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MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr6


New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins: Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr6


New in this prerelease of version 11.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.com/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

Data Detectors for Xojo


You may have seen Safari, Mail, Notes or other applications highlighting information in some text and they may offer to do something with the data, e.g. take a date and make a new event in your calendar or take an address and add it to your contacts.

Have you wondered how this works?

Apple provides data detectors in their frameworks to identify those data bits. We just added a new class NSDataDetectorMBS to use those in Xojo. While you can do a lot with regular expressions yourself, these pre-built detectors are convenient to use as they are.

You tell what to look for, either Date, Address, Link, PhoneNumber or TransitInformation. You can combine those types and look for multiple things together. The plugin then uses Apple's framework and returns the result as NSTextCheckingResultMBS objects for you to inspect. Let us show you the screenshot from our example project:



As you see we have a listbox with results. Each result has always the text found with the position and length to define the range in the original text. Then we provide the type of item found and type specific information. For a phone number this is simply an entry PhoneNumber with the number. If you need to format the phone number, check Using libPhoneNumber for phone number formatting. For an address, you may see Name, JobTitle, Organization, Street, City, State, ZIP and Country listed. Date results come with date, time zone and duration while links comes with an URL. The items we find are highlighted in the TextArea control in color.

Please try those functions later in the next days with our next pre-release and let us know how they work for you.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr5


New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins:
  • Added NSNetServiceMBS and NSNetServiceBrowserMBS classes for macOS and iOS.
  • Added runOnce method to NSRunLoopMBS class.
  • Upgraded BigNumberMBS to a 1280 bit floating point number for even bigger range and precision. 256 bit exponent and 1024 bit fraction.
  • Updated InstallDragImageMBS to support newer API and work in Xojo 2020 or newer.
  • Changed SQL Plugin to ignore or add @ in parameter name if needed.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr5


New in this prerelease of version 11.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.com/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

NSNetService classes for Xojo


We had for years the MBS Xojo Network Kit to provide Bonjour services for Xojo iOS applications.

Since Xojo 2020r2 can use plugins on iOS, we deprecated the Kit and now provide a replacement via NSNetServiceMBS and NSNetServiceBrowserMBS classes.

The classes includes:
  • asynchronously browses for domains to use
  • asynchronously browses for services with given type
  • asynchronously publishes services
  • query/publish TXT Record data.
  • Receive events for a service and in browser.
  • Parses IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
  • Encode and decode TXT record data.
Seems to work fine so far for console, web, desktop and iOS projects.

If you have needs for performing network tasks using Apple's frameworks, check NSURLSessionMBS class. It allows upload and download via lots of options and latest TLS encryption.

Coming soon with next pre-release. Please do not hesitate to send us comments, questions or feedback.


Markup for FileMaker on iOS


Did you know that iOS 11 introduced a feature to markup images and PDF documents right into the iOS system software?

A client asked for adding annotations to a PDF right on the iPhone or iPad with their custom FileMaker iOS SDK based application. We through first to use our PDFKit or DynaPDF functions. Those can do things like merge or render PDF documents. And DynaPDF has quite a few functions to create annotations via script. Great if you automatically want to do things, like adding clickable links via script. (see older blog posts). But this is all via script and the user wants to annotate manually with his finger (or a pencil). Recreating all the markup tools with native code or a web viewer is a lot of work.

When I asked what it should do exactly, the client opened the standard markup dialog in Apple Mail and said to do just use this one. And it turns out, we can do exactly that!

For next MBS FileMaker Plugin, we add this to our QuickLook functions. You can now use QLPreviewPanel.SetEditingAllowed function to allow editing. With QLPreviewPanel.SetDismissTrigger function you define the script to run when dialog is done and there you can query QLPreviewPanel.SavedFiles to get the saved file (if changes are made). Then import the PDF back into your FileMaker field.

The great thing is that you get all the markup features in FileMaker to work on PDF documents, add annotations, fill a form with text or draw something with an Apple Pencil.

