Build Automator 2014

 

We have released Build Automator 2014 build 4.9.1325 

The update can be downloaded from our website at http://www.buildautomator.com/download.php or by using the "Check for Updates" option under the Help menu in the program.
 
There are several new features in this build, but there are also a lot of fixes behind the scene that make the program more stable than it has ever been.  The new feature list includes:

  • Full support for Clarion 9 and 9.1
  • Full support for Setup Builder 8.1
  • Support for Code generation before build in Clarion 8, 9 and 9.1
  • Improvements in copy/paste and several fixes to synchronization in the project window
  • File and folder Drag & Drop support in actions
  • External text files can now be included in the "Write text to file" action
  • Programs can be forced to run elevated (will prompt for administrator access)
  • Environment variables fully supported in scripts
  • Search locators make finding projects and variables easy

In previous builds there was a bug in the system that could sometimes lead to the wrong action being loaded, copy/paste being fragile, duplicating the wrong action item and so on.  This should be completely fixed now.  For more detailed list ofnew features and fixes please check out the version history page at http://www.buildautomator.com/onlinemanual/version_history.htm.

One of the major new feature is the updated MS-Build action which you use for Clarion compiles.  It fully supports all versions of the Clarion IDE, from Clarion 7 to Clarion 9.1.  It now also supports code generation in Clarion 8-9.1.  Code generation was not possible in Clarion 7.  There is one caveat that I don't have any solution for:  Softvelocity does not allow Clarion Professional to generate code with their ClarionCL.exe, which is the tool we use to generate code.  This is unfortunate as it limits the usefulness of this feature, but never the less, it is an important update for us.

Another feature that I want to highlight is the option to include external text filesin the "Write text to File" action.  This allows you to generate files that include data from other sources.  For example I have started using this to generate the export list for templates that need it.  I generate the export list with an external tool, then write template code to a text file which has an Include statement which includes the export list.  End result is a template file completely generated by Build Automator!  How cool is that?!

Arnor Baldvinsson

For the past couple of days I have been working on a theme designer for Powertoolbar, Outlookbar and Taskpanel.

The theme designer create theme files, which are basically INI files, that can be used to set the colors for the products. Each theme file has all the information to be used with all three products so the color schemes used in the products will be 100% consistent. Each product will be changed to make this work in such a way that you are either using the built-in color schemes or you use themes. There will be no mixing the built-in and external themes. However, the built-in themes will all be delivered with the new products so you can specify the theme. You will be able to use a fixed theme or you'll be able to allow user selection of themes.

The theme designer will be included as an exe but the source will probably made available for download as well. The source will require that you have all of the three products installed as well as Icetips Utilities (and perhaps other tools as well) It will only be made available as a Clarion 9.1 application, which I'm using to develop it. Currently I have no plans to provide translation of the Theme Designer, but it is pretty simple and intuitive as it is. I will post screenshots later this week to show how it looks.

This will take some time to finish, but I'm planning to get this ready to ship in October or early November. Each product will need quite a bit of work to make this happen and documentation will need to be updated.

Build Automator is coming out this week. I ran into a snag with the install that set me back a day and then I had a problem with my computer which set me back another day and I decided to push it back over the weekend.

Arnor Baldvinsson

Arnor
08/24/14

Build Automator 2014

Build Automator 2014 is right around the corner!

I have been working hard on getting Build Automator 2014 out the door. I have some work left on the documentation and install and some final testing and I'm done! I have been able to add quite a few new things into it lately and below is a list of the major new updates in the 2014 release.

  • Full support for Clarion 9 and 9.1
  • Full support for Setup Builder 8.1
  • Support for Code generation before build in Clarion 8, 9 and 9.1
  • Improvements in copy/paste and several fixes to synchronization in the project window
  • File and folder Drag & Drop support in actions
  • External text files can now be included in the "Write text to file" action
  • Programs can be forced to run elevated (will prompt for administrator access)
  • Environment variables fully supported in scripts
  • Search locators make finding projects and variables easy

There are still a lot of features on my list that I have not been able to get into the 2014 release but I'm planning to make releases available every 1-3 months, depending on how things work out.

2014 will be available for download this coming week and will be available via the program update in Build Automator.

Arnor Baldvinsson

Arnor
08/17/14

Hiccups?!?

This last week I was taken down by something so common that we never even think about it: Hiccups! Yes, hiccups!

It started last Wednesday morning. I had just been prescribed new medication and within minutes of taking the first pill, it started. The hiccups that is. Oh, well, I've had hiccups before, or so I thought. So I went about my day, but the darn hiccups were relentless and forceful. Nothing I did made any difference. Thursday morning I went to seen my doctor who, thankfully for me, has a husband who has had this problem somewhat frequently so she knew just what to do. Unfortunately it wasn't as easy to find a pharmacy that had this hiccup drug and I didn't get one until Friday morning, at which point I had had constant, violent hiccups for 48 hours! Fortunately I was able to sleep as they would eventually disappear after I laid down.

