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CodeGen 5.2.2 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on October 25, 2017 at 3:00 pm

We are delighted to announce the availability of the CodeGen version 5.2.2 release that includes the following enhancements and changes:

CodeGen Version 5.2.2 Release Notes

  • Added a new field loop expansion token <FIELD_FORMATSTRING> which can be used to access a fields format string value.
  • Added a new command-line option -utpp which instructs CodeGen to treat user-defined tokens as pre-processor tokens. This means that user-defined tokens are expanded much earlier during the initial tokenization phase, which in turn means that other expansion tokens may be embedded within the values of user-defined tokens.
  • Removed the RpsBrowser utility from the distribution; it was an experimental project that was never completed.

This version of CodeGen was built with Synergy/DE 10.3.3d and requires a minimum Synergy version of 10.1.1 in order to operate.


“D” is for Developer

By , Posted on September 20, 2017 at 6:55 am

Development of your traditional Synergy code in Microsoft’s Visual Studio was introduced at the DevPartner conference back in 2016. Using an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio not only promotes better code development practices and team development but shows prospective new hires that your tooling is the latest and greatest.

The next release of Synergy—10.3.3d—includes all the capabilities now required to fully develop and build your traditional Synergy–based applications in Visual Studio. During a recent engagement I worked with a team of developers to migrate their existing Synergy Workbench development to Visual Studio with great results. Although there are a few steps to complete, the results of developing in Visual Studio more than outweigh the effort taken to get there. And if you think developing in Synergy Workbench is great and productive, just wait until you are using Visual Studio—there will be no turning back! Here are the high-level steps you can take to get your traditional Synergy development to Visual Studio.

First place to start is the Synergy Repository. We all have (or should have) one. Synergy now provides a Repository project that will allow you to build your repository files from one or multiple schema files. If you have multiple schema files you can use the new pre-build capability to run your existing command scripts to create the single, ordered schema file or load the repository your way—simple. So why have the Repository project? Because you can load all your individual schema files into it, and if any change, your repository will be rebuilt automatically.

Next create your library projects. These are either executable (recommended) or object libraries. Ensure you reference the Repository project using “Add Reference…”. You no longer define the Repository environment variables “RPSMFIL” and “RPSTFIL”. This step ensures that if your Repository project is rebuilt, any projects referencing it will be as well. Next add the source files for the routines that make up your library, and build. You may have a few build issues to resolve—the 10.3.3d compiler is a little stricter, and unresolved references will need to be resolved. Any environment variables required to build your software should be set in the project common properties page or if they are library specific in the project environment page.

Finally, your main line programs. Create the required project with single or multiple main line programs. The multiple main line project allows you to have all the programs in one place, and you can easily specify the program to run.

Now you can build and run your traditional Synergy code from Visual studio—and even better, you can debug through the code using the powerful Visual Studio debugger.

Using UI Toolkit? Keep a look out for a future blog post showing how to easily incorporate window script file builds into your development process.

Building for UNIX? Not a problem. A future post will show the simple steps to target the UNIX platform from within Visual Studio.

We are here to help! Synergex can help with every aspect of getting your traditional Synergy development environment inside Visual Studio. Just ask your account manager or contact me directly.


CodeGen 5.2.1 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on August 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm

We are pleased to announce the release of CodeGen 5.2.1 which includes several new features that significantly extend the possibilities for what can be generated. The core goal for this release was to introduce new features that make it possible to sub-divide the processing of large loops into smaller units of code, and by doing so make it possible to achieve new things, especially when working with very large structures.

For example, the reference code that demonstrates how to implement the replication of ISAM data to a relational database (https://github.com/SteveIves/SqlReplicationIoHooks) previously had a restriction that it could only deal with files (tables) with up to 252 fields (columns). The underlying reason for this related to the maximum number of arguments that can be passed to an external routine, %SSC_BIND in this case. The restriction of 252 available data parameters to %SSC_BIND meant that bad code would be produced for any structure with more than that number of fields. Now however, using some of the new features in CodeGen 5.2.1, the template has been re-structured so that %SSC_BIND will be called multiple times if necessary, removing the previous restriction.

