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OrbWorks Community Forum • View topic - Support for OrbForms

Support for OrbForms

A PocketC native palm library offering native forms and assorted utilities

Postby Ringmaster on Tue Mar 19, 2002 2:51 am

I'm curious which features of the toolbox will continue to work with this new OrbForms program. I've used the beta for a couple days and it's really neat.

I can guess that many things (forms?) would be difficult to implement. Have you looked at OrbForms and what might be accomplished?

-Owen
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Postby jstadolnik on Tue Mar 19, 2002 4:08 am

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
I'm curious which features of the toolbox will continue to work with this new OrbForms program. I've used the beta for a couple days and it's really neat.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

None likely. I've conversed with Jeremy with regards to whether OrbForms will support a native library interface. He indicated that there would be, but that it would differ from the PocketC library interface. So I see it unlikely that the PToolboxLib will work with OrbForms.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
I can guess that many things (forms?) would be difficult to implement. Have you looked at OrbForms and what might be accomplished?
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

The PToolboxLib already has extensive form capabilities built in. See the "Forms Function" section in the PToolboxLib documuntation. It's features are quite comparable to OrbForms with the exception of scrollbar and gadget support which my library lacks (though I'll likely remedy this in the future).

There are also number of desktop graphical form layout tools available which are compatable with the PocketC/PToolboxLib combo. See the following link for a list of the tools and how to interface them with PDE: http://pocketc.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPI ... on+Palm+OS

Granted, these tools don't provide an IDE as tightly integrated as OrbForms, it's still pretty good.

Also, these form designer tools generate .rcp files for PilRC, which can be re-used in non-PocketC applications. This is handy when you want to upgrade to a development platform (gcc,Codewarrior,mobileStudio,etc) that generates faster applications with no runtime requirements... in other words you don't have to redo your forms if you have them in an .rcp format.

The PToolboxLib supports both dynamic and resource forms (OrbForms currently can only do resource forms). With dynamic forms, an application can itself create forms on-the-fly, this allows you to deploy adaptive forms which morph during runtime to fit complex data entry needs.

Another nice feature of the PocketC/PToolboxLib combo is that you can compile on both your PDA and on the PC desktop. So you can code where ever you go.

Joe

The PToolboxLib guy.
http://www.geocities.com/retro_01775/PToolboxLib.htm

Edited by - jstadolnik on 03/19/2002 08:55:49
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Postby Ringmaster on Tue Mar 19, 2002 11:41 am

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
None likely.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

That's too bad. I would really like to draw ellipses in OrbForms.

One of the main things that interests me in regard to OrbForms is the gadget capabilities. Actually, I have a project that would have been very tedious to implement until now because of this. I've tried (and currently use) a couple of the GUI form builder things and, even overlooking the ability to extend the runtime with gadgets, find them mostly lacking.

Also, I have never used the Palm version of PocketC to compile. I find it too cumbersome.

But I suppose I would be in the minority in all of this.
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Postby jstadolnik on Tue Mar 19, 2002 11:23 pm

Gadgets are easy to fake in PocketC.

The form objects in Ccontrols, PocketGUI, and the like are all really custom gadgets.

Joe

The PToolboxLib guy.
http://www.geocities.com/retro_01775/PToolboxLib.htm
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Postby Ringmaster on Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:06 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Gadgets are easy to fake in PocketC.

The form objects in Ccontrols, PocketGUI, and the like are all really custom gadgets.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

They also have the following undesirable properties:

1) These visual editors don't allow you to extend their form designers so that one can add custom gadgets (written by me or you) visually.

2) If you were to implement a custom gadget under these systems, you'd be likely to have to integrate it into their generated/required message loop code, which is probably more trouble than it's worth.

PToolbox is a prime offender here, since it requires it's own message peek just to trap events, making it difficult to put custom gadgets written in PocketC along side the native library ones. This is actually my prime issue with PToolbox.

A very classy GUI designer would allow you to extend the available gadgets with custom ones or ones that you have acquired from a 3rd party. OrbForms seems like it will do this quite nicely. Addmittedly, I haven't looked at other GUI designers in a while, and maybe things have improved.

All of this stems from my desire to create a very specific gadget. It is a gadget with 5 circles arranged in a horizontal line. If I tap a circle, then it and all those to the left of it become filled. All circles to the right of it become unfilled. If I tap the right-most filled circle in the line, it becomes unfilled. This gadget would represent a number from 0 to 5, and is similar to a real-world form, which is important because otherwise I would just use a drop-down or spinner and be done with it.

