Saturday, 11 April 2015

Modernising the client application - icons in the menu

A lot of the Uniface development that I do these days is actually web development, which means I spend a lot of time with Javascript and JQuery, and less time with Uniface procscript.  However, we still have client applications as well, and they can look tired and dated, so anything we can do to make them look more modern, can be a big win!

This is a simple little trick that appeared in Uniface 9.6.  It's actually been around for a while in dropdown menus, first as an undocumented feature, and then documented in Uniface 9.5 - I wrote a blog post on this almost three years ago.  However, the same trick now works in menus.

You can reference images in the menu items like this...

You might not be able to read the image clearly, so the three menu items are...

  1. ^U_REM_SELECT·!Cu%t
  2. ^U_SAVE·!Copy
  3. ^U_INS_SELECT·!Paste

In this case, the image is at the start, with a gold-not (or gold-exclamation-mark) as a delimiter, and the menu item text after that.

This appears in the client application this this...

As you can see - lovely icons!  Please note that you would need these glyphs in your system for it to work, these are not provided as part of Uniface itself.  

You can include icons in one of two ways...

  • ^glyph - glyphs need to be compiled into UOBJ (always available and performs well).
  • @filename - images loaded from a fileserver (not always available and performs badly).

I would recommend the glyph option though, for performance and reliability.

You may also note that the percent character (%) can be used to denote which character should work when traversing the menu using the "Alt" key.  If you do not explicitly denote this, the first character will be used.

This is documented in the "Defining and Using Menus" section of the manuals, but can be hard to find unless you know what you're looking for!  It's worth reading this for more information though.

Summary:  It's possible to make the client application look a little more modern now by including icons in the menu bars.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Undocumented feature - current assignment file

One great feature of Uniface is it's great flexibility and configurability, through the use of different assignment (.asn) files.  These are used to define paths to the different runtime files and server locations, etc.  The problem can then come though, especially with multiple environments, that you don't know which assignment file you're using!

I wrote a post a while ago about the undocumented $assignments function, which allows you to get access to the assignment file settings that you are currently using, but this doesn't help you get to the filename itself.

One suggestion I've seen before is to add a logical to each assignment file which specifies the name/location of the file.  However, it's way too easy for someone to move, copy or rename the file and neglect to update the logical, and then worse than not knowing, you think you do know but the information you're being given is inaccurate.

Luckily Uniface 9.6.06 has solved this problem with a new undocumented feature of $processinfo...

  putmess $processinfo("cmdline")

This will put the command line used to access the application into the message buffer.  For example...

  "\\server\location\uniface\bin\uniface.exe" /asn=\\server\location\adm\uclidev.asn /ini=\\server\location\ini\me.ini APPSHELL

As you can see, the assignment file and ini file are both specified in the command line, along with the application shell as well.  This should give you all the information you need, although you'll need to do some string manipulation to pull out the bit(s) you want.

This was recently discussed on the forums, so you can check there for more context, and sign up if you haven't already!

Summary: You can access the current assignment file location, but accessing the command line, as long as you're happy to use an undocumented/unsupported feature.