But that’s just one example, there are doubtless many more. Here are the release notes for the new version:

  • We added several a new generic expression token <IF COUNTER_n_op_value> that allows you to write conditional template code based on testing the current value of the two internal template counters against a simple numeric expression. Here is an example of using this new expression:
<IF CODEGEN_COUNTER_1_EQ_10>
Code to include for every 10th item
</IF>
<IF TOTAL_ITEMS_LT_50>
Code for a small number of items.
<ELSE>
Code for a larger number of items.
</IF>
<REQUIRES_CODEGEN_VERSION>5.2.1</REQUIRES_CODEGEN_VERSION>
  • We made a minor correction to the documentation of the -f l command line option. The documentation previously stated that this option caused fields marked as “Excluded by Language” to be EXCLUDED from field loop processing, but actually such fields are excluded by default. The -f l command line option actually suppresses this behavior, causing such fields to be INCLUDED in field loop processing.
  • This version of CodeGen was built with Synergy/DE 10.3.3c and requires a minimum Synergy run-time version of 10.1.1.

The latest version of CodeGen can always be downloaded here.


Developing in Visual Studio

By Steve Ives, Posted on June 30, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Most Synergy developers would love to use the very latest and greatest development tools to develop and maintain their Synergy applications, but how do you get started? At the recent DevPartner conference in Atlanta product manager Marty Lewis not only discussed the concepts of how to get started, but actually demonstrated the entire process with a real Synergy application. Check out his presentation entitled Developing Synergy Code in Visual Studio:

By the way, this video is just one of many from the 2017 DevPartner Conference.


CodeGen 5.1.9 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on May 12, 2017 at 8:45 am

I am pleased to announce that we have just released a new version of CodeGen (5.1.9) that contains some new features that were requested by customers. The changes in this release are as follows:

  • We added two new structure expansion tokens <FILE_ODBC_NAME> and <FILE_RPS_NAME> that expands to the repository ODBC table name or structure name of the first file definition that is assigned to the structure being processed.
  • We made a slight change to the way that the multiple structures command line option (-ms) is processed, allowing it to be used when only one repository structure is specified. This allows for templates that use the <STRUCTURE_LOOP> construct to be used when only one structure is being processed.
  • We also fixed an issue that was causing the <FIELD_SPEC> token to produce incorrect values for auto-sequence and auto-timestamp fields. Previously the value 8 would be inserted, now the correct value i8 is inserted.

This version of CodeGen was built with Synergy/DE 10.3.3c and requires a minimum Synergy runtime version of 10.1.1. You can download the new version directly from the CodeGen Github Repository.


Build RESTful Web APIs at the DevPartner Conference

By Steve Ives, Posted on February 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Today we published the agenda for the 2017 DevPartner Conference which will take place in Atlanta, GA the week of Monday May 8th; we hope you can join us. The main conference will be a three-day event from Tuesday May 9th through Thursday May 11th. And similar to other recent conferences we will be offering both pre- and post-conference workshops on Monday 8th and Friday 12th respectively. I will be hosting the pre-conference workshop entitled “Building RESTful Web Services with Synergy .NET and ASP.NET Web API”. My colleague Richard Morris will be presenting the post-conference seminar entitled “Building Platform-Independent Mobile Apps with Xamarin Forms”. Of course we hope you can join us for both workshops, but for the remainder of this article I will be focusing on providing information about the pre-conference RESTful web services workshop.

Building and implementing web service APIs isn’t exactly new, but there are definitely some new and exciting technologies in play that can make building, deploying and interacting with web services faster, easier and more powerful than ever. With the relentless increase in demand for mobile applications and solutions the requirement to expose web service APIs is greater than ever. Not that web service API’s are only used to support mobile applications, that is certainly is not the case. In fact almost any new application developed today is likely to either require the use of a web service API, or it will just make sense to architect the application that way for increased flexibility and future-proofing.

I’m developing the content for my workshop right now and I wanted to give you some information about the audience that I am targeting, which is very broad. To be honest, unless you are already implementing RESTful web service APIs then this workshop is for you! And even if you ARE already implementing RESTful web services APIs, but with some technology other than ASP.NET Web API, then this workshop is also for you! In my opinion it is really important that every developer have at least a good understanding of what a RESTful web service APIs are and how they can be used, and it sure doesn’t hurt to know how to build them either! This workshop will teach you all of those things, and more.

