicID)
End Sub

Sub Button2_Click
   flic.GrabButton
End Sub

Sub Button3_Click
   flic.StartListening
End Sub

Sub Button4_Click
   flic.StopListening
End Sub

Sub flic_Added(buttonID As String, Name As String)
   MyFlicID = buttonID
   Log("Added: " & buttonID)
   Label1.Text = "Added: " & buttonID & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

Sub flic_Clicked(buttonID As String, wasQueued As Boolean, timeDiff As Int)
   MyFlicID = buttonID
   Log("Clicked: " & buttonID)
   Label1.Text = "Clicked: " & buttonID & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

Sub flic_DoubleClicked(buttonID As String, wasQueued As Boolean, timeDiff As Int)
   MyFlicID = buttonID
   Log("DoubleClicked: " & buttonID)
   Label1.Text = "DoubleClicked: " & buttonID & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

Sub flic_Holded(buttonID As String, wasQueued As Boolean, timeDiff As Int)
   MyFlicID = buttonID
   Log("Holded: " & buttonID)
   Label1.Text = "Holded: " & buttonID & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

Sub flic_Removed(buttonID As String)
   MyFlicID = ""
   Log("Removed: " & buttonID)
   Label1.Text = "Removed: " & buttonID & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

Sub flic_Error(err As Int)
   Log("Error: " & err)
   Label1.Text = "Error: " & err & CRLF & Label1.Text
End Sub

I’m currently working on a Desktop/Raspberry Pi version of this library, which I will share in the B4J forum later.

The library can be found at the B4A forum.

Happy programming!

Alwaysbusy

B4i: Official release at special introductory price!

B4I logo
Great news from Anywhere Software! B4i (a development tool for native iOS applications) is released today.

I had good hopes we would have an early Christmas this year from Erel, but it looks like he has outdone himself (again!).

From its beta release only a couple of weeks ago, B4i looked very stable and already feature rich. Knowing how the B4A (Basic4Android) community quickly has grown very solid, with many contributors creating all kind of great libraries, I have no doubt B4i will be any different. Congratulations Erel with another state-of-the-art development tool!

But let’s give the master himself the stand now (from the official site):

Erel: B4i follows the same concepts of B4A and B4J and provides a simple yet powerful rapid application development tool for iOS applications.

Requirements

– Apple developer account (costs $99 per year).
– An iOS device running iOS 7+.

The compilation process requires a Mac computer. You can either use a local Mac computer or use our Hosted Mac Builder service (currently costs $25 per year).

Documentation

– Tutorials: http://www.basic4ppc.com/android/forum/forums/ios-tutorials.63/
You should start with the following three tutorials:
Creating a certificate and provisioning profile
Installing B4i-Bridge and debugging first app
Developers who use a local Mac: Local Mac Builder Installation

– Formal documentation: http://www.basic4ppc.com/b4i/documentation.html

Purchase

B4i can be purchased from the Anywhere Software Store for just $59!
B4i includes two years of free upgrades.

Hosted Mac Builder

The builder service allows you to develop iOS applications without a Mac computer.
All of the development steps can be done with the builder service except of the final step which is uploading the application to Apple App Store. This step requires a Mac or a service such as MacInCloud.
Note that the builder is currently limited to projects of up to 15mb.

Looking forward to play with this!

B4i (iOS): Yup, you read that right!

(Not official logo)
(Not official logo)

Amazing news from Anywhere software: Erel is working on B4i! This development suite for cross development (Android/Mac/Windows/Linux) will be joined by iOS.

After the great success of Basic4Android (simply the best development tool for Android, by far), Erel suprised us all with Basic4Java last year. A free! tool to create cross platform software for Mac, Windows and Linux.

And now, he has an ever bigger suprise: Basic4iOS!
Just like it’s brother B4A, B4i will compile to native code (Objective C in this case). Combined with the powerful IDE (Xojo, check this one out, it’s bug free and blazing fast) with its unique debugging capabilities and features, this is a certain winner, again!

As a Windows developer, you won’t even need a Mac to compile:

…The current plan is to host a cloud of Macs for the compilation which means that developers will not need to have access to a Mac computer. There will also be an option to host the remote Mac compiler locally instead of the cloud compilers…

And the clever debugging tricks well known from B4A will also be at your fingertips:

…The rapid debugger will allow modifying the code without rebuilding the package making the “testing cycle” much quicker…

It’s simply amazing how Anywhere Software can build such powerful (and most of all stable and reliable) development tools in such a short time span. And at a price that dwarfs the competition!

Well done Erel! We are looking forward for this little beauty by the end of this year. It’s gonna be great, I’m sure of that!

Alwaysbusy

QuiQRun! launched

Barcelona Skin
Barcelona Skin

QuiQRun!, the social, fast barcode scanner and creator!

I’m very happy to release the first version of QuiQRun! for Android! In the next weeks I may do a couple of articles on the blog on how some things are done. (Basic4Android and Java).

I want to thank everyone that did test and translate the app!

Download free version

Please rate QuiQRun! if you like it!

More information and screenshots can be found at http://www.quiqrun.com

Alain