I took the hiccup medication three times Friday and finally Saturday morning they were gone and haven't come back! But let me tell you that this is far from pleasant experience! Working was close to impossible because I made so many typing errors that I spent more time correcting than writing and the accuracy of the mouse movements left quite a bit to be desired<g> My whole upper body was sore like I had been hit by a truck;) Fortunately, it's gone now and no reason to expect it will come back:) And I can finally get on with my work.

Hoping for no more hiccups in my foreseeable future!

Arnor Baldvinsson

Couple of weeks ago I learned about a problem with the latest couple of Clarion 9.1 builds causing a horizontal scrollbar to be drawn in PowerToolbar and Taskpanel. This seems to have been caused by changes to the IMAGE control in Clarion 9.1. After some digging around I'm happy to report that I have found a solution for this and have implemented it in PowerToolbar, Taskpanel and Outlookbar. New builds will be going out tomorrow (Thursday, July 3rd, 2014)

I not yet sure why the scrollbar is drawn, but I am able to remove it and keep it from re-appearing with the changes I have made:)

--Arnor Baldvinsson

I have been working on a new build of Icetips Utilities and trying to finish Build Automator for a new public release.

There are a few new enhancements to the Registry Class where I have added a method to enumerate key values. You specify the key in the registry and it will give you the names of all the values, what datatype it is and the data in it. It supports all datatypes in the Registry except binary, haven't finished that one yet.

I'm also adding documentation to the Registry class and once I'm done with that, it is time to release it.

When I wrote the WriteStringToFile method in the String class, I had added an "Append" parameter, but had never added the code! That is now done, so you can use this method to append a string to an existing file. This is perfect for all sorts of logging where you want it sent directly to the file without delay.

I have improved the Preserve Variable Data template by making the condition optionally on the read or the write or both. I have also added embeds after the read and before the write so the data can be easily manipulated if needed. The help on this template has also been completed.

More on this and Build Automator later.

I have been using every spare moment this spring to try to get some work done in the front yard of our house. It is a project for several years to clean it up and make look good after several years of neglect and little or no maintenance. But patches here and there are now cleaned up, flowers and berry bushes planted and a lot of general clean up done. I'll post some pictures later:)

Arnor Baldvinsson

We have released eight Clarion 9.1 compatible installs so far and the rest will be out today and tomorrow.

While those are mainly install rebuilds, there are some new features, updates and fixes in those new builds.

Icetips Utilities
There is a brand new Global Extension Template in the Utilities now that generates a queue with file information based on the dictionary used in the app. This can come in very handy when working with files in a generic manner, for example to do quick SQL queries against all SQL tables - to get the total number of records or whatever.

Icetips Previewer
This release contains two changes that fix compile problems caused by changes to the Report Target classes from Softvelocity. Those changes have been in beta testing for a while, while I made sure that no other problems would crop up.

Icetips PowerToolbar
There are fixes included for problems in drop buttons and drop down combos.

Icetips Magic Entries
Copy/paste error included a line from Magic Buttons causing a problem.

Icetips Magic Buttons
Added code to automatically create the project pragmas to compile and link the classes correctly.

I'm working on an update to Taskpanel and some of it may have to wait until next week, but a new build will go out today.

Every time I release new builds I streamline the build process and automate more parts of it to make the process as painless as possible. Without using Build Automator it would be daunting task for me to go through all the steps needed to get the new builds out.

Arnor Baldvinsson

Clarion 9.1 has been released to third party developers for testing. It is expected to be out in public release soon.

We will need to re-build all our installs for them to be Clarion 9 compatible. I will begin that process on Tuesday, January 21st and I should have the lot rebuilt pretty quickly. Emails will go out when the builds are all available for download.

Arnor Baldvinsson

Arnor
01/04/14

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody and thank you for reading our blog and using our products!

Looking back
2013 was a good year and it was a bad year. The bad point was the car accident in February and long recovery process for me. It took much longer for me to heal from that than I expected. I'm still going to a chiropractor twice a month and I'm getting better and better all the time, but there have been a couple of backslides when I wasn't careful.

The good points were that we bought a new house and moved into it in August. It's a pretty awesome house - we think:) (you can see more photos on that page)

Sue managed her last ISVCon conference in September, and she is also attending college, going for a bachelors degree in business management as the final goal. Laila is busy with school and playing the bass, which she is really good with and learns quickly. Her private teacher wants her to start playing with him in the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra her ninth grade year. We are very proud parents:)

Looking forward

Unfortunately all this came down pretty hard on my product work last year and I didn't get a lot of releases out there, although I pushed to make sure that Clarion 9 compatible versions of our products were released in timely manner (I hope). Doesn't mean I sat idle handed, though;) The last two months I have done quite a bit of work on Build Automator to work out the bug fixes that I had made and lost earlier to an unfortunate mix-up caused by System Restore see my last blog post. I have some testing on the install left and final testing with Clarion 9 and it will be ready to release.