Read more about Markup feature on Apple's website.

Coming soon with next pre-release and we made you a nice example database to try. Please do not hesitate to send us comments, questions or feedback.


Data Detectors for FileMaker


You may have seen Safari, Mail, Notes or other applications highlighting information in some text and they may offer to do something with the data, e.g. take a date and make a new event in your calendar or take an address and add it to your contacts.

Have you wondered how this works?

Apple provides data detectors in their frameworks to identify those data bits. We just added a new function RegEx.DataDetector to use those in FileMaker. While you can do a lot with regular expressions yourself, these pre-built detectors are convenient to use as they are. Here is our new function:

MBS( "RegEx.DataDetector"; CheckingType; Text )

You tell what to look for, either Date, Address, Link, PhoneNumber or TransitInformation. You can combine those types and look for multiple things together. The plugin then uses Apple's framework and returns the result as JSON for you to inspect. Let's take an example:

MBS( "RegEx.DataDetector"; "PhoneNumber"; "Phone us at (123)456-789 later!" )

With this result:
[
{
"length" : 12,
"position" : 13,
"text" : "(123)456-789",
"type" : "PhoneNumber",
"PhoneNumber" : "(123)456-789"
}
]
As you see we have a JSON array with results. Each result has always the text found with the position and length to define the range in the original text. Then we provide the type of item found and type specific information. For a phone number this is simply an entry PhoneNumber with the number. If you need to format the phone number, check Using libPhoneNumber for phone number formatting. For an address, you may see Name, JobTitle, Organization, Street, City, State, ZIP and Country listed. Date results come with date, time zone and duration while links comes with an URL.

Please try those functions later this week with our next pre-release and let us know how they work for you.

Installing a Xojo Web App Server


After installing several servers for a client with various configurations, I collected the notes and made a video for you guys:

Installing a Xojo Web App Server

We show how to install a virtual private server and run both Xojo 2019 and Xojo 2020 web apps. Maybe it is useful for you?


Vier Monate bis zur Deutschen FileMaker Konferenz 2021 in Malbun


Noch vier Monate bis zur FileMaker Konferenz 2021 in Malbun (Liechtenstein) und zur MBS Plugin Schulung Schulung am Mittwoch vorher.

Vom 17. bis 19. Juni 2021 findet die elfte deutschsprachige FileMaker Konferenz in Malbun, Liechtenstein statt. Aktuell läuft die Frühbucherphase bis 28. Februar mit vergünstigten Tickets.

Die Veranstalter vom Verein FM Konferenz erwarten auch 2021 rund 120 Entwickler, Anwender, IT-Fachleute und Entscheidungsträger aus Wirtschaft, Bildung und Verwaltung. Rund um über 20 Fachvorträge und Workshops wird es viel Zeit zum Vernetzen in den gemeinsamen Pausen und beim Abendprogramm geben.

Für den Deutschsprachigen Raum ist diese Konferenz das Treffen des Jahres. Hier finden Sie vom Anfänger bis zum Profi Kontakte zu anderen Entwicklern. Lernen Sie was es neues gibt, nehmen Sie Impulse mit für die eigene Arbeit und erfahren Sie mehr zu FileMaker von deutschsprachigen Experten!



Die MBS Plugin Schulung vorher findet voraussichtlich am statt im gleichen Hotel am 16. Juni 2021.

Bitte planen Sie wenigstens einen extra Tag ein für ihren Besuch in Liechtenstein, damit Sie die Natur in dem schönen Tal geniessen können. Den Aufstieg auf den Sareis können Sie bequem zu Fuß vom Hotel aus starten und die Turnastraße hinauf spazieren bis zum Restaurant am Gipfel. Oder alternativ die Seilbahn nehmen.

Hoffen wir, dass sich im Frühjahr die Corona Lage verbessert und die Konferenz stattfinden kann.

