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.

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.

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.

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?

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 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.

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.

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.

Xojo Leak Finder

Recently I had to find a few leaks in an application and wrote me some leak finder. Here is how it works:

  1. We walk over all objects via Runtime module and put them in an array. Thereby we skip data objects and introspection objects to reduce the number of objects.
  2. We check all those objects we get to find references to other objects. This includes looking on keys and values for a dictionary, controls in a window, row tags in a listbox, fields of a RecordSet and other container classes. For arrays of objects, we look into the values.
  3. By using Introspection we look on the properties in classes to add references.
  4. For each object found, we look via references if there is a circle way through it. If we find a circle, we report it via FoundLeak event.

This seems to work fine and we found a few leaks ourselves.

We will provide this example project with next plugin version for you to try. Already in 21.1pr2 download by now. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

If you have an improvement suggestion, please report back your changes.

RegEx Speedup

Did you notice the RegExMBS Speedup in MBS Xojo Plugins version 21.1pr2?

We recently got a notice about our plugin being slow with RegEx. A test project showed it is even slower than the built-in RegEx class in Xojo, so I looked what we could optimize.

The sample benchmark example (attache to Feedback case 24836) just creates a string with given number of matches and then lets the Xojo and the MBS class look for matches and counts them.

Size Xojo RegEx MBS 20.0 MBS 21.0 MBS 21.1pr3
500 Matches in 1 MB 186.826 msec 359.175 msec 285.546 msec 7.737 msec
5000 Matches in 10 MB 19.338.806 msec 35.494.294 msec 29.938.579 msec 56.555 msec
50000 Matches in 10 MB 19.508.207 msec 316.821.069 msec 292.339.023 msec 58.222 msec

Those numbers are measured here in built 64-bit apps with disabled background tasks. Your numbers may vary with a different CPU, but the relations should be reproducible for you.

As usual for the majority of Xojo developers the built-in classes are fine. And we cater to the small percentage, which needs a little bit more performance. But the new speeds measured are phenomenal.

How did we speed up? Well for MBS Plugin, we used to do a check whether a string is ASCII or UTF-8 and this check takes some time and if you do that on each call, it may kill performance. You see it exactly above as the number of matches defines how often Execute() is called and so how often the plugin did the string check. For our plugin, the check is now made only once and then we see you pass the same string, we skip it for further calls and use cached result.

Please try and let us know. Especially we are looking for similar cases where you pass the same text again and again.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr2

New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins:
  • Added BeginTransaction, Commit, and Rollback methods for DuckConnectionMBS class.
  • Added kcfIgnoreICCProfile and kptConvertPage to DynaPDFMBS class.
  • Added PDFAppearanceCharacteristicsMBS class.
  • Added IsASCIIText function to RegExMBS class.
  • Added UnInitialize method to SQLGlobalsMBS class.
  • Fixed a crash in IDE on Big Sur with NSTokenFieldControlMBS on the layout.
  • Fixed bug in Reverse method in StringHandleMBS class.
  • Improved performance a lot of repeated calls to Execute method in RegEXMBS class to find matches.
  • Updated CURL library to version 7.75.
  • Updated DukTape library for JavaScriptEngineMBS class to version 2.6.
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Updated openssl library to version 1.1.1i.
  • Upgraded PDFKit classes to current macOS SDK adding over 200 additional methods and properties.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS Xojo Plugins Installation for Windows

We got a video about installing our MBS Xojo Plugins on Windows. Stefanie shows you a few examples and how to use the plugins.

MBS Plugin Installation on macOS   All Xojo Movies   Watch on Youtube.

Enjoy the video and please don't hesitate to contact us with your questions.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.1pr1

New in this prerelease of the 21.1 plugins:
  • Added 30 new trigonometry functions for BigNumberMBS class.
  • Added CNPhoneNumberMBS.CNLabelPhoneNumberAppleWatch function.
  • Added DirectShowAMVideoControlMBS class.
  • Added DuckDatabaseMBS class for DuckDB database engine, a fast column based database engine.
  • Added extra line to CURL debug log to indicate the version of MBS Plugin, CURL library used and what OS is used. See DebugData property in CURLSMBS class.
  • Added FindPin method to DirectShowCaptureGraphBuilderMBS class
  • Added FindTableName function to SQLGlobalsMBS class.
  • Added GetStreamConfig function for DirectShowCaptureGraphBuilderMBS class to accept GUID to identify the pin category.
  • Added ImageIndex and ImageHandle properties to DynaPDFImageMBS class.
  • Added NormInvMBS function.
  • Changed Constructor for PDFBorderMBS to be public.
  • Changed MaxTotalConnections in CURLSMultiMBS class to 4 as default. Avoids excessive connection counts unless you change it.
  • Fixed issue with Graphics.TextHeight for DynaPDFMBS class.
  • Fixed issue with MoveFirst with RecordSet in our SQL Plugin when used with PostgreSQL.
  • Fixed possible crash in CheckUTF8MBS function.
  • Fixed problem in QLPreviewPanelMBS, broken in version 21.0.
  • Fixed problem with GetProfileInfo method and name property in LCMS2ProfileMBS class.
  • Fixed thumbnailSize property for PDFThumbnailViewMBS class.
  • Improved text conversion performance internally for getting text as UTF16 or UTF32. This is used in all plugin parts and speeds up XLSheetMBS and DynaPDFMBS classes a lot!
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Updated LCMS to version 2.12rc1.
  • Updated LibXML to version 2.9.10.
  • Updated LibXSLT to version 1.1.34.
  • Updated to Xcode 12.4.
  • Upgraded BigNumberMBS to a 640 bit floating point number for even bigger range and precision. 128 bit exponent and 512 bit fraction.
  • Upgraded DirectShowGUIDMBS class with more methods and properties.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.


On the weekend, there happened something on the Xojo forum. 29th January Hans-Norbert Gratzal pointed to DuckDB.org to ask about whether there is a plugin for this. DuckDB is a column based database, which is different than the row based ones like SQLite. Depending on what you do, column based databases can be a lot of quicker to scan lots of records for values in one column. Your mileage may vary, but if you have both available, you can do comparisons.

For fun I started on Saturday to code a few classes and work my way through it. That continued on Sunday. A real nice weekend coding project and I enjoyed it very much. Plugin creator Björn Eiríksson from Island also jumped right on this and released this implementation yesterday. Nice work.

The MBS implementation comes with 21.1pr1 pre-release later today. Build process for 500+ plugin parts takes some time. But feel free to check our classes: DuckDatabaseMBS, DuckConnectionMBS, DuckResultMBS and DuckPreparedStatementMBS. I decided to stick close to the original API and not do a wrapper using Xojo's database API. We may in future add it to MBS Xojo SQL Plugin, but for now, it stays separate due to its size.

The plugin includes pre-built libraries for macOS, iOS, Windows and Linux 32-bit ARM. Currently Linux 32/64bit on Intel is missing. But we built-in the LoadLibrary function to load the library coming with your distribution. The plugin is still big with 23 MB compressed. About 7 MB per target in average.

Since I like variant, I got you Bind and Value functions to read/write values with variant class and automatically handles boolean, integer, floating point and text data types. We got functions to read value as Date or DateTime values. Also we have more native functions to read the components for Date, Time, Timestamp, Huge Ints (128 bit) and Intervals.

The whole thing is early. DuckDB will evolve and we may enhance the plugin classes. Let us know your ideas and please don't hesitate to contact us with questions.
The biggest plugin in space...


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