Archive for the ‘Visual Forms’ Category.

Introducing Demo Browser… (from the pile of never to be released…)

It is interesting what you find in your drafts folder. From January 20, 2012! I guess my interests got consumed elsewhere. Still think the idea has merit.

I’m sure everyone has a stack of ideas that never really get off the ground for one reason or another. This is just one of plenty for me!

NOTE: This was used for the JSDialog Pack demos way back when so it kind of got released for in-house use.


The Demo Browser is an application that allows component vendors to showcase the demos that come with their products.

One of the main issues developers face is how to make “my application” do what is being done in a screen shot shown on the particular vendors site. I know this because I am also a consumer of third party products and trying to work out how a component works can be time consuming. The aim of Demo Browser is two fold, firstly allow a products demos to be located in a common front end and secondly to help spotlight important features within those demos.

The idea originally came about when seeing a number of questions about Delphi specific features that were covered by sample applications that shipped with the product. It is fine to tell them to go and search through a bunch of directories (some Delphi versions he “hide” the demo folder is some obscure location – it has since become more obvious where the demos are, but I digress).

So a central location for demos is what Demo Browser is.

Some History

Like most things I develop I usually mention it to a number of people I consider my sounding board. They seem to be very good at determining what might be a good thing and what may not (even though we don’t always see eye to eye – which is a good thing). I first bounced the Demo Browser idea off a former Borland (yes a while ago now) employee whom I had coffee and social chats with on a regular basis. So the first Demo Browser prototype was dynamic. It could read in the demos folder of your Delphi installation and process the information into a nice central view. Here are some of the initial screen captures (these were created August 3, 2007).

Demo Browser prototype

Demo Browser: summary

Demo Browser: readme

Demo Browser prototype

Demo Browser: screen capture

Demo Browser: filtering

Demo Browser prototype

Demo Browser: filter view

Demo Browser: video

XE Plus Pack – Release 14

Release 14 is now available to all existing XE Plus Pack users. Release 14 also brings support for Delphi XE5.

The reason why the XE5 release was delayed was that the addition on iOS 7 support and a couple of changes to internal IDE component names (which made no sense to change) broke two of my experts. Needless to say, I was waiting for Update 1 to be released before making the XE5 version available.

NOTE: The XE5 release works with or without update 1 and with or without iOS 7 support.

Introducing Debug Visualizer Wizard

This expert is a repository wizard to help made Debug Visualizers without needing to go into much detail about their implementation. It allows you to concentrate on creating custom visualizers which is perhaps one of the most unappreciated IDE features.

Those paying attention will know that this wizard is based off the Blaise Pascal Magazine article written back in the days of Delphi 2010. The code was upgraded and the templates improved and now available from Delphi XE thought to Delphi XE5.

Debug Visualizer Wizard (release 14)

Fixes

There have also been a number of fixes under the hood, however two that will be noticeable are:

  1. Support for adding bookmarks with the bookmark guide when the editor is not docked.
  2. Improved tracing output.

Pricing

XE Plus Pack still costs just 40 Euros and can be purchased cheaper if ordering four or more licenses (contact us for quotes).

  • Purchase XE Plus Pack and get the Delphi XE version.
  • Purchase XE2 Plus Pack and get support for Delphi XE2 -> Delphi XE5.

http://jed-software.com/xepp_purchase.htm

Download

Download your required version from the download page.

To try XE5 Plus Pack download the trial version.

XE3 Plus Pack

XE3 Plus Pack is now available for download.

 

This version supports XE3 and includes a new expert (detailed below), some minor enhancements plus some fixes.

– New expert called Watch Property Groups.

– The Bookmark Guide expert now defaults to suppressing editor bookmarks and aligning to the left of the editor.

– When displaying Options, the Visual Forms window is no longer displayed when not visible.

– When returning from viewing a form as text and there are errors treaming in the form an exception dialog would display repeatedly.

– Support Visual Forms captures for FireMonkey projects (the underlying structure of the form designer changed between XE2 and XE3).

– Logging Visual Forms messages would raise an exception on shutdown when the message view was not visible.

– Fix issue with Bookmark Guide not displaying when loading the IDE with no project.

– New command to automatically jump to the Library Paths options page. Add it to the IDE by customizing a toolbar.

 

Download

Download the 30 day trial – XE3 Plus Pack Trial Download

 

XE2 Plus Pack users

XE2 Plus Pack registration details also work with XE3 Plus Pack. Therefore there is no need to purchase XE3 Plus Pack if you are an existing XE2 Plus Pack customer.

