News from the MBS Xojo Plugins in version 21.5

In this article I want to introduce you the new functionalities from the MBS Xojo Plugins in version 21.5.

New Desktop controls for Xojo 2021r3

Xojo 2021r3 introduces new Desktop controls and we updated our own controls for this change. Whether you use Window or DesktopWindow, in both cases you can enjoy one of our 29 controls. Maybe you didn't know that there are so many controls from MBS for Xojo?
Therefore we would like to give you a list of these controls. Maybe you will discover one that can improve your application.


Thanksgiving Sale

For this year's Thanksgiving in America, we offer again discounted licenses for our MBS Plugins for FileMaker and Xojo.
Please use coupon code BlackFriday for our web shop to order new licenses with a 20% discount. This includes DynaPDF and LibXL.

Order MBS FileMaker Plugin     Order MBS Xojo Plugins     Order LibXL

If you have special needs, you can email us to get an invoice or Paypal payment link directly. We know some people need to wait till next week to order, so the offer is valid till Tuesday.

Second if you have purchased previously an individual MBS Xojo Plugin part from the Complete Set within the last two years, but not the whole set, we offer you an upgrade to the Complete set for the update price. Please consider to get the whole collection of over 40 plugins instead of just one plugin.

See also Xojo Thanksgiving Sale, piDog sale, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary sale.

Black Friday coming soon

As you may know Americans love to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year Black Friday is 26th November. About half our customers are in North America, so we are happy to offer you a discount if they buy this weekend. Our offer will go live in the next days and should be available in time.

We plan to offer coupon code BlackFriday for the web shop with 20% off for new licenses of MBS Plugins, DynaPDF and LibXL.
Updates are already offered with discount (usually 50%) compared to new purchases and and our academic prices already have a discount, too. If you like, you can email us to get an order link for all licenses you need or provide an invoice if needed. Especially if you like to use Paypal for payment, we can provide a link with discount or write a custom invoice.

Order MBS FileMaker Plugin     Order MBS Xojo Plugins     Order LibXL

As usual the discounted offer allows you to buy whatever licenses you may need in the next year. Especially if your license expired in 2020 or before, this is a great chance to get up to date!

If you need a license from Xojo Inc. or their third-party store section, you may to check the Xojo store on the weekend. Everyone interested in a license for the current version 2021r3, should go and buy one. With a current license for iOS (Mobile) or Xojo Pro, you can enter Android testing.

You have a question? Please don't hesitate to contact us by email or phone. We may help to point you to the right offer.

If vs If in Xojo

On the Xojo forum was a discussion about the inline If vs the block If syntax in Xojo. Basically whether

result = if( value > 2, 123, 456

is faster or slower than

if value > 2 then result = "123b" else result = "456b" end if

And the answer is of course: it depends. It depends on what is exactly done and how much compiler optimisation eliminates test code. Like if you do a compare in a loop running one million times, the compiler may detect that the result doesn’t change and only run it once. Also if you assign a value to a variable and then compare that, the compiler may know the result and skip the compare.

So let’s deep dive into the assembly.


xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary Announce Huge Black Friday/CyberMonday Sale 2021

Marc Zeedar announced his offer for the week:

November 2021 – xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary are delighted to announce that through Nov. 29 (CyberMonday) their entire stores are on sale at 20% off!

Just use coupon code CYBERMONDAY to get the discounted price during checkout.

For xDev Magazine, this means 20% off subscriptions, renewals, books, bundles, and more! The only limitation is the minimum order amount must be at least $25 and already-discounted bundles (such as the popular “Welcome to Xojo” bundle) are excluded.

For xDevLibrary, you can save 20% on all digital books, articles, tutorials, and more – everything offered on the store! Just use coupon code CYBERMONDAY to get the discounted price during checkout.

This is a once-a-year sale, but it only lasts through CyberMonday (November 29, 2021). Hurry to take advantage of the great deals!

Also Strawberry Software offers a discount for renewals within the LiveBoat app and for MBS we offer 20% on new licenses with coupon code BlackFriday.

New desktop controls

In MBS Xojo Plugins 21.5 we got 29 new desktop controls to match our existing desktop controls. So whether you use 2021r3 or older, you can always use our controls:

The desktop versions are exactly the same as the normal ones, but with different super class. They derive from DesktopUIControl instead of RectControl.

Check them out!

Especially if you need modern browsing on macOS or Windows, our WebView controls can help. Otherwise enjoy showing map views, camera view, 3D scene or PDF content.