Understanding Memory Statistics


While looking for a memory leak in a Xojo app, I printed repeatedly Runtime.MemoryUsed value to the console and the object count with Runtime.ObjectCount. While objects and strings are created and destroyed, the memory used goes up regularly, often by jumps. Object count goes up and down as we do stuff in the application. So what is going on?

How is memory allocated?

When I remember the old days, over 20 years ago, where I used Turbo Pascal with DOS, the memory was allocated in paragraphs, a 16 byte unit. System memory was small in size (1 mega byte max) and even there allocating memory in smaller units was not done as it is highly inefficient to do so. And the memory model with Segments and Offsets made it convenient to only manage the segment part. Anyway, today memory is still allocated in 16 byte chunks with malloc, the C library to manage allocations.

When you allocate memory for an object or a string, the Xojo runtime will ask malloc for memory. And malloc eventually asks the OS for memory pages. A page is usually 4096 bytes, but can be bigger. I've seen computers with 16 KByte pages and newer Intel CPUs can do 4 MB per page. If you allocate a MemoryBlock of e.g. 5 MB, the malloc system will provide you straight away with such pages, maybe rounding up a bit or combining big and small page sizes. But for smaller allocations of 16 byte to 2048 byte, there will be pools. Since allocating pages has an overhead, malloc tends to allocate a bigger block, e.g. 1 MB for a new pool. There are pools for various sizes, e.g. 16, 32, 48, 64, 96, 128, etc. bytes in block sizes.

If you allocate a new string in Xojo with "Hello World", the malloc system will be asked for one block of 11 bytes (actual 12 for the Chr(0) on the end to be used as C string directly). This is rounded up to 16 bytes. If the pool for 16 byte objects is full, a new one is allocated of about 1 MB. That is why we see Runtime.MemoryUsed jump up by 1 MB regularly. There is some extra allocation for the tables used in management of those blocks.

When you free an object, it's marked as free. The block can be filled with a certain bit pattern to later detect reuse of freed memory. If all blocks in the given pool are free, the whole pool could be freed. But this usually doesn't happen. Getting pages from the OS is time consuming, so malloc prefers to keep the pool for later. But most of the pool may usually be marked as free. (more)

MBS Plugin extensions for Calculation Dialogs


You may have seen the earlier blog post about Custom Function Tools for FileMaker Pro. Once we showed this to people, we got a few ideas and one request was to include those buttons for the calculation dialogs in FileMaker in various places:



As you see we added a white box for the result and put a place holder text inside. And we had to do code to dynamically look for what controls FileMaker places there and measure their size to place our box between controls on the left and controls on the right. Let us know if we got it wrong in your FileMaker version or language.

Check 11.1pr4 to try this feature. Looks like the features work even in lots of older FileMaker versions down to version 14.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr4


New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins: Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr4


New in this prerelease of version 11.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin:
  • Changed result box in Custom Functions Editor to be a white box and no longer extend below buttons.
  • Updated LibXL to version 3.9.4.
  • Applied SQLAPI patch for SQL Server precision for number types (Int64 vs. Numeric).
  • Changed custom function extension to use /// to define variables and not confuse with your comments.
  • Added the same tools to several Calculation Dialogs.
  • Added Speech.Stop function.
  • Added SyntaxColoring.SetDebuggerTooltipsEnabled and SyntaxColoring.GetDebuggerTooltipsEnabled functions to configure the new debugger tooltip feature.
  • DynaPDF works with ZUGFeRD 2.1.1.
  • Adjusted plugin for newer plugin interfaces in FileMaker 19.1 and 19.2 releases.
Download at monkeybreadsoftware.com/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

RowSet in MBS Xojo SQL Plugin


For MBS Xojo SQL Plugin 21.1, we have RowSet now in 10 places. In general the plugin provides with one Database API the backend for both RowSet and RecordSet. The difference is how the Xojo frameworks provide back errors to you. RecordSet passes error to Database class, while RowSet raises exceptions. Whether you use RowSet or RecordSet is your preference. Here are the 10 places we use RowSet now:

