Home » News » 2010 News » January 2010

January 2010

  • by

In this Issue:

Are Snow Clouds Gathering?

Memories of the bad weather we experienced this winter and the impact on our businesses have now faded. But how did your office cope through the adverse conditions? Were your employees able to get to work, and were those that didn’t make it into the office able to work from home?

For most office based businesses ’working from home’ traditionally means employees dial in and access their files and applications centrally. For key technical staff with laptops, this is usual procedure. However, for general office staff, the people who keep the business ticking over on a daily basis, this level of flexibility isn’t usually available.

While in an ideal world, without the constraints of finance and security, moving to a cloud environment would improve flexibility for employees, for most of us it’s just not practical at the moment. Instead, implementing web interfaces to just some of your applications could be the way forward, providing more people in your organisation the opportunity to work from home when required.

Although the weather was unusual and the likelihood of us experiencing it again in the near future are remote, it may be worth considering how more flexible systems could be implemented.

Unicorn offer a JavaScript Fundamentals training course, which is perfect for honing your web application development skills. This course will teach you not just the mechanics of how you can progress your existing Windows based applications to Web based applications, but also teaches you the tips and tricks required for advanced development.

Don’t miss the opportunity to improve your JavaScript and Web development skills. Register to attend one of the scheduled training courses (see below) at which Mike Peat will be teaching, or arrange to have a training course held at your own premises for a group of developers.

Start the New Year with JavaScript Training

Mike Peat is delivering training in JavaScript Fundamentals and the Document Object Model (DOM) at the following developer events:

  • AJAX Framework Training Course – 18th and 19th February 2010
  • European DataFlex Users Conference (EDUC) – March 2010

For information about prices, locations and how to register for these training events see Diary Dates.

The two day course concentrates on the VDF AJAX Library and introducing you to web application development. The course starts by providing an overview to Javascript fundamentals and the Document Object Model (DOM) and then shows you how the VDF AJAX library puts these to work for you.

Before attending this course you should have some familiarity with VDF Development and a basic understanding of the Visual DataFlex WebApp Server – installation, workspaces and the Web Business Object concept.

Day 1 – The basics of JavaScript and the DOM

These are the basic technologies used in building advanced web applications. Although you can use Visual DataFlex to generate great Web applications without an in depth knowledge of JavaScript or the DOM, you do need to understand these subjects before you can fully extend your applications to meet the needs of complex, real world requirements.

  • Structure and syntax, data types, operators, expressions, variables, objects, arrays and functions, conditional execution, loops and exception handling.
  • More advanced aspects such as anonymous functions (lambdas), namespaces, modules and closures.
  • JavaScript in the Web Browser.
  • The DOM (Document Object Model) for both HTML and XML and how to work with it in JavaScript.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) API, browser incompatibilities and what to do about them.
  • The browser event model and event listeners.
  • The XMLHttpRequest object which forms the basis for Ajax-style web applications.

Day 2 – The Visual DataFlex AJAX Library

  • How Ajax works and how it uses the HTTPRequest interface to make SOAP style calls to the web server.
  • How it works asynchronously and the benefits that provides.
  • How to enhance web applications with scripting and calling web services to provide interactive web applications based on the functionality demonstrated in the VDF AJAX examples. 
  • Creating a new workspace, adding the Ajax library and create a simple page using the wizards.
  • CSS and how it is used to control the look of the web pages.
  • The Java Script classes that make up the Ajax framework.

Also training with Mike Peat at these events is Harm Wibier, a member of the Data Access Europe development team who is involved in both the development and usage of the VDF AJAX library, particularly in building HelpDesk Express.

Mike Peat will be giving you examples relevant to his training material to install which you can use to follow along with the course and/or for later study. Therefore, you will need to bring
VDF 15.1 and the AJAX Library 2.1 (which is included in the VDF 15.1 installer) loaded onto your own laptop, plus if possible Firefox and the Firebug debugger.

Note, Mike Peat is also presenting at EDUC 2010.

Visual DataFlex 15.1 Released

Visual DataFlex 2009/15.1 has been released and incorporates enhancements to the Studio, Ajax Library, Client Engine, Client Web Services and Class Reference. In addition, Electos version 4.1, the newest version of the Data Access Content Management System is included for free.