With OrbForms, I was able to create this gadget and place it visually in several places on a form within about a half hour. This is a fraction of the time it took before I got frustrated trying to implement a custom PocketC gadget along with the native library components in PToolbox.

It is entirely possible that I made some stupid mistake that prevented me from getting it working, but my comparison is more that OrbForms didn't cause me any trouble because I didn't have to tinker with the message loop to get my custom gadget to work.

Nonetheless, if PToolbox were OrbForms compatible I could avoid all of the aforementioned nastiness and still access the PToolbox functions (like ellipse drawing). It would also be nice if PToolbox gadgets could be implemented in OrbForms as custom OrbForm gadgets, thus allowing you to add them to the form. Of course, I speak this without even considering the ramifications in either OrbForms or PToolbox, and my developer-sense tingles with the thought that this is also probably more trouble than it's worth, but for you and not me. :)

Owen
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Postby jstadolnik on Thu Mar 21, 2002 2:48 am

Making your own gagdet is pretty trivial.
1) get a pen down/move/up event
2) check to see if the pen coordinates are in the gadget space.
3) call your gadget handler function

There's really not much to it.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
A very classy GUI designer would allow you to extend the available gadgets
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

The palmOS APIs are not object oriented, there is no way to extend the built-in objects (e.g. fields, lists, buttons, etc). Only a development platform which doesn't use the palm API for its GUI's could do this.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
All of this stems from my desire to create a very specific gadget. It is a gadget with 5 circles arranged in a horizontal line. If I tap a circle, then it and all those to the left of it become filled. All circles to the right of it become unfilled. If I tap the right-most filled circle in the line, it becomes unfilled. This gadget would represent a number from 0 to 5, and is similar to a real-world form, which is important because otherwise I would just use a drop-down or spinner and be done with it.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

One problem you probably have is that the palmOS gadgets are rectangular in nature and not circular. See the CircleCross() PToolbox function, by setting one of the circle's radious to 0 you can do a point-in-circle detection.

Did you know you can draw circles with the standard rect calls? (e.g. rect(1,40,40,80,80,20);)

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
With OrbForms, I was able to create this gadget and place it visually in several places on a form within about a half hour. This is a fraction of the time it took before I got frustrated trying to implement a custom PocketC gadget along with the native library components in PToolbox.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

OrbForms definitely has a very easy user interface. Go with what suits your needs. Don't let me shoehorn you into something which isn't right for you.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Nonetheless, if PToolbox were OrbForms compatible I could avoid all of the aforementioned nastiness and still access the PToolbox functions (like ellipse drawing). It would also be nice if PToolbox gadgets could be implemented in OrbForms as custom OrbForm gadgets, thus allowing you to add them to the form. Of course, I speak this without even considering the ramifications in either OrbForms or PToolbox, <hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

Jeremy hasn't released any details about the OrbForms native library interface yet, but I seriously doubt that it would be possible to do what you suggest. Keep in mind that most of the OrbForms features are object driven where as none of PocketC features are not. This is a *huge* divide to bridge.

Joe

The PToolboxLib guy.
http://www.geocities.com/retro_01775/PToolboxLib.htm

Edited by - jstadolnik on 03/20/2002 21:23:29
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Postby Ringmaster on Thu Mar 21, 2002 11:45 am

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
The palmOS APIs are not object oriented, there is no way to extend the built-in objects (e.g. fields, lists, buttons, etc). Only a development platform which doesn't use the palm API for its GUI's could do this.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

I was actually interested in extending the designer; to add additional gadgets to the designer's capabilities, not so much to extend the functionality of the built-in objects.

Besides that, I imagine that an object oriented wrapper could be developed for any of the native controls. After all, look at Windows. The Windows API is not object oriented, and you can still write C++ programs for it. MFC itself is mostly class implementations of Windows API functions.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Did you know you can draw circles with the standard rect calls? (e.g. rect(1,40,40,80,80,20);)
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

Yeah, that's actually what I've been doing. It just unnerves me that I have to call a rect function to draw a circle, and I can't draw an ellipse at all.

<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Jeremy hasn't released any details about the OrbForms native library interface yet, but I seriously doubt that it would be possible to do what you suggest. Keep in mind that most of the OrbForms features are object driven where as none of PocketC features are not. This is a *huge* divide to bridge.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

Yes, it probably would involve a lot of work and may even be impossible. I think that the possibility should provide enough incentive to check it out, though. I suppose we'll have to wait until the OrbForms native API is released to see how it could work.

Owen
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