RB/Xojo: Goodbye, you old dinosaur…

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And I mean this in an very friendly way, referring to one of their latest campaigns 🙂

I was doing some early spring cleaning on the dusty attic of this blog and came across some old projects I did.

Some of you long time followers of my blog may remember I wrote several posts programming in Xojo (previously RealStudio or even RealBasic before that).  When I first started this blog, I was a huge fan of RB.  The familiar VB6 syntax was what me attracted to it in the first place. I had a VB6 background, and with Microsoft abandoning it, RB was a nice alternative.  I really didn’t care much for it being able to cross compile back then as Windows was my thing.  But it was nice that it could.

Back then, many years ago, I used this place to write articles mainly on the Canvas (an 11 episode series!) and vintage games.

But also some frameworks like ABXVision that had OpenCV like capabilities (Augmented Reality in its early stages!) and a full blown physics engine ABPE.

The robotics series was a very fun project to do.  I was doing a course on Artificial Intelligence at the time and I could use this new knowledge in the tutorials.

But because of Xojos decision a couple of years ago to start using a new syntax framework, most of these projects won’t work anymore without a major overhaul.  So I feel it is time to let them go. I recently noticed Xojo had removed this blog from their resource list too, so they must’ve had the same feeling. Honestly, no hard feelings about that! I would too when a blog doesn’t write anything on me anymore.

But what is there currently to write about Xojo? The Web part hasn’t changed in many years and still looks like it is 1995. iOS still feels like it is only partly finished and is missing to many out-of-the-box features to be useful (will the new upcoming android suffer from the same problem?).  Should I write about the many bugs and workarounds one has to do?

It must be said many of this remarks have to do with Xojo being a small team, and some stuff (like 64bit or Apples decisions) has been forced upon them.  Luckily they have a small but enthusiastic community which is willing to take over the many shortcomings by writing frameworks like Aloe or iOSKit.

So, time to put those fond memories into a box and leave memory lane.  Back to the real harsh world ;-).

I will leave the RB/Xojo projects on this blog until the end of the month (March).  Maybe, one day, I will find the time to revamp them in Xojo or put them all up on GitHub and they will reappear.

Until then, this blog will mainly report on B4X and my own framework ABMaterial.

Godspeed old friend(s). Until we meet again…

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

 

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B4X: ABMaterial 3.75 Public/4.00 Donators released

ABMDragonfly4.00

ABMaterial Dragonfly (4.00) for B4X is available. Yes, it has a new name! What started as version 3.81 got upgraded to a new major version, especially since it uses a new cache control system.

ABMaterial has always been one of the fastest RADs from its start, now over 2 years ago.  But with 4.00, we’ll take it to a whole new level!

Mindful and I have spend 5 days (and nights) checking out how we could cache ABMaterial to the extreme without losing any of its functionality.  The results are just ridiculous…

Finish times are less than 10% of the time on the second and next loads. So on 3G, on the users next visit(s), the WebApp is almost just as fast as on high speed cable!

And this system not only works with the same page. Once one page has been loaded, all the other pages can take gain of this system. Even when the user revisits your app much later.

Furthermore there is the new debug feature to check how your apps work on different device sizes.  See it at work here:

Add this snippet to you main module, AFTER starting the server:

#If DEBUG
' in debug mode, start the browser and open the app on all devices (DOES NOT WORK IF EDGE IS YOUR DEFAULT BROWSER!)
ABM.ViewerOpenAllDevices("http://localhost:" & port & "/" & ABMShared.AppName & "/", 100)

' or open a specific device as default (DOES NOT WORK IF EDGE IS YOUR DEFAULT BROWSER!)
'ABM.ViewerOpenDevice("http://localhost:" & port & "/" & ABMShared.AppName & "/", 300, ABM.VIEWER_TABLET)

' or just open de browser, no multiple devices (should work in Edge)
'ABM.ViewerOpen("http://localhost:" & port & "/" & ABMShared.AppName & "/")
#End If

Lots of new theme properties! Check out the demo on how to use  them in the new Dragonfly theme.  As winter is coming and days are getting shorter (at least here in the northern hemisphere), I went for a ‘Night’ theme this time.

ABMaterial DragonFly is now available on 750+ locations worldwide on CDN!  If you use the CDN, you do not need to upload the css/js/fonts folders to your own server anymore!