Enhancements to the Studio:

  • File Search is now improved, via a new toolbar that incrementally searches through the files in the environment and selects which file to open. All files accessible from the current workspace, libraries and system library are listed.
  • An ’Other Files’ node has been added to the Workspace Explorer Interface, to list any files used in the current project that are not categorized as Views, Reports, Dialogs or Data Dictionaries.
  • The Studio Tab Interface has been streamlined to reduce the number of tabs required while maintaining the available information and flexibility for developers.

Enhancements to the Ajax Library:

  • Layered forms for improved usability of validation functionality without full data binding.
  • Treeviews are fully featured (controllable using keyboard), allow dynamic content loading using JSON and use CSS sprites for fast loading.
  • A number of bug fixes and “under the hood” enhancements have been implemented.

Enhancements to the Client Engine (Runtime):

  • New XML schema validation support automatically validates any XML document that includes a schema reference. Manual validation can also be performed when the developer assigns a schema.
  • XML performance optimizations – resulting in significant improvement on the pre-15.1 XML processing.
  • The latest Microsoft XML Core Services (MSXML 6) are utilized.

Enhancements to Client Web Services:

The following web service client additions enable developers to easily support more third party web services (including ones that are less standards compliant):

  • Added support for various derived xsd string datatypes.
  • Added support for schema attributes.
  • Added support for <xs:choice>.

Class Reference Enhancements:

  • Standardized documentation for all property parameters, with the data type of each property being the type of the value to get/set and any additional parameters listed as such.
  • Class members that have no parameters now explicitly state so.
  • Folded Integer (previously called “complex integer”) class members are now fully supported.
  • Class members now have an auto-generated Syntax section that shows information such as, the “signature” or declaration of the class member and access syntax as appropriate.

Visual DataFlex 2009/15.1 and Windows 7 Compatibility

Testing with Windows 7 is in progress and Data Access will communicate the results as soon as possible. If testing confirms that version 15.1 runs satisfactorily on Windows 7 then it will be deemed supported on Windows 7. However, if testing highlights that product changes are required to 15.1 before it will run on Windows 7, these changes will be delivered in Visual DataFlex version 2010/16.0.

Electos 4.1 Now Available

The newest version of the Electos Content Management System is available with VDF 2009/15.1. This version incorporates the following enhancements and new features:

  • Improved Friendly URL generation for easier SEO.
  • Support for generating Friendly URLs for search engine optimization has been improved with the usage of a central method for generating all URLs within the website. You can now configure the type of URLs you prefer using the new Friendly URL website settings.
  • Improved search result sorting.
  • Search results can now be sorted on multiple columns in both ascending and descending order with the new publisher method “Msg_PrintSearchResults”.
  • Improved Studio performance with asynchronous indexing.
  • The search engine now builds its indexes in an asynchronous background process resulting in improved Studio performance for larger sites.
  • More design control with new user right Paste Text with Markup.
  • The new user right “Paste Text With Markup” manages whether a user is allowed to paste text with markup in the editor. If the user does not have this right, he or she can only paste as plain text, giving more control over how the text on the page is displayed.

Other new features and improvements are:

  • The Studio text editor has been upgraded to FCK Editor build 2.6.5.
  • There is a new default parameter “CacheMenu” to control the behavior of the Includes/ElectosMenu.inc’ script for improved site performance.
  • Site Manager now dynamically determines the IUSR account name when setting security rights, improving performance.
  • The default path for website folders are now determined based on the user’s version of Windows installed. For users with Windows XP and older operating systems, this means that the default website path will be inside the Program Files directory.

End of support for Pervasive PSQL v9 Security Solutions

The Pervasive product lifecycle support page identifies that support for Backup Agent 1.1, DataExchange 2.8 and AuditMaster 6.3 is due to end from October 2010.

For more information, please refer to Pervasive’s Data Management Products Lifecycle.

Pervasive Security Solution Products and PSQL v10 SP3

If you are performing a new install of PSQL v10 SP3, make sure you have also downloaded the latest versions of AuditMaster 6.4, Backup Agent 2.0 and DataExchange 3.0. Download them here. Previous builds of these products will not install with PSQL v10 SP3. This note only applies to new installations. If you are upgrading an existing install of PSQL v10 to SP3, and AuditMaster, Backup Agent and/or DataExchange are already installed,
there’s no problem.