Author Archives: Captain C

Loading the IDE in v10.0.8

Those of you familiar with OpenInsight 10 may know that the way the IDE currently boots and restores previously loaded entities can sometimes be frustrating, mainly because it can repeatedly steal the focus, but also because you can end up with several informational messages which slow the entire process down.  If this is something that you find irritating then you’ll pleased to know we’ve made a change in v10.0.8 so that the IDE now loads invisibly in the background, while the actual boot-up progress is displayed in a splash-screen like so:

IDE Boot screen

IDE Boot screen

Messages are kept to a minimum, and all non-informational ones (like locking failures) are presented in a popup at the end.

These new changes should help provide a welcome and smoother experience when using the OpenInsight IDE in future.

 

 

 

OLE Control improvements in v10.0.8

We added quite a bit of design-time functionality for OLE controls in v10.0.8 so this post provides a quick overview of what’s new:

The CLSID property

This property has a new “editor” dialog.  While it doesn’t allow you to change the CLSID (that’s by design – if you change the CLSID it’s a totally different control!) it does provide you with a lot of information about the control question such as it’s Registry attributes and it’s properties, methods and events, e.g:

OLE Control CLSID General Tab

OLE Control CLSID Properties Tab

OLE Control CLSID Methods Tab

OLE Control CLSID Events Tab

The QualifiedOleEvents property

This property has a new editor that allows you to specify which OLE events you wish to qualify when the control is created, hopefully removing the need for you to do this in code:

OLE Control QualifiedOleEvents Editor

The OLE Properties section

We’ve also added a new category called “OLE” to the properties displayed in the IDE Property Panel, and this contains all of the design-time OLE properties that can be edited for the control:

OLE Properties in the IDE Property Panel

You may also notice that we’ve added some property type-support for editing OLE properties here as well:

  • Color properties can now use the standard Color property editor
  • Fonts can now be edited with the standard Windows Font dialog
  • Enumerated types are edited with a dropdown list showing the “internal” and “external values, e.g:

OLE Enumerated Properties dropdown

Hopefully this will make working with OLE controls and OpenInsight 10 easier for you in the future.

Using Evaluate Notes in the IDE – making a “To-Do” list

One of the goals of OpenInsight 10 was support better integration between the development tools and the Repository, which is why we provided a separate “Repository” tab for entities when they are opened in the IDE, thereby making their attributes easier to view and edit.

This in turn allowed us to expose a Repository feature called “Evaluate Notes”, which has actually been part of OpenInsight since version 2, but was only really used by some system processes (mainly the old and deprecated “Impact Analysis” feature) and provided no user interface to allow editing.  This has now been rectified and is available from the Repository tab as you can see here:

Evaluation Notes

The Evaluate Notes functionality is composed of two parts – an “Evaluate” flag, and the notes themselves. The latter is simply a text field where you may record your notes and have them attached to the entity in question, e.g:

Evaluation Notes editor

The Evaluate flag, when set to True, adds the entity into one of the Repository indexes so that a list of entities with that flag can be obtained quickly.

It is then a simple matter to query this index and obtain a list of all entities flagged “in need of evaluation”, which you can actually treat as a “to-do” list if you wish.  We already provide this list in the IDE by means of the “Evaluate” tab in the “Quick Launch” tool panel as you can see below:

Quick Launch Evaluate Tab

Quick Launch Evaluate Tab

Hopefully this is a feature you find as useful as we do!

Adding Custom Properties in the Form Designer

User-defined properties (“UDPs”) have always been supported at run-time in OpenInsight by giving the desired property a name prefixed with an “@” symbol and then setting a value for it, e.g:

Call Set_Property( CtrlEntID, "@MYPROP_1", "SomeVal" )
Call Set_Property( CtrlEntID, "@MYPROP_2", "SomethingElse" )

Value = Get_Property( CtrlEntID, "@MYPROP_1" )

// etc...

With the upcoming release of version 10.0.8, design-time support for these has been added in the Form Designer via the new “CustomProperties” property.  This is simply a list of UDP  property names and values that can be specified and stored in the Form definition record, which are then processed during form creation to create UDPs that can be accessed in the normal way by Get_Property and Set_Property.