  • In SQLCommandMBS class:
    • AsRowSet as RowSet
  • In SQLPreparedStatementMBS class:
    • SelectSQL(ParamArray bindItems As Variant) As RowSet
    • SelectSQLMT(ParamArray bindItems As Variant) As Rowset
  • In SQLDatabaseMBS class:
    • SelectSQL(sql As String, ParamArray values As Variant) as RowSet
    • SelectSQL(sql As String, values() As Variant) as RowSet
  • In SQLConnectionMBS class:
    • SQLSelectAsRowSet(command as string, CommandType as integer = 0) as RowSet
    • SQLSelectAsRowSetMT(command as string, CommandType as integer = 0) as RowSet
  • globals:
    • BuildRowSetMBS(fieldNames() as string, values() as string) as RowSet

The MT methods allow to perform the query in a preemptive thread, so the GUI may be more responsive if you call it in a Xojo thread. In general the MBS Xojo SQL Plugin allows you to be very flexible. For example you can walk over records with SQLCommandMBS class, with RecordSet or with RowSet. You can mix those if needed.

The plugins hide the RowSet functions if loaded in older Xojo versions.

We add BuildRowSetMBS for the next release. Similar to BuildRecordSetMBS, it allows you to create a RecordSet from string arrays.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.


Tooltips for Script Debugger in FileMaker


When using other development tools, we frequently have a feature to inspect values for variables or fields. Just move the mouse over the variable or field and see what's inside. This is very convenient for debugging a script to quickly see values, especially if all the local variables and object properties don't fit a single variable viewer window.



We got an idea for FileMaker. The macOS NSView class allows an application developer to register a function to provide a tooltip on demand. Instead of filling tooltips earlier, you can later decide on the value and generate it on the fly. (more)

Use Inline Graphics in Emails


For a client I built an example that put together an email for us. This email should show a picture as header and another picture as footer by default. These pictures were included via inline graphics. How this works I would like to show you now.

First of all I want to write the text for the mail in my project and have the possibility to attach attachments. The mail should automatically be displayed as a preview in a Web Viewer with the header and footer. With a click of a button the mail should be sent to a list of email addresses. The header and footer as well as the data to send our e-mail (username, password and mail server) are located in fields.

Let's start with the preview
To do this, we first read our formatting text from our textview. The text is converted into HTML with the GetAsCSS function. The header is placed before our text and the footer is after our text. So let's first build in placeholders, which we will replace later. Around this text we can then build the HTML structure with HTML and body tag.
Then we replace the placeholders in our HTML and insert the images. So we set image containers with the images. We must then Processes image references in HTML. That means all cid: links are found. : and / are replaced with dash.

Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: GetAsCSS ( Emails::Text ) ]
Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: "$$Header$$" & $HTML & "$$Footer$$" ]
Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: ""&$HTML&"" ]
Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: Substitute($HTML; "$$Header$$"; "<img src=\"cid:Header.png\">") ]
Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: Substitute($HTML; "$$Footer$$"; "<img src=\"cid:Footer.png\">") ]
Set Variable [ $HTML ; Value: MBS("EmailParser.ProcessImageReferences"; $html) ]

We need all our sources in one folder. Because this we add a folder Email in the temporary Folder and write the HTML as file and the Footer and Header to this folder. We give the following names to the image files: cid:Header.png and cid:Footer.png. We need the cid in front of the name to include the inline graphic.

If we work on a windows system we need to adjust the file paths.

Set Variable [ $htmlFile ; Value: Substitute($htmlFile; "\\"; "/") ]

On Mac we need to make an URL out of the File path:

Set Variable [ $htmlFile ; Value: MBS( "Path.FilePathToFileURL"; $htmlFIle )

This Path we then set to the WebViewer and can see the Preview. (more)

Claris Platform Vision 2021


You may have seen the video from Claris Inc. about their recent Claris Platform Vision 2021 webinar. Watch it on YouTube.