We will start with the basics and will not assume any previous knowledge of web services. After an introductory presentation there will be lots of code, so you will need to be comfortable with that. I don’t want to just show you how to build a RESTful web service API, I want you to really understand what it is and how it works. So as well as covering ASP.NET Web API we will also be talking about the basic principles of REST, as well as various underlying technologies like HTTP, JSON and XML. If it all works out as planned it should be an action packed and interesting day.

This year both of the full-day workshops will be lecture and demonstration based; there won’t be any hands-on component. Unfortunately the hardware and software requirements of the underlying technologies that we will be using, particularly in the post-conference workshop, make it virtually impossible for us to offer a hands-on experience this time around. But rest assured that you will have access to all of the code that is developed and demonstrated, and we’ll make sure that you know exactly what hardware and software you will need if you want to work with that code, or perform your own similar development projects.

Time is ticking away and DevPartner 2017 is only about 10 weeks away. We’re all looking forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time, and if you haven’t done so already then it’s time to register. See you there!


CodeGen 5.1.7 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on February 7, 2017 at 10:25 am

We are pleased to announce that Professional Services has just released CodeGen 5.1.7. The main feature of the release is the addition of experimental support for generating code for the MySQL and PostgreSQL relational databases. Developers can use a new command line option -database to specify their database of choice. This causes the SQL-compatible data types that are injected by the field loop expansion token <FIELD_SQLTYPE> to be customized based on the chosen database. The default database continues to be Microsoft SQL Server.

Before we consider support for these new databases to be final we would appreciate any feedback from developers working with MySQL or PostgreSQL to confirm whether we have chosen appropriate data type mappings. Additional information can be found in the CodeGen documentation.

 


CodeGen 5.1.6 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on November 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I am pleased to announce that we have just released a new version of CodeGen with the following enhancements:

  • We modified the way that key loops are processed so that if a repository structure has a mixture of access keys and foreign keys defined, the foreign keys are ignored when processing key loops.
  • We added a new key loop expression <IF FIRST_SEG_NOCASE>.
  • We added four new field loop expressions <IF AUTO_SEQUENCE>, <IF AUTO_TIMESTAMP>, <IF AUTO_TIMESTAMP_CREATED> and <IF AUTO_TIMESTAMP_UPDATED> which can be used to determine if fields are defined as auto sequence or auto time-stamp fields.
  • We added two new key loop expressions <IF AUTO_TIMESTAMP_CREATED> and <IF AUTO_TIMESTAMP_UPDATED>.
  • We added two new key segment loop expressions <IF SEG_AUTO_TIMESTAMP_CREATED> and <IF SEG_AUTO_TIMESTAMP_UPDATED>.
  • We changed the behavior of the field loop expansion token <FIELD_TYPE_NAME> when used in conjunction with auto-sequence and auto-time-stamp fields.

This version of CodeGen is built with Synergy/DE 10.3.3a, requires a minimum Synergy runtime version of 10.1.1, and can be downloaded from here.


Wheel, Scroll, Oops.

By , Posted on October 14, 2016 at 6:45 am

If you answer “yes” to the following questions, then please read on: Do you have a Synergy UI Toolkit application? Do you use standard (not ActiveX) list processing with a load method? Do you run your software on Microsoft Windows 10?

Windows 10 offers a new feature that allows you to mouse over a list and use the mouse wheel to scroll the list, without the list actually getting focus. It’s a great feature, but if you have a standard list displayed in your UI Toolkit application which uses a load method – then that mouse-over scroll operation will attempt to “process” the list and cause the list load method to execute. Does not sound too bad – but if you have method data being passed through from the l_select() or l_input() routines then this data will not be passed to your load method, because you are not actually in l_select() or l_input(). Also, because the list has not gained focus you have potentially not been through your “my list is gaining focus so set up the load parameters” logic, which again means when your load method executes it’s in an unknown state.

When your load method executes in this “unknown” state and you try to access method data or your uninitialized load data then a segmentation fault may occur. The user uses the Wheel, the list attempts to Scroll and Oops your application crashes.

Thankfully, the Synergex team have found the issue and resolved it – and the fix will be in the upcoming 10.3.3b patch. If you are experiencing this issue today and need a resolution now, you can contact support who can provide you with a hotfix.