 

Pricing change

The price for XE3 Plus Pack is still only 40 Euros and now includes a lifetime license. This change also applies to existing XE and XE2 Plus Pack holders.

 

Watch Property Groups

The Watch Property Group expert allows you to group a number of properties you generally watch for a specific object type and adds them all to the Watch List with a click of a button.

Watch Property Group

Steps Involved

  1. Define your property group
  2. Highlight the object instance in the code editor and display the Watch Property Group window. The default shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+W.
  3. Highlight the desired watch group to use and press enter (or the first toolbar button) in the Watch Property Group dialog to add a watch for each property in the defined group.

The Watch Property Group window can be docked in the IDE and saved to your debug layout so it is always where you want it.

Additional Information available in the online help guide: http://www.jed-software.com/help/WatchPropertyGroup/WatchPropertyGroup.html

 

XEPP: Preview of Release 2 and an upcoming addition…

A minor update to XE Plus Pack is currently being tested.

This update includes the following:

  • [Update] Adds the Execute and Execute as Admin commands to the File Actions Project Manager context menu. Handy for those batch files included in your projects.
  • [NEW] Ability to save the Options treeview state between executions and IDE sessions. By default, only the Environment node is expanded.
  • Some internal tweaks to better support upcoming features.

When the trial is ready for downloading, you’ll hear it first!

 

What’s coming up

Export / Import and Reset IDE Options

Looking something like this at the moment (screens may change before release).

Export Settings Introduction screen

Select which options to export

Options for saving the exported settings file

Third Parties

If you like to have you options exportable, please contact me.

The exporting isn’t limited to just registry settings, but can include specific files (or file sets) as well as entire folders. Files and Folders can be dynamically located.

 

Sneak Peak: XE Plus Pack

I’m getting very close to releasing a new product called XE Plus Pack.

This product will include a number of experts that I’ve been personally using. Some for a number of years and some very new. Ultimately the idea behind the XE Plus Pack is that it will continue to grow over time to include new Experts, Property Editors, Component Editors and Utilities for newer IDE versions.

The first release will cover Delphi XE.

While the sneak peak shows five experts listed in the new JED Software Third Party Options section, only four will be released initially. The fifth (Bookmark Guide) still needs to bake a little bit before being released.

 

XE Plus Pack will sell for 40 Euros (50% discount for JSDialog Pack users and Free for current Visual Forms users). Yearly renewal of 20 Euros applies for updates and to receive newer experts. Users will have the opportunity to vote for which expert gets released next (I have an extensive list earmarked for the product).

 

Initially XE Plus Pack will include:

  • Visual Forms
  • Activate Project
  • File Actions
  • Code Template Wizard

 

Upcoming items that will be included with this product:

  • (Expert) Bookmark Guide
  • (Expert/Utility) Revamped Delphi Configuration Manager
  • (Utility) Enhanced Configuration Launcher
  • (Utility/Expert) Extensive IDE Options import/export application that can run from removable media
  • (Utility) Client DataSet Editor – developed while creating QC Plus

NOTE: Some utilities won’t be limited to Delphi XE IDE versions.

 

I will be doing some videos to introduce the collection and specific functionality.

XE Plus Pack - Options Integration

XE Plus Pack - Options Integration

Visual Forms: minor update + new sku details

Update Details

Currently a minor update is going through final testing.

  • This update adds a filter bar to the UI of the Visual Forms window and allows you to filter displayed forms by type. Current filters available are Forms, DataModules and Frames.
  • Auto update on save will now only update the form image if the designer is active in the IDE. This prevents the toggling that was previously occuring if just saving changes to the editor.

New SKU

Currently when you purchase Visual Forms, you get access to all IDE versions. The new SKU will give you access to your preferred IDE version. As long as your IDE version is Delphi 2007, Delphi 2009, Delphi 2010 or Delphi XE. Naturally this will also bring in a reduction in price.

JSDialog Pack

An update is also planned for release in the middle of March 2011.

Visual Forms 2.0.1 – Delphi XE

A new update to Visual Forms has been released. The update is for all supported IDE Versions.

Registered users should have received the necessary details yesterday. If not, please let me know.

This new update includes support for Delphi XE, IDE Logging and also Updating of Localisations within the options screen.

Due to an enhancement in the OTAPI for Delphi XE, the Visual Forms Options dialog has been replaced and options are now accessible in the Tools | Options dialog. You can still get to the options using the Options menu item in the Visual Forms sub menu and the toolbar button (although that might disappear in a future version now).