For example, if you enter a couple of custom properties in the Form Designer called MYPROP_1 and MYPROP_2:

CustomProperties Property

Editing the CustomProperties property

You may then use these with Get_Property and Set_Property at runtime, by referencing them with an “@” prefix (i.e. “@MYPROP_1” and “@MYPROP_2”) like so:

// Value will contain "SomethingElse"
Value = Get_Property( CtrlEntID, "@MYPROP_2" )

Two things to note:

1) You don’t need to specify an “@” prefix for the property name in the CustomProperties editor, and

2) You are not limited to simple strings when entering CustomProperties values – you may also use the standard “[,]” syntax for entering dynamic arrays just like you would for QuickEvent parameters:

E.g. to enter an @fm-delimited array you enclose the list of items in ‘[]’ brackets, and delimit them with a comma like so:

An array like this: 

   <1> ItemOne
   <2> ItemTwo

Can be entered as:

   ['ItemOne','ItemTwo']

Note that each array item must be single-quoted, but you can escape a quote in the data by using two single quotes, e.g.

An array like 

   <1> ItemOne
   <2> ItemTwo's Stuff

Can be entered as:

   ['ItemOne','ItemTwo''s Stuff']

For arrays with lower-level delimiters like @vm and @svm you add a set of nested ”[]’ brackets for each level, e.g:

An array like:
   <1>      ItemOne
   <2,1>    ItemTwo_A
   <2,2>    ItemTwo_B
   <2,3,1>  ItemTwo_C_1
   <2,3,2>  ItemTwo_C_2
   <3>      ItemThree

Can be entered as:
   
   ['ItemOne',['ItemTwoA','ItemTwoB',['ItemTwo_C_1','ItemTwo_C_2']],'ItemThree']

And so on.

Hopefully you find this new feature useful and help to reduce the amount of code you need to write.

A focus on the FOCUS property

There are two methods for setting the input focus in OpenInsight, and there is a subtle implementation difference that can impact your applications if you’re not careful how you apply them.

The first method is to use an object’s own FOCUS property and set it to TRUE$ like so:

Call Set_Property_Only( @Window : ".EDL_SURNAME", "FOCUS", TRUE$ )

This moves the focus to the specified object, but the event queue will be flushed both before and after the focus has been set, thereby preventing any events raised as a result of the focus being moved from being processed.  This method was originally designed for use with validation routines so the focus could be reset to an invalid control “safely”.

The second method is to use the SYSTEM object’s FOCUS property:

Call Set_Property_Only( "SYSTEM", "FOCUS", @Window : ".EDL_SURNAME" )

This moves the focus, but any events triggered as a result of moving the focus (like LOSTFOCUS and GOTFOCUS events) will be processed.

That all sounds straightforward enough, but using the first method can lead to unexpected results if you are relying on an event already in the queue that you subsequently need – not a common situation but one we encountered recently while converting an old form to v10.  In our case we had a menu failing to show when the focus was on a specific control, and it turned out that the LOSTFOCUS event for the control was setting it’s FOCUS property to TRUE$.  This had the effect of killing a pending MENUDROPDOWN event (new in v10) that created the menu to display, hence no menu.

In this case the solution is to use the SYSTEM BLOCKEVENTS property to turn off events being triggered while the focus is moved and then restore event processing afterwards:

Call Set_Property_Only( "SYSTEM", "BLOCKEVENTS", TRUE$ )
Call Set_Property_Only( "SYSTEM", "FOCUS", @Window : ".EDL_SURNAME" )
Call Set_Property_Only( "SYSTEM", "BLOCKEVENTS", FALSE$ )

This prevented any LOSTFOCUS and GOTFOCUS events from being raised, but the MENUDROPDOWN event was still in the queue.

Using the SYSTEM FOCUS and BLOCKEVENTS properties in this way is a far “safer” alternative when moving the focus because you have full control over how events are handled, and I would always advocate using this method over using a control’s own FOCUS property.

 

Coloring your tabs with the ITEMSTYLE property

A new facility introduced in version 10 is the ability to set the styling information for the tabs in the TabControl using the new ITEMSTYLE and ITEMSTYLES properties, and in this post we’ll explain how to use them.

TabStates and ItemStyles

Each tab in a TabControl can be in one of the following states at runtime:

  • Normal (Unselected tab)
  • Hot (Mouse is over a Normal tab)
  • Disabled
  • Selected
  • Hot Selected (Mouse is over the selected tab)

And for each one of these states you can specify the following styling information for the tabs:

  • ForeColor
  • BackColorFrom
  • BackColorTo
  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Translucency
  • CloseButton ForeColor
  • CloseButton BackColor

To do this at run-time you can use one of the following properties:

  • The ITEMSTYLE property
  • The ITEMSTYLES property

and we’ll take a look at each of these in turn.