The Last Xojo Black Friday Sale

Xojo Inc. just announced their 10 day BlackFriday sale:

The Last Xojo Black Friday Sale - Save 20% storewide through November 29th

I'd like to add some details:
  1. Due to how the licensing works with Xojo, every licensee can just go and order an update. The expiration date will be adjusted to add the new year on the end, so even if your license is still good until 2022, you can extend and benefit from the discount. This should even work for more than one year.
  2. Third party products are included, so you can order some third party products along your Xojo license.
  3. Buying a XDC ticket gives you a discount coupon to give to a colleague to have them order a ticket, too.
  4. The reason they announced this to be the last sale on Black Friday is simple: Sales staff likes to enjoy family time. So instead of customers calling all day asking for help with placing their order, the sales staff can enjoy Thanksgiving next year. There will still be sales, but in other weeks of the year.
  5. Since Android is now in testing, you could get a license and play with it. Be assured that there is a 90-day money back guarantee, so Xojo Inc. can refund you if you are not happy.

For MBS, we match the offer of course. If you are interested in a new MBS Plugin license, you can get 20% off for our licenses (plus DynaPDF and LibXL). An announcement will follow next week. The coupon code BlackFriday can be used in our web shop. Otherwise email us for custom invoices or Paypal links with the discount.

Xojo 2021r3 release

The new Xojo release showed up and it brings us over 130 bug fixes, 40 changes and and a few new things. While part of the team is hard at work for Android to come in a later release, other engineers had plenty of time working on a lot of little things:

  • We got an update on the WebKit library for Windows, so a few websites may no longer complain about older browser engine.
  • The PDFDocument class learned a few more tricks like transparent colors and form fields.
  • Windows got a kind of dark mode. While Win32 doesn't really support it, Xojo got a lot of custom drawing code in to realize it.
    When the Windows framework gets rewritten with modern UI controls in the next years, it will go native for dark mode. See Roadmap.
  • You can now build MacOS apps on Windows and Linux. This once again makes Xojo a real cross platform tool again for desktop. Still customers will need a Mac to do testing, code signing and notarization.
  • The Crypto module got new functions for Blowfish, Twofish, AES and CRC functions.
    If you needed this before, you had plenty of choices with several plugin and declare libraries. The plugin still may offer more and do it threaded.
  • Some bigger companies may be happy to see iOS Enterprise signing works now.
  • The OSHandle data type for declares sounds handy to avoid conversion between ptr and Integer for handles. But since it's implemented as an extra class, I prefer to do a cast if needed or just change the declare to take integer/ptr instead of using a new class.
  • Running Xojo inside Windows for ARM sounds great. Seems to work fine for my copy of Windows 11 on MacBook Pro within Parallels.

MonkeyBread Software Releases the MBS Xojo Plugins in version 21.5

Nickenich, Germany - (November 16th, 2021) -- MonkeyBread Software today is pleased to announce MBS Xojo Plugins 21.5 for macOS, Linux and Windows, the latest update to their product that is easily the most powerful plugin collection currently available for Xojo. MBS Xojo Plugins have been updated and now includes over 2900 classes and 73,000 documented features, and the versatile plugins have gained more new functions:

Since Xojo 2021r3 introduces new Desktop controls, we updated our own controls for this change. Whether you use Window or DesktopWindow, in both cases you can enjoy one of our 29 controls. The plugin have been updated to the new plugin SDK and we updated our Chromium classes to the newer version used in Xojo now.

Our XL classes for using LibXL to edit Microsoft Excel documents got updated for the version 4.0 of LibXL. This includes a new XLFormControlMBS class to work with form controls on a sheet.

We improved our support for WebView2 on Windows with a NewWindowRequested event to catch the case when a link should open in a new window. Your application can create a new window and return the reference. The new WebView2WindowFeaturesMBS class provides details for the new window.

For DynaPDF we have a new DynaPDFVersionInfoMBS class to provide details on the PDF version of an import or the working PDF. We improved our ConvertStyledText function for styled text to better handle fonts. The new AddButtonImageEx2 function lets you pass image data directly for a button control on a PDF.

On Windows our plugin uses preemptive threads for MT methods with a thread pool. The pool can now be configured if needed with the WinThreadPoolMBS class. Our NSURLRequestMBS class can now set attribution for macOS Monterey to define whether the software or the user entered an URL. The SQL classes can cache prepared statements for faster performance in tight loops.

Finally we updated CURL library to version 7.79.1, DynaPDF to, LibXL to 4.0 and SQLAPI to 5.1.7.

See release notes for a complete list of changes.

Avoid pre-compilation pitfalls

You can have multiple Xojo versions installed. I currently have seven versions here, so I can verify problems with the same version as the client. And some projects are build with a specific version, so if we just fix a small thing, we rebuild with same version to no introduce any side effects with a version switch.

Xojo keeps a cache folder for each version Xojo version, so you may have something like in the picture on the right in your ~/Library/Caches/Xojo folder.

As you see, we just dropped in two plugins for the screenshot, but we did use console, desktop, iOS and web targets in two different versions. Xojo creates object files for the linker to use those plugins in the compilation process. If that works well, you only get a pre-compilation dialog every few weeks, when you may install a new plugin version.