CodeGen 5.1.4 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on July 29, 2016 at 10:42 am

We are pleased to announce that we have just released CodeGen V5.1.4. The main change in this version is an alteration to the way that CodeGen maps Synergy time fields, i.e. TM4 (HHMM) and TM6 (HHMMSS) fields, to corresponding SQL data types via the <FIELD_SQLTYPE> field loop expansion token. Previously these fields would be mapped to DECIMAL(4) and DECIMAL(6) fields, resulting in time fields being exposed as simple integer values in an underlying database. With this change it is now possible to correctly export time data to relational databases.

We also made a small change to the CodeGen installation so that the changes that it makes to the system PATH environment variable occur immediately after the installation completes, meaning that it is no longer necessary to reboot the system after installing CodeGen on a system for the first time.

This version of CodeGen is built with Synergy/DE 10.3.3a and requires a minimum Synergy runtime version of 10.1.1.


Replicating Data to SQL Server – Made Easy

By Steve Ives, Posted on July 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

For some time now we have published various examples of how to replicate ISAM data to a relational database such as SQL Server in near to real time. Until now however, all of these examples have required that the ISAM files that were to be replicated needed be modified by the addition of a new “replication key” field and the addition of a corresponding key in the file. Generally this new field and key would be populated with a timestamp value that was unique to each record in the file. While this technique guarantees that every ISAM file can be replicated, it also made it hard work to do so because the record layout and key configuration of each ISAM file needed to be changed.

However, almost all ISAM files already have at least one unique key, and when that is the case one of those existing those keys could be used to achieve replication without requiring changes to the original record layouts or files. When this technique is combined with the capabilities of I/O hooks it is now possible to achieve data replication with only minimal effort, often with no changes to the ISAM files being replicated, and with only minimal modification of the original application code.

I am pleased to announce that I have just published a new example of doing exactly that. You can find the example code on GitHub at https://github.com/SteveIves/SqlReplicationIoHooks. Of course if you are interested in implementing data replication to a relational database but need some assistance in doing so, then we’re here to help; just contact your Synergex account manager for further information.


Merging Data and Forms with the PSG PDF API

By Steve Ives, Posted on July 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm

When I introduced the PSG PDF API during the recent DevPartner Conference in Washington DC I received several questions about whether it was possible to define the layout of something like a standard form using one PDF file, and then simply merge in data in order to create another PDF file. I also received some suggestions about how this might be done, and I am pleased to report that one of those suggestions panned out into a workable solution, at least on the Windows platform.

The solution involves the use of a third-party product named PDFtk Pro. The bad news is that this one isn’t open source and neither is it free. But the good news is it only costs US$ 3.99, which I figured wouldn’t be a problem if you need the functionality that it provides.

Once you have PDFtk Pro installed and in your PATH you can then call the new SetBackgroundFile method on your PdfFile object, specifying the name of the existing PDF file to use as the page background for the pages in the PDF file that you are currently creating. All that actually happens is when you subsequently save your PDF file, by calling one of the Print, Preview or Save methods, the code executes a PDFtk Pro command that merges your PDF file with the background file that you specified earlier. Here’s an example of what the code looks like:

;;Create an instance of the PdfFile class
pdf = new PdfFile()

;;Name the other PDF file that defines page background content
if (!pdf.SetBackgroundFile(“FORMS:DeliveryTicketForm.pdf”,errorMessage)
    throw new Exception(errorMessage)

;;Other code to define the content of the PDF file

 

;;Show the results
pdf.Preview()

There are several possible benefits of using this approach, not least of which is the potential for a significant reduction in processing overhead when creating complex forms. Another tangible benefit will be the ability to create background forms and other documents using any Windows application that can create print output; Microsoft Word or Excel for example. Remember that in Windows 10 Microsoft has included the “Print to PDF” option, so now any Windows application that can create print output can be used to create PDF background documents.

I have re-worked the existing Delivery Ticket example that is distributed with the PDF API so that it first creates a “form” in one PDF file, then creates a second PDF file containing an actual delivery ticket with data, using the form created earlier as a page background.