From the webinar, you can learn their development plans around their Claris products, improvements to FileMaker Pro & Server.

Relative to MBS FileMaker Plugin are a few highlights:

  • Claris works on support for Apple M1 and future Apple Silicon Macs. Exact date not given, but it may be later in 2021. We will try to support this as soon as we get a new plugin SDK with Apple Silicon support. Actually we were ready in July 2020 and a few weeks ago built it: MBS FileMaker Plugin for Apple Silicon
  • For Windows, Claris works on integrating WebView2 engine from Microsoft Edge into the product. The engine is based on Chrome project and much better than what we have with Internet Explorer. Once the change is done, you may enjoy newer JavaScript, HTML 5 and better CSS support in the web viewer. When this change happens, all existing WebView functions in our plugin will stop working on Windows. For us this will be a rewrite like the one from WebKit 1 to version 2 in FileMaker 16. But it is not clear as of today when we can support the newer web viewers at all. We played with WebView2 already and added them to our Xojo plugins.
  • There was no announcement so far about enhancements to the plugin SDK. We would like to see more there, like loading plugins into the Data API process to use it in scripts triggered via Data API.
  • There was also no announcements on the FileMaker iOS SDK. This SDK allows advanced FileMaker developers to build custom branded iOS apps, which replace FileMaker Go with a more tailored experience. For example you can provide a local database pre-installed and opening automatically. It can connect to the server for the company and be used without ever entering the server URL and credentials.
  • In several places Claris mentioned to work on Android. But details are missing whether there will be a ready to use FileMaker Go for Android. If not, everyone my need to use SDK with Android build tools to make a custom application. And unclear is whether we can provide plugins somehow. Read more about our thoughts and fears on FileMaker and Android.
  • Claris is aware of the changes with CentOS distribution. If they choose a different Linux distribution or do something different like VM containers, we may need to adjust the plugin to the new environment.

As with all changes coming, this may require you to update your MBS FileMaker Plugin. If needed also update the license to cover newer version.

Beside those we look forward to more news from Claris, especially on the upcoming conference in October.
Let me know if I missed a fact somewhere.


MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr3


New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins:
  • Added CocoaMouseDown, CocoaMouseDrag and CocoaMouseUp events to PDFViewControlMBS control to handle low level mouse events.
  • Added emojis to the documentation to clearer show what items are supported for each platform.
  • Fixed problem in DynaPDFMBS class with graphics, where we reset font to default one on nextpage call.
  • Fixed problem with dictionary processing on iOS.
  • Fixed problem with NSCollectionViewMBS raising events while closing and causing crashes.
  • Updated dyncall library to version 1.2.
  • Updated LCMS to version 2.12.
  • Updated Rockey4ND library to newer version.
  • Updated SQLAPI to version 5.1.4b3.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr3


New in this prerelease of version 11.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.com/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

Older blog entries:

2021-02-09 Xojo Leak Finder
2021-02-08 Custom Function Tools for FileMaker Pro
2021-02-08 FileMaker and Android
2021-02-08 RegEx Speedup
2021-02-07 Communication with an API with help of JSON
2021-02-05 MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr2
2021-02-05 MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr2
2021-02-03 MBS Xojo Plugins Installation for Windows
2021-02-01 MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr1
2021-02-01 MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.1pr1
2021-02-01 DuckDB
2021-01-28 Edit and Update for SQLDatabaseMBS class
2021-01-27 MBS FileMaker Plugin for Apple Silicon
2021-01-27 Converting Xojo project to use MBS SQL Plugin
2021-01-26 Generate EPC-QR-Code in FileMaker
2021-01-26 MBS Xojo Plugins Version 21.0 News
2021-01-26 New in MBS FileMaker Plugin 11.0
2021-01-25 Text Encoding Speedups
2021-01-21 WebViewer preferences
2021-01-19 MBS FileMaker Plugin 11.0 - More than 6400 Functions In One Plugin

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