Heads up for open events in Xojo Web 1

While debugging a bigger Xojo application written in Web 1 this week, we repeatedly run into the same issues. The web framework regularly and reproducible cause problems in JavaScript when an object gets accessed before it is created.

Over the days on debugging, I reproduced this for a couple of methods if those get called in the Open event. Please note the Open event is run before the control is constructed in the browser, while the Shown event is run after its creation.

To Identity possible cases, we when through controls and set hundreds of properties and called hundreds of methods to figure out possible candidates. Later we search those in our big project to check if one of our bug reports is caused in such a way. I got this list of candidates: (more)

Prepare a Xojo Web 1 app for Web 2

Last week we had a Moving from Web 1 to Web 2 with lots of experiences I got when moving an app from older to newer web frameworks in Xojo.

While Web 1.0 apps with Xojo still work well, we have to make preparations for the eventual move. Some applications may just get obsolete and may never need to be ported. But some critical business applications need to survive. Eventually something will fail in the next years. May it be a change in JavaScript, CSS or HTML handling in a browser. It may be a minor thing somewhere, but if it drives users insane, it will come to our desk.

What web controls do we use?

Please search for the following things as they may be gone now:

  • WebAnimator
  • WebScrollbar
  • WebPageSource
  • WebSeparator
  • WebYoutubeMovie
  • And WebDialog with palette mode

Since those controls are gone in Web 2, you have to look if you use any of them and consider replacements.


MonkeyBread Software Releases the MBS Xojo Plugins in version 22.0

Nickenich, Germany - (January 18th, 2022) -- MonkeyBread Software today is pleased to announce MBS Xojo Plugins 22.0 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 77,000 documented features, and the versatile plugins have gained more new functions:

We got a new control for you based on the Scintilla library: ScintillaControlMBS. The new control is an advanced text editor to edit code in various languages. It provides lexers for syntax highlighting in over 100 languages including SQL, JavaScript and HTML. We added a Xojo lexer to highlight code for XojoScript.

As well as features found in standard text editing components, Scintilla includes features especially useful when editing and debugging source code. These include support for syntax styling, error indicators, code completion and call tips. The selection margin can contain markers like those used in debuggers to indicate breakpoints and the current line. Styling choices are more open than with many editors, allowing the use of proportional fonts, bold and italics, multiple foreground and background colours and multiple fonts.

Our plugin includes built-in libraries for MacOS 64-bit, Windows 32/64-bit and Linux 64-bit, so you can use it without external libraries. But if you like, you can alternatively load your own libraries. You can have multiple controls work on the same documents providing different views and you can asynchronously load big text documents.

For DynaPDF we have new methods for complex text rendering. This includes defining alternative font lists (currently Windows only) and doing automatic font substitution. You can now delete optional content nodes in a PDF document. And for the optimize feature we can either skip some color spaces or only convert some color spaces.

The Contacts framework on macOS can report all changes to your address book via the new classes to fetch contacts history. This allows full synchronized applications to react to changes the user makes in other applications in the contacts database.

For macOS we added NSTextBlockMBS, NSTextTableMBS and related classes to handle tables within RTF with NSAttributedStringMBS class. We improved EventKit framework classes to add more properties for birthday, structuredLocation and contactPredicate. For our WKWebViewControlMBS control we got an event to show a file dialog. The MKMapViewMBS class can now zoom to show all annotations using our new ShowAllAnnotations method.

Our LCMS related classes for color management now support pre-multiplied conversions. The new helper function DetectRGBProfileGamma can try to calculate the gamme level.

For Xojo 2021r3 we added over 100 more methods to take DesktopWindow instead of just Window, so you can pass whatever you prefer. A couple of window properties got changed to Variant, so you can assign either there. We adjusted event names of our Desktop Controls to match Xojo's event names and changed the view of our controls in the IDE.

The WordFileMBS class can now replace text and handle tab characters there. For our use of LibXML we disabled network access explicitly and CPUBrandString function now can handle Apple M1.

Finally we updated the archive library to version 3.5.2, cpuid to 0.51, CURL to 7.81.0, DynaPDF to, expat library to 2.4.1, LCMS library to 2.13rc1, lz4 library to 1.9.3, openssl to 1.1.1l, SQLAPI to 5.1.8, SQLite to 3.37.0, ssh2 library to 1.10.0, taglib library to 1.12, and LibXL to version 4.0.1,

See release notes for a complete list of changes.