 

The ITEMSTYLE property

   prevStyle = Get_Property( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLE", itemState )
   currStyle = Set_Property( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLE", newStyle, itemState )

This property allows you to get or set the ITEMSTYLE for a single state.  The property itself is an @fm-delimited array of styling information like so:

    <1> ForeColor             (COLORREF)
    <2> BackColor From        (COLORREF)
    <3> BackColor To          (COLORREF)
    <4> Bold                  (1/0)
    <5> Italic                (1/0)
    <6> Underline             (1/0)
    <7> Translucency          (0-100)
    <8> CloseButton ForeColor (COLORREF)
    <9> CloseButton BackColor (COLORREF)

Equates for these array positions can be found in the PS_TABCONTROL_EQUATES insert record:

   equ TCIS_POS_FORECOLOR$           to 1 ; * // COLORREF
   equ TCIS_POS_BACKCOLOR_FROM$      to 2 ; * // COLORREF
   equ TCIS_POS_BACKCOLOR_TO$        to 3 ; * // COLORREF
   equ TCIS_POS_BOLD$                to 4 ; * // Boolean
   equ TCIS_POS_ITALIC$              to 5 ; * // Boolean
   equ TCIS_POS_UNDERLINE$           to 6 ; * // Boolean
   equ TCIS_POS_TRANSLUCENCY$        to 7 ; * // UInt (0-100)
   equ TCIS_POS_CLOSEBTNFORECOLOR$   to 8 ; * // COLORREF
   equ TCIS_POS_CLOSEBTNBACKCOLOR$   to 9 ; * // COLORREF

You must also use the index parameter with the Get_Property and Set_Property to specify the tab state that you are setting, which is an integer between 1 and 5:

   equ TCIS_NORMAL$                   to 1
   equ TCIS_HOT$                      to 2
   equ TCIS_DISABLED$                 to 3
   equ TCIS_SELECTED$                 to 4
   equ TCIS_HOTSELECTED$              to 5

Example: Setting the Hot and Hot Selected styles

   $insert colors
   $insert logical

   // Set the mouseover text to change to red 
   itemStyle = ""
   itemStyle<TCIS_POS_FORECOLOR$> = RED$
   
   Call Set_Property_Only( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLE", |
                           itemStyle,              |
                           TCIS_HOT$ )

   // Set the mouseover text for a selected item to change to red
   // and bold
   itemStyle = ""
   itemStyle<TCIS_POS_FORECOLOR$> = RED$
   itemStyle<TCIS_POS_BOLD$>      = TRUE$
   
   Call Set_Property_Only( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLE", |
                           itemStyle,              |
                           TCIS_HOTSELECTED$ )

 

The ITEMSTYLES property

   prevStyles = Get_Property( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLES" ) 
   currStyles = Set_Property( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLES", newStyles )

This property is very similar to the ITEMSTYLE property except that it allows you to get or set the styles for all states at once.

The property itself is an @fm/@vm delimited array: each state is delimited by @fm, and the styling information for each state is delimited by @vm.

   <1> ItemStyle for the Normal State
   <2> ItemStyle for the Hot State
   <3> ItemStyle for the Disabled State
   <4> ItemStyle for the Selected State
   <5> ItemStyle for the Hot Selected State

(You will note these map onto the “TCIS_” state equates shown above)

For each one of these states the ItemStyle information is an @vm delimited array using the same structure as for the ITEMSTYLE property, i.e:

   <0,1> ForeColor             (COLORREF)
   <0,2> BackColor From        (COLORREF) 
   <0,3> BackColor To          (COLORREF) 
   <0,4> Bold                  (1/0) 
   <0,5> Italic                (1/0) 
   <0,6> Underline             (1/0) 
   <0,7> Translucency          (0-100) 
   <0,8> CloseButton ForeColor (COLORREF) 
   <0,9> CloseButton BackColor (COLORREF)

So you can use the “TCIS_POS_” equates shown above as well.

Example: Setting the Hot and Hot Selected styles using ITEMSTYLES

   $insert colors
   $insert logical

   itemStyles = Get_Property( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLES" )

   // Set the mouseover text to change to red 
   itemStyles<TCIS_HOT$, TCIS_POS_FORECOLOR$> = RED$
   
   // Set the mouseover text for a selected item to change to red 
   // and bold
   itemStyles<TCIS_HOTSELECTED$,TCIS_POS_FORECOLOR$> = RED$
   itemStyles<TCIS_HOTSELECTED$,TCIS_POS_BOLD$>      = TRUE$
   
   Call Set_Property_Only( ctrlEntID, "ITEMSTYLES", itemStyles )

 

Setting ItemStyles in the Form Designer

Item styling for the tab control can also be specified at design time by using the “ItemStyles” property that is available when you select the tab control in the form designer.  When you click the button for this property you will see an ItemStyles editor dialog that lets you specify the styling information:

TabControl ItemStyles Editor

(Note that in the current release (10.0.6) you will not see this applied to the design control – this will be fixed in an upcoming release)