This means only your own assets (images etc) from the www folder have to be available on your server. De demo running on abmaterial.com for example is working like this.

Usage:

ABM.ActivateUseCDN("DONATORKEY", "https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/RealAlwaysbusy/ABMaterial@v4.03/")

The over 20 new fixes and fulfilled wishes make ABMaterial 4.00 very stable, just like its ‘parent’ programming language: B4X.  It is a real joy knowing one can depend on a strong, bug free environment.  Erel from Anywhere Software rulez!

Happy programming!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

Windows October Update ODBC export Excel problems

WindowsUpdate

Windows updates, you gotta love them! This October update has a lot of developers scratching their head.

Here at OneTwo, we became first aware of the problem when some clients called our support team with the same remark: “Exporting the data to Excel does not work!”  After going through the usual procedure following the directions of Roy Trenneman from the IT crowdhave you tried turning it on and off again?“, we quickly became aware there was something more going on…

Indeed, Microsoft had rolled out a new update.  “Drop everything, we have a KB hunt on our hands!”  A time consuming thing to do, and in the meantime a lot of worried users.  Google and the MSDN site had to do overtime too.

SEE UPDATE FURTHER FOR A MORE PERMANENT SOLUTION!

Quite some time later, we found the little buggers. Here is the list for anyone out there banging his head aginst the wall asking himself why his code, which has been running for years, suddenly stopped working:

  • Windows 7: KB4041681
  • Windows 8.1: KB40416393
  • Windows 10: KB4040724/KB4041676

Uninstall them and reboot. Hooray, code is working again!

UPDATE:

It looks like Windows keeps insisting to run the update.  Here is a more permanent solution.

1. Find prior version (4.0.9801.0) of msexcl40.dll

2. Place in another directory. They suggest the application directory, but since in the next step you will modify registry to point to this older version, it can probably go anywhere.

3. Update registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Jet\4.0\Engines\Excel\win32 to point to the location from step 2.

You don’t even have to restart your PC.

Have a great weekend, my fellow IT minions!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

B4J: Printing/Reporting with upcoming ABMaterial 3.75

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A sneak peek on a new feature of ABMaterial for B4J I’m working on: Printing/Reporting.

This is an example of a report in ABMaterial. You build it right into your other pages and just by setting a couple of parameters, you control what will be shown on screen and what will be printed.

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The block your see above ‘INVOICE’ will not be printed, just my setting lbl.IsPrintable = false.  What is shown on screen you control by using the normal ABM.VISIBLE_ constants. For example there are some additional notes with a chart that you can’t see here on screen, but will be printed.

You can use almost every ABM component in your report. Good examples are the ABMChart, the ABMChronologyList or even like in this example you can let your client sign the document using an ABMSignaturePad and print it right out.

The ABM components avoid being split over two pages (e.g. an image will be printed on the next page if it does not fit). Browsers let you control very little on how things are printed, but I’ve added some things like ReportFooter.row(3).PrintPageBreak = ABM.PRINT_PAGEBREAK_BEFORE_ALWAYS to give you some control.

Note that the navigation bar is not printed either. All of this is taken care for you automatically by ABMaterial!

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Some example pdf prints from the demo app (without making any modification to the source code!). Try printing the same pages with ABMaterial 3.50 or before and you’ll see the difference.

http://gorgeousapps.com/PrintExamples.zip

Making the above ‘invoice report’ is really simple and in the spirit of ABMaterial. I’ve created a new component ABMReport (and ABMReportBlock) which you can use just like you would make an ABMCustomComponent.

Relevant source code snippet of the above report (the Build event is where the magic happens, the rest are more helper methods):

Sub Class_Globals
   Dim ABM As ABMaterial
   Dim Report As ABMReport

   ' some CSS to format the 'body' of the report
   Dim ReportCSS As String = $"
   .repheader, .repfooter, .repheaderright, .repfooterright {
     background-color: lightgray;
     font-size: 1.8rem;
   }
   .repheaderright, .repbodyright, .repfooterright {
     text-align: right;
   }
   .repbody, .repbodyright {
     font-size: 1.5rem;
   }

