Double Underlined Text in DynaPDF

The DynaPDF version showed up and features the use of the new \dl# tag to double underline text.

Our code for DynaPDF.ConvertStyledText in the MBS FileMaker Plugin got updated and other functions like DynaPDF.WriteStyledText will use this, too. So you can now pass styled text from FileMaker to our plugin and we can convert the styled text and preserve the double underline.
Coming soon with next pre-release.

Two copies of MBS Plugin

Having two copies of MBS Plugin installed/loaded at the same time can cause various problems. Functions get loaded, but we internally can't know which version gets called. This may cause crashes, if old and new versions have incompatible data structures.

Our plugin has code to detect duplicate versions and it can show this kind of dialog on the right.

Now it seems to happen, that a few customers run into an issue, where this dialog would show when updating a plugin.

FileMaker has an MBS Plugin version loaded. Then the Install Plugin script step writes the new plugin to the same location. FileMaker loads the new plugin, but the OS sees that the plugin with that path is already loaded. FileMaker gets the old plugin again, calls initialize function and this was detects it was called before.

With version 11.5pr5, we put in a check to prevent this. The new plugin ignores if old and new path are the same, but will complain if you have two copies in different Extensions folders. This should fix trouble for the clients mentioned above.

Thread Pool for Windows

For our MBS Xojo Plugins we add a thread pooling for Windows in version 20.4. Instead of having the plugin create threads if needed for doing work and reuse them if needed.

For version 20.5 we got a new class to control that: WinThreadPoolMBS

We go these four properties:
  • StackCommit as Integer
  • StackReserve as Integer
  • ThreadMaximum as Integer
  • ThreadMinimum as Integer

The default stack size is 1 MB with a grow rate of 4 KB. Thread minimum and maximum is not limited, so Windows can decide based on CPU core count and load.

If you don't use the class, you get the default behavior: a shared thread pool for the whole process. This may also be used by plugins from other vendors.

But if you use this class, we create a thread pool for our MBS Plugin functions and you can configure how much we use it. In case you use this, please initialize this early and keep the object around, e.g. put in a property of app or a module.

Please try the current pre-release version of the plugin to see how it works for you.

WebHook Introduction

Nowadays we live in a connected world, so web services run on different computers and sometimes need to notify each other. They usually do that with sending a HTTP request to a given URL and pass on some data as part of the URL or e.g. a JSON block as payload. FileMaker has no built-in web hook feature and with FileMaker Server you can do some things with DATA API or a custom php script on the web server part.

Our MBS FileMaker Plugin in version 11.5 comes with a new WebHook functionality. You can open a receiver to listen on a port for an incoming request and trigger a script to process the query. Our plugin provides maximum flexibility as you can create listeners as needed by script and stop them when the job is done.

Let's say you have a phone system, which can trigger you for a new incoming call. You configure for each phone an URL to trigger for that computer and have FileMaker listen on that computer for the given port. In our examples we use port 9999, but that could be any number chosen by you between 1024 and 65535. Please don't use ports other application want to use like port 5003 for FileMaker. If the IP on the local network for our workstation is, we could have the following URL triggered by the phone system:

As you see we built an URL with http for the protocol. If needed, we could do https with TLS v1.2, but that needs a SSL certificate of course. If you like to simulate this, you could open a browser and enter the URL or run curl in the Terminal window:

curl -v http://localhost:9999/incomingcall


Saying goodbye to AddressBook framework

For many years we used AddressBook framework to interact with the built-in AddressBook application on macOS. Since about macOS 10.2 from 2002 those classes have been in the operation system. Since OS X El Capitan 10.11 from 2015 we got the Contacts framework to replace the older AddressBook classes and provide access to the same database for contacts on your application. Somewhere in-between macOS release, the applications for end users got rewritten and renamed to

The AddressBook plugin is deprecated for a few years and it looks like finally Apple put it on the no-go list for the App Store. At least we got such a notice for the ABPersonView control in one fo the applications of a client. This is one of the controls we provide for address book access.