My plan for this year is to tackle client work in the first half of the month and product work in the second half. Before, I have been trying to get product work done here and there when I had time, but I've come to the conclusion (finally!) that it just doesn't work for me. I have a difficult time jumping from one project to the other. It works much better for me to be able to concentrate on one project for a longer period of time (spanning several days) rather than try to squeeze in an hour here and there.

Support for Clarion 6 and older
If everything works well for me using Clarion 9, I will switch over to it as the main Clarion development IDE. I will update products with regards to the old IDEs, but during 2014 I will most likely stop product work for the old IDE. It's not going to happen all at once, but rather one product at a time. That doesn't mean that the product will stop working in Clarion 6! Not at all, just that I will not test them as thoroughly in Clarion 6 as I have done and it's possible that some build introduces features that are only in Clarion 8/9.

Builds where I know that I'm using new features that don't exist in the old IDE will have the support for Clarion 6 and earlier removed from the installer. So instead of seeing a list of Clarion versions going all the way back to Clarion 4 for some of the products, it will only go back to Clarion 7 or 8. I don't plan on testing much with Clarion 8 either!

Why is supporting both IDEs not such a good idea?
This will simplify things for me. For example: Currently I have to maintain two DLLs that I use in the templates. One for the old IDE using an old version of Borland C++ and one for the new IDE using Visual C++. Borland C++ does not work with the new IDE and the Visual C++ one does not work with the old! The template language in the new IDE uses PASCAL attribute to indicate that the call uses stdcall parameter passing.

ld templates I used WIN32 attribute to indicate that the DLL was 32 bit, not 16 bit. WIN32 is not valid in the new IDE and it will not register templates with it. PASCAL is not valid in the old IDE and will cause it to crash when registering the template! This means that at install time I have to replace WIN32 with PASCAL in template files that use #RUNDLL. I also have to search/replace WIN32 with PASCAL or the other way around every time I test a template in C6 or C9! So the sooner I can have all of this on one page, the happier I will be!

All of this makes it very easy for a bug to crawl in. Fortunately Build Automator takes care of a lot of this for me, and there is no way I could support the products and installs that I have without it!

With that I'm going back to work:) Again I wish you all Happy New Year and hope all of us will be prosperous in this new year:)

Arnor Baldvinsson

Arnor
11/28/13

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of you out there, Happy Thanksgiving from Sue, Laila and I:)

It's been a long time since I blogged! It took much longer for us to settle in than we had expected. Partially because Sue was managing the ISV conference, which was held in Reno in the end of September. She was gone for over a week to get that done. While she was gone, her college classes started so when she came home it took her over a month, just to get caught up and she ended up dropping one class of four that she had planned to take. After a lot of contemplating she decided to stretch her study out for one more year, giving her time to get caught up next year. She is only taking one class next quarter.

All this didn't give me much time other than to work on the client projects I have, which are all very long term. That said, I have managed to kick out a few new builds with some minor updates.

Build Automator
I have made good progress on Build Automator. A new build, the first in over two years, will be out in the second week of December. Most of the work has been in the IDE. There were areas of instability which I had put considerably work into fixing back in 2011. In January 2012 I ran into problems with my development machine and ended up having to use System Restore to get it back up and running. Unfortunately I did not realize the effects it had on my Clarion projects:( I lost over two months worth of work in Build Automator, which set me completely off course.

The new version has full support for the new Clarion IDE (Clarion 7 - 9) via the MS-Build action. The older IDE (Clarion 6 and older) action has been made a bit more robust, but I will probably not put much more work into it unless bugs are discovered.

Problems with duplicate, variables, copy/paste were all related to the same problem which has been fixed. Support for Setup Builder 8, which was added with an updated DLL in February 2013 is now of course included. A problem with Software Passport Version 9 has also been resolved. The new update will be available both as a download and also as a web-update.

Icetips Utilities
I will have a new build ready sometime in December, probably close to the end, with documentation updates and a few updates and fixes. The next build of the Utilities after this will introduce some changes. It will include a run-time library with additional functions that are written in C++ and .NET. The library DLLs will need to be distributed with your binary code, but only if you use any of the methods that call the run-time library. The DLLs will only be dynamically loaded, so there are no lib files to worry about. The Icetips run-time library (ITRTL) will be included with a new product that I have had in the pipeline for a while and never got around to fix it. I'm hoping I can kick it out in December, but January for sure!

I have a collection of SQL and related classes that I have graciously been allowed to add to the Utilities by my client who I developed those classes and methods for. This includes for example methods to build WHERE filters, build ORDER BY clause based on a key, use aggregate functions, use double quote (") instead of single quote in queries, prevent SQL injection, log SQL to file or DebugView, build queries based on entry field data (i.e. create query form) and more.

For now, I'm concentrating on getting Build Automator ready and out the door:)

Happy Thanksgiving

Arnor Baldvinsson

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