Professional software release

Let us show you 10 steps on what to think about for professional software releases:

  • Release often

    Do frequent smaller releases, so you can better train your releases.
    If you do it once a year, you forget all the steps and miss some.

  • Plan your releases. When do you intent to release?

    Start the process a week before, at least to be sure you are ready.
    You may prefer to targeting specific weeks, where you have no family event planned or vacation.
    Or release a week before a conference, so the release is out and you can present it.

  • Write down all steps needed.

    Setup a list of things you do for a release. That may start a week before with drafting announcement texts.
    Your list needs to include what files to update (readme files), what things to copy where, how to build, code sign, package, notarize and upload the app.
    It is very easy to miss an important step early and then you have to redo a lot of steps.
    Try the steps on another computer for a training release, so you can make sure nothing is missing or depends on an application installed on the computer.
    Always great if multiple people could do the job on multiple computers.


MBS Xojo Plugins, version 22.0pr9

New in this prerelease of the 22.0 plugins:
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/ or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 22.0pr8

New in this prerelease of the 22.0 plugins:
  • Fixed AVCaptureViewControlMBS control to not crash IDE.
  • Changed how our controls look in the IDE by default. Shows the control name and version.
  • Added library icon for ScintillaControlMBS control.
  • Added runOpenPanelWithParameters event to WKWebViewControlMBS control and runOpenPanelWithParametersCompleted method to call later with result.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/ or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

Moving from Web 1 to Web 2

Now we are 2022 and Web 2 is out there for two years. We still have to move some Web 1 projects to Web 2 and we build up technical debt by waiting. If an easy transition is not possible, the decision may be to either rewrite projects from scratch in Web 2 or to move to other tools beside Xojo. But let's look into the details:

One thing we used a lot of control sets. Those are still not supported for Web 2 as of Xojo 2021r3. You can open the old project in the new IDE and they show in the control list as group (since the IDE can do it for desktop controls). But it won't compile for some reason. When you try to create a new control set, you get the message in the IDE, that control arrays are not supported. Reworking old projects with hundreds of controls in control arrays doesn't sound practically.

We use styles in our projects. The WebStyle objects import, but the editor for them is gone. They are basically now passed to compiler as classes, so all style assignments need to be reworked. Sadly the new IDE doesn't show any more what style is assigned to a button, so we would have to go through all controls in the old IDE to write down which style was assigned to which control and recreate that in code. For most styles, we may get rid of them by putting in a global bootstrap.css file into the project to define the base styling for the whole app.


Contacts history for Xojo

As you may know we need to get rid of the older Addressbook framework and move everyone to newer Contacts framework. One of the feature we missed so far was querying history of contacts, so we can synchronise our database in the application with the system contacts database.

For the upcoming version 22.0 of MBS Xojo Plugins we add the CNChangeHistoryFetchRequestMBS class. This class allows you to build a request with various options like whether to include groups or whether to unify results. Here is some sample code:

Sub QueryHistory() // prepare request Dim request As New CNChangeHistoryFetchRequestMBS request.shouldUnifyResults = True request.includeGroupChanges = true request.startingToken = LastTimeToken // nil for all, old token to find new stuff // ask for more keys, so we have data to display dim keys() as CNKeyDescriptorMBS keys.Append CNContactMBS.CNContactOrganizationNameKey keys.Append CNContactMBS.CNContactGivenNameKey keys.Append CNContactMBS.CNContactFamilyNameKey keys.Append CNContactMBS.CNContactTypeKey request.setAdditionalContactKeyDescriptors keys dim error as NSErrorMBS dim result as CNFetchResultMBS = m.enumeratorForChangeHistoryFetchRequest(request, error) if error <> nil then MessageBox error.LocalizedDescription else ShowHistory result LastTimeToken = result.currentHistoryToken end if End Sub

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 22.0pr7

New in this prerelease of the 22.0 plugins: Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/ or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

One year Xojo MVP

One year ago Xojo Inc. asked whether I want to join their MVP Program.

Well, as a close contributor to the Xojo community for over 20 years, there was no hesitation to join the opportunity this gives.