I have just checked the code changes into the GitHub repository so this new feature is available for use right away, and I am looking forward to receiving any feedback that you may have. I will of course continue to research possible ways of doing this on the other platforms (Unix, Linux and OpenVMS) but for now at least we have a solution for the Windows platform that most of us are using.


CodeGen 5.1.3 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on June 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Tomorrow morning I’m heading back home to California having spent the last two weeks in the United Kingdom. The second week was totally chill time; I spent time with family and caught up with some old friends. But the first week was all about work; I spent a few days working with Richard Morris (it’s been WAY too long since that happened) and I can tell you that we worked on some pretty cool stuff. I’m not going to tell you what that is right now, but It’s something that many of you may be able to leverage in the not too distant future, and you’ll be able to read all about it in the coming weeks. For now I wanted to let you know that we found that we needed to add some new features to CodeGen to achieve what we were trying to do, so I am happy to announce that CodeGen 5.1.3 is now available for download.


PSG PDF API Moves to GitHub

By Steve Ives, Posted on May 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

This is just a brief update on the current status of the PDF API that I have mentioned previously on this forum. During the recent DevPartner Conference in Washington DC I received some really great feedback from several developers already using the API, and some very positive reactions from several others who hope to start working with it in the near future.

During my conference presentation about the API I mentioned that I was considering making the code a little easier to access by moving it out of the Code Exchange and on to GitHub. Well it turns out that was a popular idea too, so I am pleased to announce that I have done just that; you can now obtain the code from its new home at https://github.com/Synergex/SynPSG_PDF. And if any of you DBL developers out there want to get involved in improving and extending the API, we will be happy to consider any pull requests that you send to us.


Synergex Celebrates 40th Anniversary

By William Mooney, Posted on April 15, 2016 at 10:45 am

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We are excited and grateful to celebrate Synergex’s 40th year in business.

We started by delivering applications to local businesses in the Sacramento area 40 years ago today. Shortly after opening our doors, founders Ken Lidster and Mike Morrissey got frustrated with having to rewrite perfectly good applications to take advantage of the latest DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) hardware and/or operating systems each time DEC came out with a new kit. This inspired them to create DBL (Data Business Language), which could take any version of DEC’s DIBOL language and simply recompile and relink to run on any DEC platform. This dramatically changed our—and ultimately our customers’—direction and put us on the map, as they say.

DBL was the first portable development language within DEC. In the ‘80s, Synergex (then named DISC) also became the first company to make it possible to migrate applications from a proprietary environment to the then emerging Unix/Xenix and MS-DOS systems. In the ‘90s, we enabled migration to Windows; at the turn of the century, to the web, APIs, and RDBMSs (SQL Server, Oracle, ODBC access, etc.); and in the teens, to .NET. Today we provide a migration path to mobile devices.

Forty years ago, very few of us, if any, could have imagined how today’s computing environment would look. Fewer still could have imagined that the applications they were developing would be able to run on all of these emerging platforms—but they can! Last week, I saw a DBL source code file dated 1976 run in .NET and on an Apple iPhone. Again, who could have imagined?!

Since our early shift to providing software development tools to application developers, our commitment to “portability” has never wavered. We have remained steadfast in our mission to deliver software tools and services to help our customers take advantage of current and relevant computing. Our products have been the ultimate “future proofing” to the significant investment customers have made in enterprise solutions.

And while many companies that were well known back in the day are no longer on the scene, we continue to grow and thrive more than ever—thanks in large part to our customers. Many of our ISV customers are the leaders in their respective vertical markets and continue to maintain their top positions and expand their install base. Some of our direct end users are household names with north of $100 billion in annual sales, who leverage  our tools to help them prosper. Without their support and partnership, I wouldn’t be writing this. So here’s a big shout out to all of our customers, with the biggest thanks there is.

Lastly, a company doesn’t grow and thrive without the dedication and hard work of its employees—both past and current. We have been—and continue to be—blessed to have very talented and driven people contribute to our success these past 40 years. Several, like myself, have been here for the lion’s share of our existence. But we also have many new employees who represent the future—and the next 40+ years of Synergex. Just as 40 years ago we couldn’t imagine what our industry would look like today, it’s impossible to envision what it will be like 40 years from now. Regardless, I feel very confident that Synergex will be here for our customers and their future generations, supporting whatever future computing environments come along.


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