The option pages appear under a Third Party node. While it is possible to place your option pages elsewhere – most will be best suited to this new location.

The JED Software company page is just filling space at the moment. There will be some additional details coming to that page in future.

JED Software Options Page

JED Software Options Page

Visual Forms About Options Page

Visual Forms About Options Page

Visual Forms General Options Page

Visual Forms General Options Page

Visual Forms 2.0 Features #2 (Enhanced View Units dialog)

Visual Forms 2.0 includes a replacement for the existing View Units dialog.

In more recent Delphi releases, the View Units dialog has seen some enhancements. What Visual Forms does is expand on these recent enhancements (there is no loss in current functionality) and then raises the bar a couple of notches.

Here is a screen capture from the Delphi 2007 version of the View Units dialog.

View Units - Delphi 2007

Here is the Visual Forms 2.0 version of the View Units dialog.

View Units - Visual Forms

Visual Forms has also taken over the Ctrl+F12 shortcut used for this dialog.

View Units - Visual Forms Menu Item

Apart from the obvious enhancements (it shows a preview of the form in the dialog while navigating it), it also supports sub string filtering and being able to display units across all files in the current project group.

Sub String Filtering

The sub string filtering is really the killer feature here and it doesn’t exist in ANY of the current Delphi versions.

View a short video (20 seconds) of the feature in action.

This feature came in very handy recently when I knew I had to make a change to an “attachment” form in QC Plus but couldn’t recall the unit name. Typing and looking at the form previews saved we valuable time.

Support for all Delphi versions

This feature is available for all versions of Delphi that Visual Forms 2.0 supports. This means Delphi 5 to Delphi 2010 (except Delphi 8).

Future Visual Forms versions will see this new feature improved significantly. That is why there is a blank space to the right of the search box!

Snag It 10

Has anyone else recently upgraded to Snag It version 10 and noticed that most times a TButton won’t capture correctly. Look at the OK button in the first capture. The finally provide transparency and fix the zoom bug, but unfortunately capturing a button is now hit or miss.

Visual Forms 2.0 Features #1 (Replacement Captures)

This is the first in a series of post that will highlight the new features found in Visual Forms 2.0.

Support Replacement Captures in all IDE Versions

This feature first appeared in the Delphi 2009 release and then the Delphi 2010 release. It has now filtered down to support all IDE versions and has also been enhanced.
Replacement Captures is a feature that allows you to replace a captured form with an alternate image.

Some reasons why you might want to replace an automatically captured form with a different image:

  • You create your form content dynamically.
  • You use visual inheritence and the form doesn’t change much through each inheritance layer.
  • You want a form to be more prominent in the viewer.

How to replace the default capture

  1. To create a replacement take a screen capture of the image you want to replace the default capture with. There needs to be an image on the clipboard before the Replace command items are enabled.
  2. Select the default capture in the Visual Forms viewer to replace.
  3. Visual Forms 2.0

  4. Choose the Replace… menu item from either the Refresh drop down menu on the toolbar or from the viewers context menu.
  5. Visual Forms 2.0

  6. The image on the clipboard is displayed. To use the image displayed, click on the OK button.
  7. Visual Forms 2.0
     

When you have replacement forms in the current project you can identify them easy because a small yellow star is painted over the capture in the top left hand corner in the viewer.

Visual Forms 2.0

If refreshing your captures (using Refresh All) and you have replacements active, you are prompted on what to do about your replacement captures. You can choose to override any replacements or keep them.

Visual Forms 2.0

Likewise if you refresh a capture that is a replacement, you will be prompted before the replacement is overwritten.

You can also clear all of the replacements used in your project by using the Clear Replacements button available in the Options | Project section. The project section is only visible when there is a current Visual Forms enabled project opened in the IDE.

Visual Forms 2.0

These captures were created using the Delphi 2007 version of Visual Forms running under Vista.

Visual Forms: Version 2 Now Available

Last week saw the release of Visual Forms version 2.

The new release has a number of enhancements and over the next few days I’ll highlight these enhancements on the blog. There is also some additional information available on the Visual Forms product page (www.jed-software.com/vf.htm) and also some updated screenshots on the screenshots page (www.jed-software.com/vf_screen.htm).

Users with valid maintenance have already received the new version, existing users just need to purchase maintenance and the new version will be sent to them.

This update enhances all supported IDE versions (Delphi 5 – Delphi 2010).