We already marked AddressBook functions as deprecated, but it may be finally time for you to look through your code and remove all references to AB* classes:

class ABAccountMBS
class ABAddressBookMBS
class ABGroupMBS
class ABMultiValueMBS
class ABMutableMultiValueMBS
class ABPersonMBS
class ABPickerMBS
class ABRecordMBS
class ABSearchElementMBS
class ABPeoplePickerViewMBS
class ABPersonViewMBS
control ABPeoplePickerViewControlMBS
control ABPersonViewControlMBS

Let us know if you have questions on the transition to Contacts framework or if something is missing in our plugins.

For MBS Xojo Plugins we plan to remove AddressBook completely in a cleanup in winter, so 2022 versions may no longer have it. Because if Apple starts to flag those classes as no longer being eligible for App Store submission, it's time to say goodbye.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr4

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins: Download: or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.5pr4

New in this prerelease of version 11.5 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin:
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Added Float 16bit support for CoreML functions.
  • Updated Xcode to version 13.1.
  • Fixed a problem with removeObserver for macOS Monterey.
  • Added fraudulentWebsiteWarningEnabled and textInteractionEnabled settings for WebView.GetPreferences and WebView.SetPreferences functions.
  • Fixed an edge case for WordFile.Substitute not working correctly for text near the end of the document.
Download at, in Dropbox folder or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

SyntaxColoring Updates

For MBS FileMaker Plugin version 11.5 we got a few new improvements for the syntax coloring.

First, SyntaxColoring.AddTag can now do formula tags with wild cards. Just define a tag with stars on beginning and end to get that color rule applied on the end over all other rules:

MBS( "SyntaxColoring.AddTag"; "formula"; "*deprecated*"; "red" )

This rule would mark everything with deprecated in a formula text with red color. Great if you have fields you want to get rid off. Rename the field to have deprecated in the name and then walk your way through calculations to easily spot the field name.

We got a new way to color comments in calculations. When we detect a comment with // or /* in your calculation, we can pick up the first word after that and lookup if a special color is defined. We look first in formula colors and then in script step colors for this with the # prefix. For example you may define a generic comment color. Then maybe define a few more special colors like one for #todo, another one for #fixme or one for #warning.

We hope those coloring options help you. Check the new fmSyntaxColorizer for a clever GUI to setup all the options or do it yourself via our SyntaxColoring functions.

Join Russell Watson tonight on live broadcast talking about fmSyntaxColorizer.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr3

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins: Download:

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.5pr3

New in this prerelease of version 11.5 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at, in Dropbox folder or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

Transparent WebViewer

You know a web viewer showing white background?

If you use WebView.SetDrawsBackground function with next MBS FileMaker Plugin, you can disable it and turn the web viewer into transparent mode:

So far transparency works on macOS and iOS and may help you to design improved JavaScript-based controls.
Coming soon with next pre-release.

Styled Text for Labels in your Xojo iOS app

If you like to get styled text on your labels in iOS, you can use our NSAttributedStringMBS class in our MBS Xojo MacCocoa Plugin like below.

As you see we create a NSMutableAttributedStringMBS object for some string and add attributes with zero based ranges there. We then use a declare to setAttributedText to assign the attributed string. Currently our classes for Cocoa controls are not ported to iOS in the plugin, but a quick declare helps us here.

EventHandler Sub Open() // create some text from a string. Could also read in RTF Dim a As NSAttributedStringMBS = NSAttributedStringMBS.attributedStringWithString("Hello World") // make a mutable copy Dim m As NSMutableAttributedStringMBS = a.mutableCopy // now add bold font Dim r1 As New NSRangeMBS(0,5) m.addAttribute(m.NSFontAttributeName, NSFontMBS.boldSystemFontOfSize(13), r1) // and underline Dim r2 As New NSRangeMBS(6,5) m.addAttribute(m.NSUnderlineStyleAttributeName, m.NSUnderlineStyleSingle, r2) // assign new styled text Declare Sub setAttributedText Lib "UIKit" Selector "setAttributedText:" (NSTextViewRef As ptr, AttributedStringHandle As Integer ) setAttributedText Label1.Handle, m.Handle End EventHandler

Not all styled are available on iOS. You can for example use NSForegroundColorAttributeName with NSColorMBS (actually UIColor on iOS internally) to color the text. Since superscript and subscript are not available, you can emulate it with using NSBaselineOffsetAttributeName to change the base line and then use a smaller font for the words.

