News and updates for Synergy/DE Developers :: May 27, 2010

Synergy/DE 9.3.1b patch is available for Windows and Unix


SPC 2010 is coming to Sacramento October 4-8


Tod Phillips: Challenges Facing Synergy Developers

Richard Morris: The Cloud & Counting on Synergy
Announcing Synergy/DE 9.5 Beta Test – Delivering Native Support for Microsoft .NET
Create Synergy applications that run under Microsoft’s .NET Framework

Synergy/DE 9.3.1b Patch Is Now Available on Unix
Includes important fixes

AgTrax’s TraxView Instantly Displays Synergy DBMS Data via xfServerPlus in Map Form
New graphical front end gives customers a whole new way to view and analyze their data

Synergy/DE Tech Tip
Creating a form letter with Microsoft Word and xfODBC

Synergy/DE pros, see if you can answer this question!

Platform News
Read a selection of recent articles

Synergex Holiday Reminder
Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 31st in recognition of
Memorial Day


Announcing Synergy/DE 9.5 Beta Test – Delivering Native Support for Microsoft .NET
Create Synergy applications that run under Microsoft’s .NET Framework

We are excited to announce the beta release of our native support for Microsoft .NET. To be released as Synergy/DE 9.5 later this year, this new version will enable you to use Synergy Language to create Windows desktop applications that run under Microsoft’s .NET Framework. You will be able to:
  • Interoperate with applications written in other .NET languages, such as C# or VB .NET
  • Take advantage of all .NET Framework classes
  • Develop Synergy code in Visual Studio
Synergy/DE 9.5 includes a new compiler created specifically for Microsoft's .NET Framework. It produces Microsoft's Intermediate Language (MSIL) code that executes under Microsoft’s Common Language Runtime (CLR). This enables Synergy Language to now interoperate with any other .NET language; so for example, you can call Synergy routines from C# routines, VB .NET routines from Synergy routines, etc. And you can access the same .NET Framework classes that other (C# and VB .NET) developers can access.

Synergy/DE 9.5’s integration with Visual Studio enables you to take full advantage of Microsoft’s development environment to create your Synergy code, including features such as IntelliSense, colorization, code snippets, and code regions. And not only can you use the debugger to debug your Synergy code, but if your Synergy application interoperates with code from other languages, you can step seamlessly from one language to another. Synergy/DE 9.5 supports the following project types in Visual Studio: Console, DLL, WinForms, WPF, class library, and interop (which uses the same Synergy methods as xfNetLink .NET.)

In addition to being able to use Synergy Language to create new Windows desktop applications that run under the .NET Framework, you may also be able to rebuild some existing Synergy code to run under the Framework. If you are already developing a Windows desktop application, and you use…

xfServerPlus/xfNetlink - You can rebuild your Synergy methods to run under the .NET Framework and then call them natively (without going through xfNetLink/xfServerPlus).

UI Toolkit’s “non-UI” routines – You can rebuild your code to run under the .NET Framework.

Synergy windowing API – You can use Synergy/DE 9.5’s experimental support for the Synergy windowing API as a starting point in moving your UI to .NET. It enables you to display “unix-like”, non-mouse-controlled “W_” windows in WinForms under the Microsoft .NET Framework.

If your application has a UI Toolkit user interface, we recommend an incremental approach to moving your UI to .NET where you convert one screen at a time with the Synergy .NET assembly API, and you use Synergy/DE 9.5 to create your .NET assemblies in Synergy Language. The Synergy .NET assembly API is easy to use and is already being used with phenomenal results by numerous Synergy customers.

If you are already using the Synergy .NET assembly API, you can now choose to create assemblies in Synergy Language (in Visual Studio) over other .NET languages. And you can convert your existing C# code to Synergy Language code with an experimental “C# to Synergy” converter that comes with Synergy/DE 9.5.

This beta release supports Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0.

Why Beta Test?
  • Learn the new technology and how you can take advantage of it.
  • Help ensure that the released product meets your requirements. Reporting issues during the beta test will enable us to fix them before the release.
  • Influence our implementation. We’ll consider all beta input as we finalize our implementation.
  • It’s important to the Synergy/DE community. Helping us ensure a high-quality and highly-functional release benefits our whole developer community.
Next Steps
  • Let us know if you are interested in signing up for the beta test or in getting more information.
  • If you have existing code that you would like to rebuild to run under Microsoft’s .NET Framework:
    • Upgrade to Synergy/DE 9.3 if you have not already.
    • Compile and link your code with the .NET options in 9.3 (that check for .NET compatibility).
    • Update your code to address any warnings that are reported.

Synergy/DE 9.3.1b Patch Is Now Available on Unix
Includes important fixes

The Synergy/DE 9.3.1b patch, previously released for Windows, is now available for Unix as well. It includes a number of important fixes, and we recommend that all Synergy/DE 9.3 customers update to it.

See a list of the changes in 9.3.1b. Customers with ALM and Developer Support can visit the Synergy/DE Resource Center to download the patch. If you do not have ALM or Developer Support, please contact your Synergy/DE account manager.

AgTrax’s TraxView Instantly Displays Synergy DBMS Data via xfServerPlus in Map Form
New graphical front end gives customers a whole new way to view and analyze their data

AgTrax Technologies (AgTrax) is a leading developer of accounting software for agricultural businesses throughout the Midwest. Their Synergy/DE-based software helps manage the food production process in rural America from the planted seed all the way to food processing companies.