Now if you have more than one copy of the same Xojo version on macOS, they share a cache folder. If one Xojo version belongs to a project with a few plugins and the other version has not the same plugins, the Xojo IDE will notice that the cache doesn't match the plugins folder and rebuild the cache each time you switch.

It is perfectly fine to have one plugins folder per version with different content. But if you switch one version between two plugins folder, then you see pre-compilation every time.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr7

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins:
  • Updated class extension for upcoming Xojo 2021r3. Please report if you miss one.
  • Updated plugin SDK for Xojo 2021r3.
  • Added role property to CKShareParticipantMBS class.
  • Added formatted method for NSPersonNameComponentsMBS class.
Download: or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

Tip of the day: Avoid repeated variant packaging

If you work a lot with variants, you may more often than needed, create or destroy variants on the way, often without noticing. Not every developer knows that assigning something to CellTag() or adding something to dictionary may create a new variant object. If you know the little details, you may notice it.

If you have a dictionary with strings as keys and values, you may have a loop like this:

for each key as string in dic.keys dim value as string = dic.Value(key) System.DebugLog "key: "+value next

What do you don’t see is the implicit conversions happening. For each step of the loop, the key is queried as variant. Since a string is needed, the StringValue function gets called to get the string value of the variant. If this is a variant containing a string, this is just a reference count +1 and returning the string. But if this is a number, it will call a ToString function internally and create a new string here.


MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr6

New in this prerelease of the 21.5 plugins:
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Added AddButtonImageEx2 function to DynaPDFMBS class.
  • Changed ConvertStyledText in DynaPDFMBS class to pass fonts as family names.
Download: or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

Several ways for picture to PDF in MBS Plugins

How many ways to we have to come from a picture to a PDF in Xojo with MBS Xojo Plugins?

Let's see how many we find:


We use GMImageMBS class to load the picture and save it to a file.

Sub test1(pic as Picture, file as FolderItem) // load picture into GraphicsMagick Dim g As New GMImageMBS(pic) // have it write to a PDF file g.write(file) End Sub

This should work cross platform all platforms (macOS, iOS, Windows and Linux).


MBS Xojo Plugins, version 21.5pr5

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

xDev Magazine 19.6

The November/December (19.6) issue of xDev Magazine is now available. Here's a quick preview of what's inside:

Things you can do with DynaPDF by Stefanie Juchmes
You probably know that the DynaPDF plugin is powerful, but perhaps you don't know everything that it can do. Stefanie lists a ton of cool features of the software.

Memorable Passwords by Marc Zeedar
While having a good password manager is essential, there are critical accounts where being able to memorize the password is useful. Marc helps with a tool he wrote in Xojo.

The Tale of Cross-Platform Compilation by Geoff Perlman
Xojo used to let Windows and Linux users compile for the Mac. Then that feature went away. Now it's back. Geoff explains what happened.

Cryptography with the Vigenere Cipher by Eugene Dakin
The Vingenere Cipher uses multiple alphabets to change the distribution, frequency, and average of the letters used in the message, making it hard to crack.

Rotating Christmas Tree by Stefanie Juchmes
Happy holidays! Use SceneKit to create an animated Christmas tree.

Plus: Xojo 2021R2.3, links in PDFs, SQL, GraphicsMagick, recommendation algorithms, working solo, document editing, and much more!

Adventures in emulation

When I started on a Mac around 1996 with a Performa 6200, I was always fascinated of emulation. I did quickly get Real PC, a software to emulate an Intel 286 CPU at that time on System 7.5. Mainly to continue to do some Turbo Pascal work there. But in 1998 I moved to REALbasic (now Xojo).

In March 2002, I made this screenshot showing some emulation within emulation inside an emulated PC:

Why? Because it's an achievement to get it to work!

We have macOS 10.1.3 running on a PowerPC Mac. Then there is macOS Classic layer running to run older macOS applications and one of that is SoftPC Professional. Inside that DOS is running. We also have Virtual PC software for MacOS X running there with a Windows 98 emulation. Then inside that it runs Basilisk II with a macOS System 7.5.3. And inside that one, we run Real PC to emulate another DOS.
  • Virtual PC translates Intel CPU instructions to PPC.
  • Basilisk II translates 68k CPU instructions to Intel.
  • Real PC translates Intel CPU instructions to 68k.
Amazing to get this to work for this screenshot.

Nowadays we still use a lot of emulations or virtualization. A great way to compile code or test applications for other operation systems without carrying a second laptop computer. We virtualize Linux 32 and 64bit variants in VMWare as well as several Windows versions. As the CPU architecture is the same, it is virtualization. Above we have PowerPC apps emulate an Intel CPU to run Intel software. We also virtualize ARM versions of Windows and Linux on a M1 MacBook with Parallels software. And inside the Windows ARM running there, we run Intel based software like FileMaker Pro.

What story do you have to share?
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