   @media only print {
     html { font-size: 60%}
   }"$

   Dim mSQL As SQL 'ignore
   Dim mInvoiceID As Int 'ignore
End Sub

Public Sub Initialize(InternalPage As ABMPage, ID As String)
   Report.Initialize("Report", Me, InternalPage, ID, ReportCSS, "")
End Sub

Sub Report_Build(InternalPage As ABMPage, internalID As String)
   ' the report header
   Dim ReportHeader As ABMContainer = Report.Header.InitializeAsContainer(InternalPage, "reportheader", "", ABM.PRINT_PAGEBREAK_INSIDE_AVOID)
   ReportHeader.AddRows(1,False, "border").AddCells12(1,"")
   ReportHeader.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCellsOS(1,0,0,0,9,9,9,"").AddCellsOSMP(1,0,0,0,3,3,3,20,0,0,0,"right")
   ReportHeader.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCellsOS(1,0,0,0,7,7,7,"").AddCellsOS(1,0,0,0,5,5,5,"")
   ReportHeader.BuildGrid

   ReportHeader.CellR(0,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "repTitle", "{B}I N V O I C E{/B}", ABM.SIZE_H4, "center", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportHeader.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "repAddress", "Jonathan Neal{BR}{BR}101 E. Chapman Ave{BR}Orange, CA 92866{BR}{BR}(800) 555-1234",ABM.SIZE_H5, "", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportHeader.CellR(0,2).AddComponent(BuildImage(InternalPage, "repImg", "../images/logo2.png", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportHeader.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "repCompany", "{B}Some Company{/B}{BR}{B}c/o Some Guy{/B}", ABM.SIZE_H4, "", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportHeader.CellR(0,2).AddComponent(Build3Block(InternalPage, "repInvoiceData", "{B}Invoice #{/B}", "101138", "{B}Date{/B}", "Januari 1, 2017","{B}Amount Due{/B}","$ 600.00", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL)   )

   ' the report body
   Dim Body As ABMReport
   Body.Initialize("Body", Me, InternalPage, internalID & "body", "", ABM.PRINT_PAGEBREAK_INSIDE_AVOID)
   ' header of the body
   Body.Header.InitializeAsTexts(Array As String("Year(s) Overview", "Q1", "Q2", "Q3", "Q4"), Array As Int(40,15,15,15,15), Array As String("repheader","repheaderright","repheaderright","repheaderright","repheaderright"), "")

   ' detail lines: here you can e.g. run queries but for demo purposes let's do everything manual
   Dim sums(5) As Int
   For i = 1 To 9
     ' change the class of the last column on the second row
     Dim ColorClass As String = "repbodyright"
     If i = 2 Then
       ColorClass = "repbodyright red-text"
     End If

     ' create a text block
     Dim block As ABMReportBlock
     block.InitializeAsTexts(Array As String("Year 200" & i, 200*i, 300*i, 400*i, 500*i), Array As Int(40,15,15,15,15), Array As String("repbody","repbodyright",ColorClass, "repbodyright","repbodyright"), "")
     Body.AddBodyBlock(block)

     ' dirty way to make the sums
     For k = 1 To 4
       sums(k) = sums(k) + (20 + (k-1)*100) * i
     Next
   Next

   ' footer of the body
   Body.Footer.InitializeAsTexts(Array As String("{NBSP}", sums(1) , sums(2), "{B}" & sums(3) & "{/B}", sums(4)), Array As Int(40,15,15,15, 15), Array As String("repfooter", "repfooterright","repfooterright","repfooterright","repfooterright"), "")
   ' add the subreport 'body' to the body of the main report
   Report.AddBodySubReport(Body)

   ' the report footer
   Dim ReportFooter As ABMContainer = Report.Footer.InitializeAsContainer(InternalPage, "reportfooter", "", "")

   ReportFooter.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCells12(1,"")
   ReportFooter.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCellsOS(1,0,0,0,2,2,2,"").AddCellsOSMP(1,0,0,0,5,5,5,0,0,10,40,"").AddCellsOS(1,0,0,0,5,5,5,"")
   ReportFooter.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCells12(1,"")
   ReportFooter.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCells12(1,"")
   ReportFooter.AddRows(1,False, "").AddCellsOSMP(1,4,4,4,4,4,4,0,0,0,0,"")
   ReportFooter.AddRows(2,False, "").AddCells12(1,"")
   ReportFooter.BuildGrid

