XIDE: global variables

May 09

The new XIDE-Build from May 2016 supports the definition of own global variables to use in Pre- and Post-Build events, for example to set some system-wide paths.

Simply add a section [GlobalVariables] to XIDE.cfg, when the program is not open, like this one:

GlobalVariable = %mygeneralmanifest% , C:\temp\mymanifestfile

Later versions may support these variables also in templates.

XIDE: Tools on menu

May 06

You just need to add a section in the bottom of the xide.cfg file:

xml = notepad.exe
txt = wordpad.exe,%1

The 2nd syntax allows you to use command line options, for example

wordpad.exe , /param1 %1 /param2

(%1 is replaced with the filename)

If you press CTRL or SHIFT while opening a file, it gets opened inside XIDE, instead of the tool you specified. Obviously I am just sending it now but not waiting for a quick response, only when you have time about this.

XIDE: Placeholders in prebuild and postbuild events

May 06

The following placeholders are available:


A small sample for the executable cmd.exe:
%AppPath%Prg\App.config %ProjectOutputPath%%ConfigPath%%AssemblyName%.exe.config /y

or preferred by myself:
/c c:\xsharp\xide\postbuildcopy.cmd "%AssemblyName%.dll" "%ProjectOutputPath%%ConfigPath%" "c:\devnet\libs\rdm"

where postbuildcopy.cmd has the following content:
@echo off
set assemblyname=%1
set sourcepath=%2%
set targetpath=%3%
set sourcefile=%sourcepath%\%assemblyname%
set targetfile=%targetpath%\%assemblyname%
if not exist %sourcefile% goto ende
if exist %targetfile% goto replace
copy %sourcefile% %targetfile%
goto ende
replace %sourcefile% %targetpath% /u

XIDE: Plugin system

May 06

XIDE supports a plugin system.

The core of a plugin is to define a class that inherits from Xide.PluginSystem.Plugin and implements the METHOD Initialize() and PROPERTY Name. Initialize() passes you a PluginService object, with which you can communicate with XIDE. Type self:oService: in the sample to get a list of available methods of this class.
After you have built your plugin dll, simply copy it in the plugin subdirectory of the XIDE directory, and it will be loaded on the next start of XIDE.

And this is a sample code by Chris Pyrgas, the author of XIDE:

using Xide.PluginSystem
using System.Windows.Forms

class TestPlugin inherit Xide.PluginSystem.Plugin
protect oService as PluginService
virtual method Initialize(_oService as PluginService) as void

self:oService := _oService

local oMenuItem as MenuItem

oMenuItem := MenuItem{"Add some custom text" , PluginMenuItem_Edit_clicked }
self:oService:RegisterMenuItem(MainMenuItem.Edit , oMenuItem)

oMenuItem := MenuItem{"My Plugin" , PluginMenuItem_Window_clicked }
self:oService:RegisterMenuItem(MainMenuItem.Window , oMenuItem)


method PluginMenuItem_Edit_clicked(o as object,e as EventArgs) as void
local oFilePad as FilePad
local oEditor as Editor
oFilePad := self:oService:GetActiveFilePad()
if oFilePad == null
end if
oEditor := oFilePad:Editor
oEditor:AddLine("// This is some test enetered from the plugin!")

method PluginMenuItem_Window_clicked(o as object,e as EventArgs) as void
local oProject as Project
oProject := self:oService:ActiveProject
if oProject == null
end if
MessageBox.Show("Applications in project " + oProject:Name + " : " + oProject:GetApplications():Length:ToString() , "Message from plugin!")

virtual property Name as string get "A test plugin"

end class

XIDE: Reference templates

May 06

In XIDE, it is possible to add reference templates:

You can edit them through VIDE\Config\References.cfg and they appear in the add references page by pressing the button in the bottom left named “Select from template…”

SideBySide or Registration-Free Activation of Vulcan.NET/X# components

May 06

In this post I will try to list some things that are needed for registration-free use of Vulcan.NET or X# components in Visual Objects applications. Some of these issues have costed me several days of tries.

First, a background article from MSDN: How to: Configure .NET Framework-Based COM Components for Registration-Free Activation

Then: a big “Thank You” to Meinhard Schnoor who has helped me a lot not only with this issue, but often also with other issues.

How SxS (how I will call it to shorten) works basically? I’ll try to simplify at maximum what is needed and where the potential problems stay.