FileMaker Konferenz 2022 in Hamburg

Vom 22. bis 24. Juni 2022 findet die elfte deutschsprachige FileMaker Konferenz in Hamburg, Deutschland statt. Das JUFA Hotel Hamburg HafenCity liegt direkt neben dem Ausgang der U-Bahn Station HafenCity Universität, nur drei Stationen vom Hauptbahnhof via U4, so dass sich die Anreise per Bahn empfiehlt. FileMaker Anwender und Entwickler können ihre Teilnahme bald buchen.

Möchten Sie Sponsor oder Sprecher werden?
Aktuell sucht der FMK Verein Vorschläge für interessante Vorträge.

Die Veranstalter vom Verein FM Konferenz erwarten auch 2022 rund 180 Entwickler, Anwender, IT-Fachleute und Entscheidungsträger aus Wirtschaft, Bildung und Verwaltung. Rund um über 25 Fachvorträge und Workshops wird es viel Zeit zum Vernetzen in den gemeinsamen Pausen und beim Abendprogramm geben.

Gibt es Interesse an einem MBS Plugin Workshop am Tag vor der Konferenz?

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.5pr2

New in this prerelease of version 11.5 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at, in Dropbox folder or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr2

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins:
  • Fixed code to return FolderItem in various functions on iOS.
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Changed MLFeatureValueMBS.featureValueWithPicture to convert picture to bitmap if needed.
  • Enabled ConsoleExecuteMBS method for desktop projects.
  • Fixed issue with CloudKit classes, where CKShareMBS was returned CKRecordMBS.
  • Added CacheInsertStatement flag for SQLDatabaseMBS to cache insert statements for InsertRecord to speed those up.
  • Added StartIndex parameter to FindValueInArray and FindValueInObjectArray methods in JSONMBS class, so you can repeat search until nothing more is found.
  • Added new constructor for DirectShowEnumMonikerMBS to find all filters available.
  • Added new events for NSSharingServiceDelegateMBS class for cloud sharing.

DynaPDF with gradients in DeviceN colorspace

We got a new example for our MBS Xojo DynaPDF Plugin for using DynaPDFMBS class to create a gradient with DeviceN color space. We use DynaPDFExtGStateMBS to set the extended graphics state and enable overprint mode. Then we create the DevcieN colorspace based on a CMYK fallback. And within that colorspace we define an axial shading to get a gradient to fill an area in the PDF page. Here is the new sample code:

// Draw something in background so that we can see whether it works Call pdf.SetColorSpace(pdf.kcsDeviceCMYK) Call pdf.SetFillColor(PDF.CMYK(0, 0, 255, 0)) Call pdf.Rectangle(0.0, 0.0, 595.0, 842.0, pdf.kfmFill) Dim gs As New DynaPDFExtGStateMBS gs.OverPrintMode = 1 gs.OverPrintFill = 1 Dim gsHandle As Integer = pdf.CreateExtGState(gs) Call pdf.SetExtGState(gsHandle) // In this example, we emulate a CMYK color space with a DeviceN color space. // The required Postscript calculator function is super simple, it consists of only two braces"{}". Dim cls() As String = Array("Cyan", "Magenta", "Yellow", "Black") Dim cs As Integer = pdf.CreateDeviceNColorSpace(cls, "{}", pdf.kesDeviceCMYK, -1) Call pdf.SetExtFillColorSpace(cs) Dim sh As Integer = pdf.CreateAxialShading( 50.0, 50.0, 550.0, 50.0, 0.5, PDF.CMYK(60, 0, 0, 0), PDF.CMYK(255, 0, 0, 0), False, False) Call pdf.ApplyShading(sh)

This needs a DynaPDF Pro license from us for the plugin. Feel free to try the example project included with future MBS Plugin releases and send us questions.

Use text fields for numbers

Due to current events in an office nearby, here again an announcement announcement for all database developers:
Please treat the following numbers as text for processing and storing in a database.