   ReportFooter.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "RepSignatureLbl", "Please sign this document", ABM.SIZE_H5, "", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportFooter.CellR(0,2).AddComponent(BuildSignature(InternalPage, "repSignature", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))
   ReportFooter.CellR(0,3).AddComponent(Build3Block(InternalPage, "repTotalData", "{B}Total{/B}","$ 600.00","{B}Amount Paid{/B}","$ 0.00","{B}Balance Due{/B}","$ 600.00", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_ALL))

   ' avoid row 2 to be broken (can give weird results, depends on browser support!)
   ReportFooter.row(2).PrintPageBreak = ABM.PRINT_PAGEBREAK_INSIDE_AVOID

   ' alaways break before printing row 3
   ReportFooter.row(3).PrintPageBreak = ABM.PRINT_PAGEBREAK_BEFORE_ALWAYS

   ' all the rest is only visible on the print, not on the screen
   ReportFooter.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "AdditionalNotes", "{B}A D D I T I O N A L {NBSP}  N O T E S{/B}", ABM.SIZE_H4, "center", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_HIDE_ALL))
   ReportFooter.CellR(0,1).AddComponent(BuildDivider(InternalPage, "divider", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_HIDE_ALL))
   ReportFooter.CellR(0,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "note1", "Note 1: A finance charge of 1.5% will be made on unpaid balances after 30 days.", ABM.SIZE_H6, "", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_HIDE_ALL))
   ReportFooter.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(BuildLabel(InternalPage, "note2", "Note 2: Your current purchase chart.", ABM.SIZE_H6, "", True, ABM.VISIBILITY_HIDE_ALL))

   ' create a pie chart
   Dim chart5 As ABMChart
   chart5.Initialize(InternalPage, "chart5", ABM.CHART_TYPEPIE, ABM.CHART_RATIO_SQUARE, "chart5theme")
   chart5.Visibility = ABM.VISIBILITY_HIDE_ALL
   ' Something special, Label interpolation.  the value will transformed into a percentage format (This is Javascript!)
   Dim SumValues As Int = 30+50+70+80+100+140+170
   chart5.OptionsPie.LabelInterpolation = "Math.round(value / " & SumValues  & " * 100) + '%'"
   ' add ONE serie
   Dim Serie5A As ABMChartSerie
   Serie5A.InitializeForPie
   Serie5A.SetValues(Array As Int(30,50,70,80,100,140,170))
   chart5.AddSerie(Serie5A)
   ' add the chart to the cell
   ReportFooter.CellR(1,1).AddComponent(chart5)
End Sub

' Helper Methods
Sub BuildLabel(internalPage As ABMPage, ID As String, Text As String, Size As String, theme As String, isPrintable As Boolean, Visibility As String) As ABMLabel
   Dim tmpLbl As ABMLabel
   tmpLbl.Initialize(internalPage, ID, Text, Size, False, theme)
   tmpLbl.IsPrintable = isPrintable
   tmpLbl.Visibility = Visibility
   Return tmpLbl
End Sub
...

It will never be able to print everything of course (e.g. scrolling components), but I’m pretty happy with the things it will be able to do.  Browser support for report printing is still in its infancy I’m afraid and it will take some time before all browsers are lined up supporting all HTML printing features.

But, together with the new ABMreport component, you will already be able to create reports with very little effort using ABMaterial and B4J!

ABMaterial 3.75 will be available for donators in a couple of weeks.

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

B4J: IMPORTANT change in ABMaterial for B4J 5.80+

As B4J 5.80 has been updated to Jetty 9.4.6 (which contains an important change in the internal Session framework), you will need to update some code in StartServer() and StartServerHTTP2() in the ABMApplication module.

