Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to add code created by Visual xHarbour to a xHarbour Application [Updated 25th Feb 2009]

As you are probably aware, CA-Clipper codes can readily be recompiled in Xharbour into a W32 executable. In my scenario, I have a complex processing engine originally written in CA-Clipper 5.2e which can then be called within my Delphi applications

I had earlier used CA-Clipper 5.2e +Fivewin to create a W16 executable which was then called via winexec() from my Delphi Application. Being 16-bits meant that NTVDM was called automatically by Windows. What I wanted was a true W32 executable which will not require the usage of NTVDM.

There are 2 scenarios involved
1) Automatic processing without user input
2) Need for user input before automatic processing takes place

For Scenario 1, all I needed was to recompiled in Xharbour to transform my 5.2e CA-Clipper Codes into a 32-bit true windows application. It is that easy :-)

For Scenario 2, I needed user to input a parameter. Problem is that XHarbour does not have a simple Window Dialog function such as Delphi's InputQuery. So what's the solution ?

The Solution

1) Use Visual xHarbour (VXH) to create a windows form with
a) label control named MessageLabel
b) edit control named InputValueEdit
c) button control named OKBtn
d) button control named CancelBtn

2) Saved the Windows Form as


GLOBAL cMessage
GLOBAL cCaption
GLOBAL cInputValue

#include ""
#include "MsgGetForm.xfm"
//---------------------------------------- End of system code ----------------------------------------//

METHOD CancelBtn_OnClick( Sender ) CLASS MsgGetForm
METHOD MsggetForm_Form_OnActivate( Sender ) CLASS MsgGetForm

METHOD OKBtn_OnClick( Sender ) CLASS MsgGetForm
cInputValue:= ::InputValueEdit:Caption

MsgGet_XFM.prg (automatically generated by VXH)

#include ""
//---------------------------------------- End of system code ----------------------------------------//


CLASS __MsgGet INHERIT Application
// Components declaration
// Controls declaration

// Event declaration

METHOD Init( oParent ) CLASS __MsgGet
::Super:Init( oParent )

// Populate Components
// Properties declaration


// Populate Children

//MsgGetForm.xfm (text definition based on the window form created with VHB)
// Components declaration
// Controls declaration

// Event declaration
METHOD MsggetForm_Form_OnActivate()
METHOD OKBtn_OnClick()
METHOD CancelBtn_OnClick()


METHOD Init( oParent ) CLASS MsgGetForm
::Super:Init( oParent )

::EventHandler[ "OnActivate" ] := "MsggetForm_Form_OnActivate"

// Populate Components
// Properties declaration
::Left := 10
::Top := 10
::Width := 534
::Height := 139
::Name := "MsgGetForm"
::Caption := "MsgGetFormCaption"
::ClipChildren := .T.
::ClipSiblings := .T.


// Populate Children
WITH OBJECT ( ::MessageLabel := LABEL( Self ) )
:Left := 41
:Top := 8
:Width := 160
:Height := 16
:Name := "MessageLabel"
:Caption := "MessageLabel"
:Border := .F.
:ClipChildren := .T.
:ClipSiblings := .T.
:TabStop := .F.
END //MessageLabel

WITH OBJECT ( ::InputValueEdit := EDIT( Self ) )
:Left := 41
:Top := 32
:Width := 445
:Height := 22
:Name := "InputValueEdit"
:ClientEdge := .T.
:Border := .F.
:ClipSiblings := .T.
END //InputValueEdit

WITH OBJECT ( ::OKBtn := BUTTON( Self ) )
:Left := 178
:Top := 61
:Width := 77
:Height := 30
:Name := "OKBtn"
:Caption := "&OK"
:Border := .F.
:ClipChildren := .T.
:ClipSiblings := .T.
:EventHandler[ "OnClick" ] := "OKBtn_OnClick"

WITH OBJECT ( ::CancelBtn := BUTTON( Self ) )
:Left := 268
:Top := 62
:Width := 79
:Height := 31
:Name := "CancelBtn"
:Caption := "&Cancel"
:Border := .F.
:ClipChildren := .T.
:ClipSiblings := .T.
:EventHandler[ "OnClick" ] := "CancelBtn_OnClick"
END //CancelBtn



2) Next, I added a wrapper function MsgGet() function in my Main.prg

// function in msggetform.prg
FUNCTION MsgGet(cFormCaption,cFormMessage,cFormInputValue)
// GLOBALs in MsgGetForm.prg
__MsgGet( NIL ):Run( MsgGetForm( NIL ), HB_aParams() )

RETURN cInputValue

3) In the calling prg

cRetVal:=MsgGet('Create Data','Input No. of Working Days', @mNo_of_days)

That's it !

What is my wish list for the xHarbour people ? Provide a standard windows function as part of xHarbour :-)

Comments from David A. Smith , comp.lang.xHarbour
Some options are:
1) make a DLL of your "scenario" code, and call it as an unloadable library. (Not sure if there are limitations on collecting user input in a DLL.)
2) call your "scenario" code via OLE / xBScript
3) do it the way you have been doing it, just translate / recompile.

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In 1997, then using Delphi 3, I had already created 32-bits Windows applications for HRIS, ERP and CRM. In 2007, using Ruby on Rails, an AJAX powered CRM site running on Apache & MySQL was created and I am now using Visual Studio .Net 2008 to create web-based projects and Delphi 7 for Win32 applications using SQL2005 & DBFCDX.

So, why then am I reviving the Original Clipper... Clipper... Clipper via a Blog as CA-Clipper is a programming language for the DOS world ? Believe it or not, there are still some clients using my mission-critical CA-Clipper applications for DOS installed in the late 80's and up to the mid 90's. This is testimony to CA-Clipper's robustness as a language :-)

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You may ask, what is this Clipper stuff ? Could Clipper be something to do with sailing as it is the name of a very fast sailing American ship in the 19th century ?

Well, Clipper or to be precise, CA-Clipper is the premier PC-Software development tool for DOS. It was first developed by Nantucket Corporation initially as a compiler for dBase3+ programs. Since then, CA-Clipper has evolved away from its x-base roots with the introduction of lexical scoping & pre-defined objects like TBrowse. As at today, the most stable version ofClipper is 5.2e while the latest version, 5.3a was introduced on 21 May 1996.

As at 11th November, 1996, an unofficial 5.3a fixes file was made available by Jo French. See the About CA-Clipper 5.3a section for more details. BTW, Jo French uploaded the revised 5.3a fixes file on 20th November, 1996.

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The latest news is that CA has finally released the long-awaited 5.3b patch on 21 May, 1997.

For 5.3b users, you must a take a look at Jo French's comments on unfixed bugs in 5.3b.

BTW, have you used Click ? If you're a serious Clipperprogrammer and need an excellent code formatter, Click is a natural choice. How to get it ? Simple, access Phil Barnett's site via my Cool Clipper Sites.

32-bits Clipper for Windows ?

Have you tried Xbase ++ ? Well, I have and compared to Delphi (my current Windows programming tool of choice), I'm still sticking to Delphi.

Anyway, you should visit the Alaska Home Page. Give it a chance and then draw your own conclusions !.

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