Zip codes
While we call them zip numbers in Germany and they are just five digits here, a zip code may contain various other characters like letters, spaces and dashes. e.g. "SW1A 1AA" is a valid zip code in the United Kingdom. The length of post codes may be over 10 characters in some places and contain leading zeros. In Argentina even a plus may be used like "46C2+32".

Invoice Numbers
The number on an invoice, an offer or an order often has a scheme defined by the used software. Some companies use dashes to separate sections of the number like year-branch-number to give each shop branch their own running count for invoices. We have seen invoices numbers with prefix or postfix to indicate branches or types of invoices. (more)

The order of events in Xojo

When to initialize what is always a good question. Doing a custom constructor for Application, a Window or Control allows you to initialize some things before Xojo does some setup steps. For example if you like to have custom delegates for Cocoa frameworks, like our NSApplicationDelegateMBS class. The MBS Plugin registration can also either go into the constructor or App.Open event.

The constructor of a control allows you to do initialization steps before the control is added to the window. The open event of the control then allows you to do things after the control is initialized. And the open event of the window allows you to setup something after all controls are setup, e.g. connect a window splitter to the left and right controls. (more)

Calculate Text Sizes

Sometimes you may want to know how much text fits a certain space or reduce text to fit. The common problem is that you have a long text like "Johannes Zimmermann" and the field is too small to fit the whole text. Then FileMaker may only show "Johannes" and the whole surname wraps to second line.

Our plugin can help and offers a few functions related to fonts. For example Font.CalculateTextWidth can calculate the length of a text in points, so you know whether text will fit.

MBS( "Font.CalculateTextWidth"; "Hello World"; "Arial"; 12 )

Your calculation may for example detect that the whole name doesn't fit. But maybe "Mr. Zimmermann" fits and then you may use that one.

Now if you like to know whether text will fit in height, you can use Font.CalculateTextHeight functions.

MBS( "Font.CalculateTextHeight"; "Hello World. Just a test."; 100; "Arial"; 12 )

This would use 100 points as wrap limit, so we get a second row of text. The height returned here should be something like 36 points. The actual numbers are not identical for macOS and Windows since both OS have their own way of anti aliasing and get different sizes for various letters, even for the same font.

The third function Font.CalculateTextFits will take a text and return the number of characters, that fit in a given space.

MBS( "Font.CalculateTextFits"; "Hello World"; 50; "Arial"; 12)

This may return 8 here as 50 points don't fit the full text "Hello World", but only "Hello Wo". Your script may then decide to cut two more characters and put in three dots.

A specialty is that the font parameter can be a font name specifying the exact font if needed on macOS. Since Arial bold has a separate font file called Arial-BoldMT, you can specify that to pick the bold font.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr1

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins:
  • Added AddSort method to XLAutoFilterMBS class.
  • Added DynaPDFVersionInfoMBS class.
  • Added ErrCode and ErrType properties to DynaPDFErrorMBS class.
  • Added GetPDFVersionEx function for DynaPDFMBS class.
  • Added IsAutoFilter function to XLSheetMBS class.
  • Added ScreenResolution property to DynaPDFRasterizerMBS class.
  • Added XLSFormControlMBS class and related methods.
  • Changed a few old deprecated controls to hide in the control library.
  • Changed DynaPDF examples to use kcpUnicode instead of kcp1252.
  • Changed PermissionsMBS class to be marked as console safe.
  • Changed SQLPreparedStatementMBS class to raise TypeMismatchException if you pass array of variant for param array, e.g. array in array.
  • Deprecated LoadString in ChromiumFrameMBS class since CEF deprecated the method.
  • Fixed memory leak for ZintVectorStringMBS and ZintVectorStringMBS classes.
  • Fixed memory leak in BarcodeGeneratorMBS class.
  • Fixed NSSearchFieldControlMBS class to fire KeyDown/KeyUp events for return/enter keys, too.
  • Fixed passing of numbers for SetStrokeColorEx() taking param array.
  • Fixed socket methods for PacketSocketMBS class.
  • Updated Chromium classes to newer CEF version.
  • Updated CURL library to version 7.79.1.
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Updated LibXL to version 4.0.
  • Updated SQLAPI to version 5.1.6.
Download: or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 11.5pr1

New in this prerelease of version 11.5 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at, in Dropbox folder or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.


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