In pre B4J 5.80 with Jetty 9.3.x it was:

Dim joServer As JavaObject = srvr
joServer.GetFieldJO("server").RunMethod("stop", Null)
joServer.GetFieldJO("context").RunMethodJO("getSessionHandler", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionManager", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionCookieConfig", Null).RunMethod("setMaxAge", Array(31536000)) ' 1 year

'NEW FEATURE! Each App has its own Session Cookie
joServer.GetFieldJO("context").RunMethodJO("getSessionHandler", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionManager", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionCookieConfig", Null).RunMethod("setName", Array(ABMShared.AppName.ToUpperCase))
joServer.GetFieldJO("server").RunMethod("start", Null)

must be changed to this in B4J 5.80+ with Jetty 9.4.6:

Dim joServer As JavaObject = srvr
joServer.GetFieldJO("server").RunMethod("stop", Null)
joServer.GetFieldJO("context").RunMethodJO("getSessionHandler", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionCookieConfig", Null).RunMethod("setMaxAge", Array(31536000)) ' 1 year

' NEW FEATURE! Each App has its own Session Cookie
joServer.GetFieldJO("context").RunMethodJO("getSessionHandler", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionCookieConfig", Null).RunMethod("setName", Array(ABMShared.AppName.ToUpperCase))
joServer.GetFieldJO("server").RunMethod("start", Null)

' + This setting is with reservation until confirmation
Dim secs As Long = ABMShared.CacheScavengePeriodSeconds ' must be defined as a long, else you get a 'java.lang.RuntimeException: Method: setIntervalSec not matched.' error
joServer.GetFieldJO("context").RunMethodJO("getSessionHandler", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionIdManager", Null).RunMethodJO("getSessionHouseKeeper", Null).RunMethod("setIntervalSec", Array As Object(secs))

This will be corrected in the next upcoming release 3.75 of ABMaterial.

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial

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

 

B4X: ABMaterial 3.03 Public/3.20 Donators released

A lot of internal changes were made in the ABMaterial 3.20 ‘Chipmunk’ release.  For example, ABMContainer has been rewritten from the ground-up, but with minimal impact to your existing projects.  It allows adding them as array components, and has much shorter ID tags in the generated HTML.

Mindful and Stanmiller had another go on the cache issues.  They came up with a very nice solution (I had tears in my eyes) and both have done extensive testing on this subject. A big thanks again!  ABM 3.20 is backwards compatible with the previous 3.0.3 Cache System, but I would advice you to make the changes whenever you have the chance.

A nice new feature for mobile devices is the New Debug feature using a modified version of Conzole!

New Debug at work:

Using this new feature is very simple in B4J:

First, you have to enable the console in BuildPage():

' params are: open on load, width
page.DebugConsoleEnable(True, 300)

Two methods can be used to show or hide the console programmaticaly. Can be handy as a buid-in tool in your apps where the user enters a code on his device and you can then check the console.

page.DebugConsoleShow
page.DebugConsoleHide

Now you can start doing some cool stuff 🙂 Some examples:

Show some text, or a server value (note: strings must be between single quotes!)

page.DebugConsoleLog("'Server click at: " & DateTime.Time(DateTime.Now) & "'") ' shows the text

Now I generated an error on purpose, so the demo can show it catches the error:

page.DebugConsoleLog("'value: ' + $('#pi002-r2c1').html();") ' generates an error, the ; at the end is wrong

Same code, but with the correct javascript syntax, showing the html() value of the tag:

page.DebugConsoleLog("'value: ' + $('#pi002-r2c1').html()") ' generates the html value of the pi002-r2c1 tag

It works also on the desktop, although you probably will use the Chrome console as you can do more.

But there is more. You can also redirect all browser console message directly into the B4J log window!  You can use the following commands anywhere in your own code to start/stop receiving the browser console messages.

page.DebugConsoleB4JStart
page.DebugConsoleB4JStop

This is a very powerful feature if you develop Webapps for mobile devices.  It can be done otherwise, but it is a pain in the a$$ to set it up. Now, you can easily debug it on your iPhone, iPad, Android or any other device.

ABMaterial 3.20 has over 20 new features and bug fixes.  Following the same philosophy as B4X, the quick release cycle has proven to work very well for ABMaterial and its many users.  Donators will receive their download mail shortly.  The public version 3.03 can be downloaded from this blog too.

I’m also glad that with these releases, now everyone can work with ‘Chipmunk‘, and this does also mean the development cycle for ‘Butterfly‘  has ended.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support, hourless testing and inventive ideas you came up with in the last few years. You’ve made ABMaterial one hell of a WebApp Development Tool!

ThankYou

But we are not at the end! Far from it as I already have big ideas for the next releases.

Until then, happy programming!

Alwaysbusy

Click here to Donation and support ABMaterial