Beside the honor of being recognized as a valuable member in the community, this may bring a few communications privileges. While everyone can just send an email, the MVP have a private chat with Xojo staff under NDA, so we can ask questions there about things not talked in public. Usually before some decision goes public, we have some time to discuss about it. Often MVP provide a different angle and so some decisions in the Xojo team got changed there. One of the changes known publicly caused by MVP is that workers don't need a Pro license, which was the original plan. But now you can enjoy them with only a desktop license.

For new versions like the Android support, we got earlier access for a few days. This way we could find bugs before the public preview started. You know, like those problems that happen when someone outside the company tries to install it first time on a computer, which never had it before and may have a different localization or OS version. So we could get a few issues fixed, before pre-release testers all run into the same issues.

Please note that I am not a moderator on the forum. Some MVP are, but not all. And I am happy to not have the duty to moderate there. If you have an issue in Xojo, please follow some steps. Like writing a forum posting about the issue. Write down what you do, what result you get and what you expect. Provide some details and context. While writing this post, you may see a mistake you made and the issue is resolved for you (then you can discard your draft). Other forum members may reproduce the problem, confirm it or have a tip on how to do it differently. If this is not just a bug on your computer, but for others, it may be time to fill a feedback case, if no existing one matches. Again describe the issue and include if possible a sample project. Cross reference feedback case and forum posting. If others favorite and subscribe the feedback case, that shows Xojo Inc. the importance of the case.

Beside of being MVP, I continue to put a lot of work into Xojo myself. The last months, I put several weeks of development time in the Scintilla control for the next plugin version (22.0). And there is another big project with multiple weeks of development coming for 22.1. The pipeline is filled for new features. One thing done in 2021, which may show light in 2022 is the porting of all our plugins to 64-bit ARM for Linux and Windows.

I look forward to see you at a conference. For the time being, it looks like I may do some more local developer meetings. As the circumstances allow, we may have some beer garden meetings this year in various countries.

See also The Life of a Xojo MVP

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 22.0pr6

New in this prerelease of the 22.0 plugins: Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/ or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

xDev Magazine 20.1

The January/February (20.1) issue of xDev Magazine is now available.

Congratulations to 20 years of publishing!

Looks like I made the title story with my debugging tips.
Stefanie contributes two great articles and there is even more:

Debugging Tips for Xojo by Christian Schmitz
Finding bugs can take up a lot of your precious development time. Why not make it easier on yourself by using these great tips and tricks for easier debugging?

Apple Silicon Max by Marc Zeedar
Apple recently released new MacBook Pros with "pro" Apple Silicon chips, an upgrade to last year's M1. Are these worth it for the Xojo developer? Marc takes a look.

Data Cryptography with the Feistel Network by Eugene Dakin
The Feistel network is a sophisticated cipher whereby data is split into two pieces and encryption occurs multiple times. Feistel Ciphers are used in two fish, padding schemes for certificates, key schedules, Data Encryption Standard, and more.

Cool Charts and Heatmaps by Stefanie Juchmes
A heatmap is a unique type of chart, very cool to look at, and Stefanie shows how to use the MBS ChartDirector plugin to create one.

Plus: Transparent PDFs, Xojo 2021R3, Android, Send Emails with MBS, SQL Injection, xDev's 20th Year, and much more!

MBS Xojo Plugins, version 22.0pr5

New in this prerelease of the 21.6 plugins:
  • Updated DynaPDF to version
  • Fixed ShowInfoBar property for ScintillaControlMBS class, so you can disable it in the IDE.
  • Added ActivateAltFontList, CreateAltFontList, DeleteAltFontList and SetAltFonts to DynaPDFMBS class.
  • Fixed problem with resizing of WebView2ControlMBS control.
  • Fixed problem with BCryptSalt seeding in BCryptMBS class.
  • Added SetDocument method to ScintillaControlMBS to allow multiple views on one document.
  • Updated SQLAPI to version 5.1.8.
Download: monkeybreadsoftware.com/xojo/download/plugin/Prerelease/ or from Dropbox.
Or ask us to be added to our shared Dropbox folder.

Happy new year 2022

After 2021, the new year can only be better!

We wish you a happy new year 2022. See you at the next conferences in summer.
The biggest plugin in space...


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