An explanation about Harbour, HMG and HMG-IDE
By Sri Rathinagiri » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:44 pm
Clipper programmers sometimes find it difficult to accommodate with HMG. The reason is the difference between TUI (Text User Interface) and GUI. In GUI, the program control is in the hands of the user and it is event driven. User can click on anything (say minimize button, maximize button, even another program running behind or any controls). So, it is our duty to design the whole window and wait for user’s action and write procedures for each and every action of the user.
GUI offers many innovative controls like Grid, Combobox, Button, Spinner etc., as against only textbox in TUI. So, we have to eventually accommodate events for all these controls.
Now, coming to HMG as not only a GUI library but a bundle of all. Even though HMG is directly based on the latest Harbour versions, HMG comes as a bundle. You need not install any other software to build a windows application. Full stop. 🙂 It contains the GUI library, PRG compiler, C Compiler and all the supporting software products to successfully build an application.
People (at least me) sometimes misunderstand GUI and OOP as one and the same. GUI and OOP are different and independent to each other. GUI can be made to work with or without OOP and vice versa. HMG is based on Win32 API system. Win32 API system works on handles and hooks. Every window/control in HMG is provided with a handle (like the file handle in clipper) and events are hooked on that particular handle. Once any hooked event is fired by the user (say a click of a button) immediately Win32 API searches for a CallBack function which is provided by the developer via HMG. The beauty of HMG would be, the developer is made free from handling all these internal affairs, handles, hooks and callback procedures. Instead he can concentrate on what is to be done if the event is fired.
You will be astonished to see how a ‘define window’ statement in HMG invokes 100s of lines of Harbour and C code. Please see the source folder of HMG if you want to know in detail.
Again, the advantage of HMG is, you need not include any dlls with your executable code as it is based on Win32 API. The application would run in XP to Windows version 8 (even in Windows 97 some cases).
Now coming to your questions.
1) How to get a lot of of source codes containing of samples to handle screen-menus ; from basic up to complex/advanced screen-menus?
To answer this questions, pls help us by showing links which permit us to download. And by sharing your source-code available for public.
Screenshoot attached herein, is a sample screen handle we need to implement on our application, ASAP. Being programmers for long time, we need any advanced skill in order to satisfy our users/clients currently still using our DOS-apps-versions.
You can start with Your HMG Directory\SAMPLES\Basics\TUTORIAL folder. It contains various tutorials for basic programmers. Then you can see basic and controls sub-folders of samples. I don’t think that any advanced skill set is required to satisfy our existing DOS clients. Actually ther will be happy to update their programs to Windows version as it is user friendly and more flexible.
2) How to avoid one app/EXE is double-run by users in the same computer?
This problem never arise under DOS who own a single window. I noticed when exercising HMG-ID (executing IDE.EXE) to build project, the RUN (F5) function fails to detect the problem. that’s way HMG-IDE made run-time error as if the mistake came from source program.
Yes, it is a valid point. In HMG-IDE previous version there was an error marking ‘Is the program still running?’. I don’t know what happened to that in the recent versions. I will request Claudio to look into this. Thanks for reporting.
3) Why stable version release from official Harbour-Project differ from this forum?
The project says the latest stable version is 3.0.0. while this forum says HMG 3.3.1. Any clarification in this matter is urgently needed to avoid confusion.
Because they are entirely different projects. As I have discussed earlier, HMG is based on Harbour. But it is a bundle by itself. Some major implementations have been made after the versions HMG 3.0. Introducing Unicode in 3.1. Made it to a stable version in 3.2. And the latest and significant achievement is HMG in 64 Bits, which made it to 3.3 series.
HMG Extended is also developed and released parallelly and they have their own version numbering system.
IMHO, we can use the latest stable versions for the development.
4) Pls help us describe what the differences between this 3 services you’ve been provided: Harbour Compiler, Harbour Mini GIU, Harbour-IDE. We need to know exactly when and why use them?
Harbour compiler is the core. Habour MiniGUI is the Win32 wrapper library to access the GUI aspects of the programs. HMG IDE is a tool to develop and build our software in Harbour MiniGUI.
You can use simply Harbour if you need only console mode. If you want GUI support, you can use Harbour MiniGUI and its build.bat ( even without using HMG IDE at all).
If you need Forms Designer and an easy build system, you can use HMG IDE which can co-ordinate your forms, database, resources (icons, pictures etc) and linking other third party libraries.
Courtesy of author, this article borrowed from here.
Harbour MiniGUI Integrated Development Environment is a comprehensive and highly sophisticated project management and form design tool. It is also extremely facilitated to easily use. HMG-IDE has four windows:
- Main Window (Control Panel),
- Project Browser,
- Object Inspector and
- Form Design Board.
You may use IDE for project management, for form design purpose or for both.
HMG-IDE Main Window ( Control Panel )
The main window is constituted on a menu bar and a tool box, having many command buttons with descriptive tool tips. This tool box may consider two sections: project management tools and form design tools. Form design tools are divided into a “main controls” area and a “builders” area.
The project management tools allow you all project based works with interactive manner. This includes building and running projects without complex batch processing and environment configuration tasks. Project management tools buttons are:
- Include and
You can view, select and inspect all project elements in this window. Whenever you add or exclude a project element (module (program source file), form, resource, report …), IDE automatically updates the project browser.
You can observe and modify properties and events value of graphical elements of your form in the Object Inspector window.
The form window is a chalk board for designing forms and directing its graphical elements. New or existing, when you open a form, this windows also opened by IDE. With only two clicks you can easily place controls on your form: the first on desired button of control in form design tool box and the second one is anywhere in form you like. After placed, you can resize and change its place by dragging.
In GUI programming jargon, GUI elements are called as control. HMG offers tons of controls and HMG-IDE successfully supports all of them.
At the beginning you have a form (window) and then you can easily replace any control onto this form. Simply click button of control to used, and then click any place on form to indicate placement (upper left corner) of control.
In short, you can build a complete form by only two clicks for each control. For example, suppose that we want putting an image control on our form; the button of image control is here:
First click this “image” button the toolbar of HMG-IDE, and then click anywhere in the form. This clicked point in the form, will be left upper corner of control; in this case : image.
This isn’t image itself, only a place-holder for image control.
When you placed a control in your form, IDE assign default values to its properties and events.
You can change the placement of control dragging by mouse with upper left corner ( point no: 1) of this place-holder and resize it with lower down corner ( point no: 2 ).
As first placed and whenever you select (click) any control in the form, this control come active in Object Inspector. And as following on Object Inspector, every control has many properties and events. Since IDE assigned default values to all properties and events of that control, we don’t have learning meaning of all of them, at least at the beginning.
Whenever you change these values interactively on the form, IDE also updates them internally. You can observe and modify them in the Object Inspector window. HMG forms are designed “two way” manner. Saved in a readable format; in fact they are pure HMG source codes, neither binary nor cryptic. You can separately open, inspect and also modify them. When opened by IDE, they are automatically converted to visual form.
Yes, you can edit .fmg file out of HMG, via any text editor when necessary. But please be careful, some points may be left out standards of IDE, though they have legal syntax.
IDE Toolbar :
IDE Toolbar ( indicated in above image by “Form Design Tools” ) has a button for each control. Every button has its own tool-tip; when mouse cursor keep over a button, tool-tip become visible and say name of this control.