Normally, COM works only with “registered” components. This has some issues:

  • you can only register components from your local machine, not from a network share
  • you need administrative rights to register the component
  • the component registration is global for the machine, you cannot use different versions of the component
  • With SxS things are different:

  • components are called from the program directory without installation
  • every application can use the proper component version
  • of course no administration rights are needed
  • Unfortunately, SxS is very bad documented, and there are not many helpful articles and tools available. And if something goes wrong, it may be very difficult to find out the “why”. sxstrace.exe normally is a help, but not every time. Manifest caching can also disturb.


    Manifests are the basic mechanism for SxS, they are needed for both the component and the executable. The manifest for the component needs to specify the available classes and GUIDs, and the manifest for the executable needs to specify the name of the component. At loading time, the loader first reads the manifest for the executable and then the manifest for the component. If something goes wrong, you exe will not start. Look first in the event viewer and then use sxstrace to see the errors. Because of manifest caching it can be necessary to change the time stamp of your executable (best: regenerate it). Manifests can be standalone (name of the exe or dll with added .manifest extension), or built into the executable. My recommendation would be to use standalone manifests for development and embedded manifests for deployment.


    Every class and also the interfaces need their own GUID – generate a new one with the guidgen tool (You’ll need the Visual Studio Developer Command Prompt for this). Please pay attention to use the right GUIDs!


    The entire system is very sensible to versioning! You need to use the correct version in every place: manifests and component itself (an AssemblyInfo.prg with the correct AssemblyVersionAttribute and the AssemblyFileVersionAttribute entries is needed – otherwise SxS will give no errors, but don’t load the component! This alone has costed me several days of tries.


    Correct naming is the next potential issue: this is not only important for the name of the DLL and for the name of the classes, but also for the namespace used in the component. Name the component the same as the used namespace (and use a namespace!) to save you troubles (with naming errors the registered assembly may work, the SxS loading will fail silently at runtime).

    Any error in one of the components will cause the failure of the entire loading mechanism.

    Getting started with the AdWords API

    Mar 17

    Actually, I have a project where I have to retrieve Google AdWords statistic data and store it locally to generate reports.

    Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time to find out how to start. Therefore you can find here the most important things from the view of a Windows programmer.

    1) request an API token. Google ask something from you, like the use you make, if your software will be distributed, if you plan only read access or also to write. You have also to write a short project description. And if you don’t use your API token for more as 3 months, they will ask you the reason. More informations are here:

    2) decide how you will authenticate. OAuth2 is not very simple to understand. Unfortunately, I had opted first for a service authentication. This one is very complicated and you need a Google Apps domain for it, i.e. one of your domains must be registered for a Google cloud service like GMail or Apps. So my recommendation is to use the APPLICATION authmode.

    3) on the developers console https://console.developers.google.com you need then to request a new client ID – as type I opted for “OTHER”, as my project is neither a web project, nor a mobile app.

    4) for the authentication you need basically 4 things: your API token, a client ID, a client secret and a refresh token. The API token you should have from step 1, client ID and client secret come from step 3, and the refresh token will be described later.

    5) generate an AdWords account that has read-only access to the Adwords accounts you need – if you are a developer like me, ask the Adwords guys of your company.

    6) download the client libraries here https://github.com/googleads/googleads-dotnet-lib. I would recommend to download the entire project as ZIP and build the client libraries yourself – open the Visual Studio solution file and build all. In this solution you will find a lot of useful things: not only the complete source code of the client libraries, but also samples in C# and VB.NET

    7) the OAuth2 flow is not so easy to implement – I have used the OAuthTokenGenerator application from the client libraries from step 6. This application (beware: you have to start this application with elevated rights as it uses internally the httpListener class!) gives you the last pieces needed for authentication: the refresh token

    8) use the samples from the client libraries to understand how the entire API works. It is very well documented, and the fact that you have the sources is very helpful. For the authentication best you use the app.config file (yourApplication.exe.config), copy it from the sample in the client library and replace the authentication data

    9) last error I made: the AdWords account I used had no campaigns in it since it was the account of the company itself, I had to use one of the customer accounts and set it not in the .config file, but in my program. How this can be accomplished, is documented in the app.config file.

