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Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1 Released

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Data Access Worldwide has announced the release of Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1, which contains the exciting and innovative Web Framework for transitioning your Windows business applications to the Web.

The new Visual DataFlex Web Framework provides a solid development environment that allows you to create fully functional business web applications with minimum effort from a single development environment. While the Web Framework is a major part of this release, outside of the Web Framework there are plenty of other new features.

Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1 delivers great looking applications, high productivity and source-code that can be maintained easily, for both Windows and Web applications.

If you are considering moving your existing, DataFlex command line or Windows based systems to Web based systems, now is the time to take that step.

What are the main benefits of the VDF 2012/17.1 Web Framework?

The comprehensive, yet easy to use development environment of the Web Framework means that developers are able to create robust, functionally rich Web applications faster than ever before, giving end users what they want, when they want it.

Here are the main ways in which the Web Framework benefits Web application development:

A simplified development environment

The new Web Framework expresses your entire application in traditional Visual DataFlex code instead of spreading it across the various technology layers (ASP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, etc.). This means you can easily create and maintain applications within the fully integrated Studio, without having to code, AJAX, ASP, JavaScript or even HTML.

New Web Objects – the building blocks for your Web applications

Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1 revolutionises Web application development with the introduction of Web Objects, which you use to define the methods required for the business processes within your Web applications.

Web Objects make it easy for you to build contained blocks and verify them as you go, making sure that everything is progressing as it should be from the outset.

Preview your progress as you build your Web applications

As you define your Web Objects, the WebApp Previewer shows you how the layout of your Web Objects are taking shape, allowing you to quickly identify and correct any layout issues with your application controls.

Default security system provided for your Web applications

To make things even easier for you to develop your web applications, a default security system is provided (using a session manager object) to maintain application state and to provide a secure mechanism for storing information on the server, such as login names and user rights.

Easy positioning and layout of your Web application controls

The underlying positioning system for Web applications is referred to as “flow”, which simply positions control from left to right and top to bottom. This is significantly different from the coordinate positioning with which you may be familiar from Windows application development.

Two additional layout mechanisms which have been introduced in VDF 17.1 are: panels and columns. Panels and columns help you to regulate the size and flow-positioning of controls. Panels can be divided into any number of equal-width columns. Each child control will be positioned in its designated column and the control’s width will occupy one or more column widths. Columns provide a fast and simple way to vertically align controls and to ensure that control widths line up evenly to fixed positions.

Find out more about positioning your Web application controls in “Positioning and Layout of Controls” in the VDF 17.1 online help.

Other Web Framework features to develop better Web applications

There are many features within the Web Framework to help make developing great Web applications a bit easier. Here are a few examples:

  • Search Dialogs in Prompt Lists – to allow a search dialog to pop up automatically when a user starts typing a value in a prompt list.
  • New cWebSlider control – to implement slider controls on Web applications.
  • New non-data aware grid support to handle data that doesn’t come from the database, e.g., a .CSV file.
  • Web Reporting with PDF Files – create reports by generating PDF files and streaming them to browsers.

Try out the new Web Framework for yourself, by following the tutorials within VDF 2012/17.1.

Other new features in Visual DataFlex 2012/ 17.1

Other new features and enhancements in VDF 2012/17.1 are:

  • Update from CodeJock 13.4.2 to CodeJock 15.3.1
  • Language Changes
  • Support for SOAP 1.2
  • New Documentation Sections

Update from CodeJock 13.4.2 to CodeJock 15.3.1

Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1 uses the latest released revision of the CodeJock CommandBar, SkinFramework and ReportControl Com controls (15.3.1). These components have generally been updated to stay in step with CodeJock, however there is one change of note in the SkinFramework – the option to use a resource based theme.

Language Changes

The runtime now exposes some low level messages for Base64 encoding and decoding. These functions are used to convert binary data to base64 data and base64 data back to binary data.

Support for SOAP 1.2

Support for SOAP 1.2 on both client and server is included in VDF 2012/17.1.

The Studio will now recognize and support SOAP1.2 as well as SOAP1.1 services. Very often a service that supports SOAP1.2 also supports the same service in SOAP1.1. When you have a choice of versions you will be offered the choice of generating SOAP1.1, SOAP1.2 or both. You will be given this choice after you’ve parsed the WSDL, when you click the “Generate Class” button. The dialog for selecting the classes and saving has changed to let you select what version to generate. If you choose generate both, two classes will be created in the same package file. Normally there is no need to generate both classes and we recommend against this. Supporting both versions in a client class, adds extra code to your packages and it complicates the naming scheme for the classes.

The primary advantage of having SOAP1.2 client web service support is it allows you to access services that do not offer a SOAP1.1 version.

Read the topic “SOAP 1.2 Support” in the VDF 17.1 online help for a full description.

New Documentation Sections

The documentation supplied with VDF 17.1 is of the usual high standard you would expect from Data Access. The Help system is more than just text for you to read (and those “What’s New” topics are well worth a read) there are tutorials, examples, the Start Center and the Workspace Dashboard to help you get the most out of the product.

Web Application Server changes to DataFlex WebApp Server

In VDF 17.1, Web Application Server is now known as DataFlex WebApp Server and the licensing terms have changed. Read the Data Access FAQ for more information about these licensing changes.

We will be sending out more information about the new licensing terms shortly.

Download Visual DataFlex 17.1 today

To ensure your developers are working with the most productive and efficient Visual Dataflex environment for Web development to date, download Visual DataFlex 17.1 using the following links:

Complete Studio Installation:

DataFlex WebApp Server only:

Client Engine only:

Find out more about Visual DataFlex 17.1

Throughout the development cycle of Visual DataFlex 2012/17.1, 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.