VSTO & .NET & Excel

October 11, 2013

Apps Launcher – Windows 8

Filed under: Tools, Xojo — Dennis M Wallentin @ 11:44 pm

I have been using Windows 8 for a while. As most of us know it’s primarily for touch screens which can create some issues on the desktop. Most softwares I use are usually placed on the Task bar. Up to Windows 7 it worked well out.

With Windows 8 I started to notice that I sometime cannot access the Task bar. In other words it’s not accessible. Perhaps I have not found out the right keys combination. Of course, an even better solution may be to skip the Task bar in the first place.

So I decided to create a small utility, App Launcher, where my favorite tools are available for me. The screen shot below shows the UI for App Launcher.

AppLauncher

App Launcher is a test pilot. If things go well I will create a better tool that makes it possible to add/remove/replace tools. But at present I will test the App Launcher to find out if it suites me or not.

Is this kind of tool attractive for other users as well?

Edit: What I originally forgot to mention in this article is that with a (free) tool like App Launcher it will also be possible to start the tools with various start parameter(s).

Kind regards,
Dennis

PS: App Launcher is created with Xojo.

July 20, 2013

Ribbon Control – Xojo – Jérémie Leroy

Filed under: SQL Server, SQLite, Tools, UI Design, Valentina DB, Xojo — Dennis M Wallentin @ 2:57 pm

This is the first post of a series that will present controls and tools by Jérémie Leroy.

Why I pick these controls is quite simple to explain:

  • All controls and tools are of high quality
  • They are easy to work with, even for a newbie like me
  • They all support the RAD concept
  • The prices are reasonable given what we get for the money

First out is the tool for creating Ribbon UI in an easy way. It’s a visual designer tool that generates the required code to show and use the Ribbon UIs.

Interesting, when creating the Ribbon UI and the code for it we actually run in Debug mode.

The elements of the control are as the following picture shows:

RibbonElements

It’s easy to keep these three elements in mind. Next, let us have a look on the control itself. The following screen shot views the Ribbon UI tool:

RibbonStart
To start to add Tabs, Sections and Buttons we simple click on the Reorder Ribbon button. When adding new elements we can at the same time manipulate the added item. The following shows tries to show it:

RibbonUI1

When all the elements have been added to the Ribbon it can look as the following screen shot:

RibbonUIFinish

The last step to do is to generate the code to create the Ribbon UI. Click the button To XML/Xojo and it will very fast generate the required code to build the customized Ribbon UI.

RibbonUIFinal

The next and final step is simple to cut & paste the generated Xojo code to the Open event of  the RibbonCanvas objectet.

 Dim T As RibbonTab
 Dim S As RibbonSection
 Dim B As RibbonButton

 //Tab 1
 T = New RibbonTab("Home")
 me.Tabs.Append T

 S = New RibbonSection("Help")
 T.Sections.Append S

 B = New RibbonButton("btnDBHelp", "Database", Ico("database-help"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "database-help"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnQHelp", "Query", Ico("query-help"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "query-help"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnRHelp", "Report", Ico("report-help"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "report-help"
 S.Buttons.Append B

 S = New RibbonSection("Record")
 T.Sections.Append S

 B = New RibbonButton("btnAdd", "Add", Ico("button_green_add"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "button_green_add"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnUpdate", "Update", Ico("button_green_down"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "button_green_down"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnDelete", "Delete", Ico("button_red_delete"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "button_red_delete"
 S.Buttons.Append B

 S = New RibbonSection("Maintenance", "Maintenance")
 T.Sections.Append S

 B = New RibbonButton("btnDBCompress", "Compress Database", Ico("compress_database"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "compress_database"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnTableCompress", "Compress Table", Ico("compress_table"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "compress_table"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnDBBackup", "Backup Database", Ico("database_backup"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "database_backup"
 S.Buttons.Append B

 S = New RibbonSection("Query")
 T.Sections.Append S

 B = New RibbonButton("btnQuery", "Query", Ico("query"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "query"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnLookup", "Lookup", Ico("query_lookup"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "query_lookup"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnQueryDB", "Query Database", Ico("query-database"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "query-database"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnExecute", "Execute", Ico("query-execute"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "query-execute"
 S.Buttons.Append B

 S = New RibbonSection("Report")
 T.Sections.Append S

 B = New RibbonButton("btnReport", "Report", Ico("report"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "report"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnOpenReport", "Open Report", Ico("report_open-add"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "report_open-add"
 S.Buttons.Append B
 B = New RibbonButton("btnMailReport", "Mail Report", Ico("report_open-mail"), Nil)
 B.IconName = "report_open-mail"
 S.Buttons.Append B

me.Height = me.BestHeight

As part of the solution there is also a support function to work with the added icons:


Ico(Name As String, Debug As Boolean = False) As Picture

If IconList.HasKey(Name) then
 Return IconList.Value(Name)
 elseif Debug then
 #if DebugBuild
 break
 #endif
 End If

 Return New Picture(1, 1, 32)
 Return Nil

As we can see, it’s a quite straight forward code. It simple to follow and to maintenance it.

Here are the interesting links to Jérémie’s site and productpage:

Enjoy!

Kind regards,

Dennis

Edit Note: Of course, I should also mention that the professional icons in use are made by Axialis.

June 8, 2013

Xojo: An Old New Kid on The Block

Until 4th June this year the company had the name Real Software Inc and their product, a cross-platform developing kit, had the name Real Studio. However, the company name is now Xojo Inc and the product’s name is Xojo.

Bob Keeney, founder of BKeeney Software, has written a great review about Xojo 2013r1. I refer to that articles then write one myself.

Here I will bring up two important subjects, Xojo in Windows and Missing Controls – Expensive to buy.

Xojo in Windows

When I started to hang around and lurk around I got the impression that the major group of developer are on the Apple platform. Since then it has been confirmed in many ways and with the transformation of Real Studio UI to Xojo UI it’s quite clear that Xojo Inc favor the Apple platform. Have a look on the below screen shot, is it Windows or?

Xojo in Windows

Missing Controls – Expensive to buy

If I buy a development tool like Xojo I expect to have included a bunch of basic controls. Xojo Inc do not follow the main stream of development tools. They have excluded two important controls, a Data Grid and a Chart control.

In fact, they have placed themselves as hostage to 3rd party controls by some vendors. For developers it gets more expensive and by using the 3rd party controls the developers are also in the hand of the 3rd party vendors.

OK, we start first with buying a license of Xojo Desktop for US$ 300 (excluding VAT).

Suppose we need a descent Data Grid control we then must buy a collection of plug-ins. The collection has a price of US$ 199 (excluding VAT) with a subscription of one year.

Next, we realize we need a chart control. It exist a free chart control but it has not been updated for the last years. Beside that, it lack a lot of feature. Our real option is to buy a commercial Chart control. It cost US$ 26o (excluding VAT).

Let us summarize it:

  • We pay US$ 300 for one Xojo Desktop License
  • We pay US$ 560 for two basic controls!
  • All in all, we pay US$ 860 (excluding VAT)

We actually pay more for two basic controls then what one license of Xojo Desktop cost! That sucks.

Badwill can be created in many ways. Badwill created this way can easily be avoided; provide a Data Grid control and a Chart control as part of Xojo packages.

Is it only me who find it unacceptable?

Xojo is an interesting development too and I find the job done by Xojo Inc to be good. However, given the present feedback Xojo need one or two releases before all the teething are gone.

Finally, the subject for this article is related to the fact that Xojo is based on Real Studio so in one way it’s new in another way it’s old.

Kind regards,
Dennis

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