    I have to make a compliment to Google: they are very helpful, the API is well documented and you have the full sources to it.

    httpListener class in Vulcan.NET/X#

    Mar 05

    This is code for a Vulcan.NET or X# Listener class (ported over from C#):

    // Application : HttpListener
    // httpListener.prg , Created : 16.02.2016 08:37
    // User : Wolfgang
    // C# code see here:
    // http://mikehadlow.blogspot.it/2006/07/playing-with-httpsys.html
    // to make it run without admin rights you need something like this one:
    // netsh http add urlacl url="http://*:8080/" user=[username] listen=yes

    #using System
    #using System.Net
    #using System.Text
    #using System.IO
    #using VulcanHttpListener.riedmann.it

    begin namespace VulcanHttpListener.riedmann.it

    function Start() as void
     local oProgram as MainProgram

     oProgram := MainProgram{}


    class MainProgram
     protect _oListener as HttpListener


      _oListener := HttpListener{}


     method Start() as void

      _oListener:Prefixes:Add( "http://*:8080/" )
      Console.WriteLine( "Listening on port 8080, hit enter to stop" )
      _oListener:BeginGetContext( AsyncCallback{ self:GetContextCallback }, null )


     method GetContextCallback( oResult as IAsyncResult ) as void
      local oContext as HttpListenerContext
      local oRequest as HttpListenerRequest
      local oResponse as HttpListenerResponse
      local oSB as StringBuilder
      local oString as string
      local oBuffer as byte[]
      local oOutput as Stream

      oContext := _oListener:EndGetContext( oResult )
      oRequest := oContext:Request
      oResponse := oContext:Response

      oSB := StringBuilder{}
      oSB:Append( e"\n" )
      oSB:AppendFormat( e"HttpMethod: {0}\n", oRequest:HttpMethod )
      oSB:AppendFormat( e"URI: {0}\n", oRequest:Url:AbsoluteUri )
      oSB:AppendFormat( e"Local path: {0}\n", oRequest:Url:LocalPath )
      oSB:Append( e"\n" )
      foreach cKey as string in oRequest:QueryString:Keys
       oSB:AppendFormat( e"Query: {0} = {1}\n", cKey, oRequest:QueryString[cKey] )
      oSB:Append( e"\n" )

      oString := oSB:ToString()
      oBuffer := System.Text.Encoding.UTF8:GetBytes( oString )
      oResponse:ContentLength64 := oBuffer:Length
      oOutput := oResponse:OutputStream
      oOutput:Write( oBuffer, 0, oBuffer:Length )

      _oListener:BeginGetContext( AsyncCallback{ self, @GetContextCallback() }, null )


    end class

    end namespace

    Windows service caveats with Process.Start

    Feb 29

    These days, I was working on a webservice that worked directly with http.sys.
    This service was planned to wait for requests, and launch programs depending on the request.
    Firstly, I planned to use the local system account, and launch the external programs as specific user. This program should be started from a network share, using UNC paths.
    Unfortunately, that does not work, Process.Start cannot do that:

    My next decision was to add a user for this purpose (to run the Windows service). Unfortunately, Process.Start ignores the essential settings for a Windows service

    oInfo:UseShellExecute := false
    oInfo:CreateNoWindow := true
    oInfo:ErrorDialog := false
    oInfo:WindowStyle := ProcessWindowStyle.Hidden

    The page from MSDN (https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/0w4h05yb%28v=vs.100%29.aspx) states:
    “If the UserName and Password properties of the StartInfo instance are set, the unmanaged CreateProcessWithLogonW function is called, which starts the process in a new window even if the CreateNoWindow property value is true or the WindowStyle property value is Hidden.”
    At the moment I’m not changing the user from the service, but executing the external program under the service account.

    I had also another small issue: since I was reading the password from an ini file, I thought the StartInfo:PasswordInClearText property was enough. On my development machine it worked, but crashed on the production server, an SBS 2011 (based on Windows Server 2008 R2) because with the .NET Framework 4 this property simply does not exists.

    Another issue: if you plan to start a process as another user from a service: this user needs local logon rights (on a server OS this is a manual change)

    Event sample

    Feb 21

    Today, trying to understand also events in Vulcan.NET/X#, I wrote the following sample that should give an idea how events work in Vulcan.NET and X#.

    #using EventSample

    begin namespace EventSample

    function Start( ) as void
      local oClass2 as Sample2Class

      System.Console.WriteLine(“Start of the SampleEvent application”)

      oClass2 := Sample2Class{}


    public delegate SampleHandle( cParameter as string ) as void

    class SampleClass
      public event oSampleEvent as SampleHandle



    method CallSampleEvent() as void

      oSampleEvent( “Hi there” )


    end class

    class Sample2Class



    method RegisterEvent() as void
      local oClass as SampleClass

      oClass := SampleClass{}
      oClass:oSampleEvent += self:method2


    public method method2( cParameter as string ) as void

      System.Console.WriteLine( “method2:” + cParameter )


    end class

    end namespace