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Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0 Released

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Data Access Worldwide has announced the release of Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0 which delivers a significant leap forward in terms of Windows and Web application development for both new and existing Visual DataFlex users alike.

What are the benefits of Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0?

There are a wealth of new features, enhancements and additions in this release, so here’s a quick run through of some of the key benefits:

  • see your workspace status at a glance, with the new Studio Workspace Dashboard
  • improved support for Windows fonts in your applications
  • longer, more descriptive, database table and column names
  • track your unfinished tasks with the Automatic “ToDo” feature
  • less coding as a result of enhancements to client web services
  • extensive Data Dictionary (DD) improvements to help simplify development

New Studio Workspace Dashboard, for workspace status at a glance

For those of you who like to have everything at your finger tips, the new Workspace Dashboard is just what you’ve been waiting for. Think of it as your own personal assistant, providing you with an overview of the status of your workspace.

On the Workspace Dashboard, information is organised into a number of sections, e.g., Database, Components and Projects, with each section summarising key details and highlighting information that may be incorrect or missing. Within each section there is a link to a related help resource, which, for new users, is a great way of quickly finding out how to correct problems that are reported for that section.

With the help of the new automatic “ToDo” feature, you can also see how many outstanding tasks you have from the Dashboard.

Improved support for Windows fonts in your applications

Your applications will look better than ever when you use Visual dataFlex 2012/17.0, as the improved support for fonts in Windows means they can now use the default Windows system typeface and font size.

The improved font support also means you will be able to manipulate font sizes in a more meaningful and scalable way.

If you’re not ready to move to using new fonts, don’t worry, you’ll be able to continue to run your applications in legacy mode until you are ready to make the switch.

Note: If you are migrating to VDF 2012/17.0 from VDF16.1 or earlier, you should read the “Migrating Workspaces to Visual DataFlex 2012 – Font Changes“, in the online help, before using the Studio Workspace Migration Wizard.

Longer, more descriptive, database table and column names

It’s been a long time coming – but no longer will you have to try and identify which table or column you should be using from a short, cryptic name. Why? Because in this release the maximum length for table and column names has been increased.

The maximum table name (logical name) has been extended from 8 to 31 characters. So, for example, “Employe1” can now be named “EmployeeOvertimeHours”. Similarly, maximum column names have been increased from 15 to 32 characters. You now have the power and freedom to define names that mean something and, more importantly, names that others will be able to identify easily too.

This change applies to all back-end databases including the embedded database. In addition, this change is backwards compatible as no changes are required in the table format – the names are still stored in Filelist and .fd files.

To remain compatible with pre 17.0 versions, make sure that you keep the table and column names at their original, shorter limit. You can mix long and short names within a single filelist providing that the pre 17.0 versions do not attempt to use the longer entries.

Using long names with pre 17.0 versions is not supported and the resulting behaviour is undefined – so you are advised not to do it.

Track your unfinished tasks with the Automatic “ToDo” feature

How many times have you had to leave a piece of code, not quite finished and return to it at a later date?

To help you identify where you have left unfinished code and to quickly navigate to it, VDF 2012/17.0 introduces Automatic “ToDo” support in the Studio.

The “ToDo” feature is simple to use. Just add a “// ToDo:” at the place in your code to which you want to return, along with a description of what still needs to be done, by choosing from the menu or using a hot key (Ctrl+T).

Your ’ToDo Items’ are listed in a panel within the Studio, so you can see at a glance which tasks are outstanding. You can navigate directly to a file that you have marked with a “// ToDo”, by clicking on the todo item in the Studio panel list.

Less coding as a result of enhanced client web services

In previous releases, types that were defined in unusual ways, were mapped to pure XML objects. With structs this created a problem that had to be handled manually.

In this release, changes have been made to the way in which web-service clients handle those schema types that cannot be mapped to a DataFlex native type or struct. Now, as a result of changes to how the XML is serialised, more of the XML parsing and conversion is done for you leaving you with less code to write.

Extensive Data Dictionary improvements to help simplify development

In Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0 support for Data Dictionaries has had a complete overhaul, to make working with DDs easier and simpler to use, with less coding required, yet still maintaining backward compatibility with your existing DDs and applications.

Data Access have listened to developers’ requests and questions about how to do things, and used that information to implement improvements that will help to simplify how developers code.

Here are just some of the DD enhancements that you can expect to see in Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0:

  • cascade delete validation – This new validation event is sent to every record deleted as part of a cascade delete.
  • pre and post Find events – These new events have been added to be called before/after a DD operation is complete.
  • improved Refresh to Data Entry Objects (DEO) – After a save, find, clear or delete operation DDs now send Refresh to DEO Containers as well as DEO Controls.
  • full DD support for text field DEOs – Text DEOs (cDbTextEdit and cDbRichEdit) are now full DEOs and can use the local DD buffers for text fields, just like the other DD fields. You no longer need to specify that you want to define an extended field – it’s automatic.
  • better handling of header/detail views and Null Parent Support – This has been re-engineered for 17.0 (for the first time since DataFlex 3.0) to deliver a far more intelligent solution where a great deal of custom header/detail view code can be removed.

The complete set of Data Dictionary changes are described in John Tuohy’s Visual DataFlex Roadmap slides, and in the comprehensive online help system supplied with Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0.

Download Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0 today

To ensure your developers are working with the most productive and efficient Visual Dataflex environment to date, download Visual DataFlex 17.0 using the following links:

Find out more about Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0

Throughout the development cycle of Visual DataFlex 2012/17.0, Data Access have recorded a number of webinars charting the progress and content of the release. You may find these webinars provide a useful introduction to the changes that have been made in this release.

To view the webinars, visit the Data Access Webinar Library.