Scheduled for release later this month, AgTrax’s new TraxView product adds a sophisticated and powerful front end to their Synergy data stored on Unix. With TraxView, customers will be able to map any data they are interested in viewing to the relevant area of a crop. For example, the EPA may be interested in downriver contamination and need to see how much of a certain fertilizer was applied to each area of a field. TraxView can pull the relevant data from the database (type of fertilizer used, how much, and where) and return a map with color coded squares to correspond to the appropriate parameters. Or, a farmer may be trying to match his crop’s yield to the previous year. In this case, he can pull the data corresponding to soil samples for each area of the field and compare it to the data from the previous year. Based on the results, he can quickly come up with a very specific fertilizer plan to bump up his crop’s yield.

AgTrax Field Data
Click here to view larger image.

The beta test for TraxView is almost finished, and the enthusiastic feedback has generated much anticipation at AgTrax. “With the new enhancements in both product look and functionality, TraxView, along with the mapping project, have opened up an entire new world for AgTrax Technologies,” states AgTrax sales manager Garette Long. “These tools will give current customers and future customers the ability to integrate all facets of their business and to manage information in a completely new way. Very exciting times for our company!”

Written in C# with Infragistics controls, TraxView’s mapping module and order entry module both use Synergy/DE’s xfServerPlus to access Synergy DBMS data. TraxView also has a CRM module, which accesses SQL Server data.

Also in the works is the ability to package the Synergy DBMS data into XML packets that can be stored in the floater rigs that distribute fertilizer. This functionality will enable farmers to adjust the amount and type of fertilizer used in a minute area of a field, based on any applicable parameters. This information will also be imported back into the accounting system, enabling fertilizer companies to seamlessly bill farmers just for the amount and type of fertilizer actually used. For more information, visit AgTrax's Web site.

Synergy/DE Tech Tip
Creating a form letter with Microsoft Word and xfODBC

Did you know you can use xfODBC to enable Microsoft Word to access Synergy data? Although it might not be the most obvious application of your Synergy data, creating form letters is nonetheless a powerful way of using ODBC to perform an important task. This procedure was created using Microsoft Office Word 2007. The steps may vary for other versions of Word.

Note that before you can do the following, you must generate a system catalog for the sample database distributed with Connectivity Series, create a connect file and DSN for the sample database, and create a user that can access the data. Make sure the DSN specifies user name, password, and connect file. If you initialize users and groups, you can use the default user DBADMIN. For more information, see the xfODBC User's Guide.

Once your xfODBC data access is set up, follow these steps:

1. Open Microsoft Word. If a new blank document is not already open, click the Office button (in the upper-left corner of the Word window) and select New. Then, in the New Document window, select “Blank document” and click Create.

2. On the Quick Access Toolbar, select Mailings > Start Mail Merge > Step by Step Mail Merge Wizard.

3. On the “Select document type” screen of the Mail Merge wizard, select Letters and click “Next: Starting document.”

4. On the “Select starting document” screen, select “Use the current document” and click “Next: Select recipients.”

5. On the “Select recipients” screen, select the first option, “Use an existing list,” and then, in the “Use an existing list” section, click Browse.

6. In the Select Data Source dialog box, click New Source, which opens the Data Connection Wizard. Select ODBC DSN on the first screen of the wizard, and click Next.

7. In the “Connect to ODBC Data Source screen” of the wizard, select the DSN you created for the sample Synergy database and click Next.

8. In the “Select Database and Table” screen of the wizard, select CUSTOMERS, and then click Next. In the “Save Data Connection File and Finish” screen, click Finish, and in the Confirm Data Source window, click OK.

9. In the Mail Merge Recipients window, select the recipients that will be used in the merge. Then click OK.

10. Back in the Mail Merge wizard, click “Next: Write your letter.”

11. At the top of the new document, press ENTER twice and then type


Press ENTER twice and type

Thank you.

Press ENTER twice and type


Press ENTER three times and type


12. Press CTRL+HOME to return the cursor to the top of the Word document.

13. In the Mail Merge wizard, click “More items…,” select CUST_NAME from the Insert Merge Field dialog box, click Insert, and then close the dialog box.

14. Press ENTER to add a line after the CUST_NAME line, and add CUST_STREET to this line (using the same procedure used for CUST_NAME).

15. Press ENTER to add a line after the CUST_STREET line, and add CUST_CITY, followed by a comma and a space, CUST_STATE, followed by two spaces, and CUST_ZIP.

16. Place the cursor immediately before the comma in the Dear, line and insert the CUST_CONTACT field.

17. Close the Insert Merge Field dialog box (if you haven’t already), and in the Mail Merge wizard, click “Next: Preview your letters.”

At this point, you can click “Previous…” to go back to previous steps and modify the form letter, or you can click “Next: Complete the merge” to finish the mail merge process.

For more information about xfODBC, see the Synergy/DE Web site.

Synergy/DE pros, see if you can answer this question!

What is the output of the following program?
record rec
                a, a*, "Hello "
                s, string
                s = "world"

a. "Hello world"
b. "Hello" followed by the ASCII equivalent of the handle value of s
c. This does not compile
d. A runtime error

Click here for the answer and explanation.

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Synergex Holiday Reminder
Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 31st, in recognition of Memorial Day.

If you anticipate needing our assistance on this day, please email us at to make arrangements.