Fixing wrong position and size of the Delphi 10.4 IDE window

 Delphi  Comments Off on Fixing wrong position and size of the Delphi 10.4 IDE window
Jun 062020

Apparently the bug that causes the Delphi IDE to not store its position correctly when placed in full screen on a secondary monitor to the left of the primary monitor (which is my setup at home and at work) still hasn’t been fixed in Delphi 10.4. Luckily the work around of editing the desktop settings still works.

For Delphi 10.4 these files are stored in

 Posted by on 2020-06-06 at 19:20

dzBdsLauncher 1.0.5 released with major improvements

 Delphi, dzBdsLauncher  Comments Off on dzBdsLauncher 1.0.5 released with major improvements
Jun 012020

I revisited my dzBdsLauncher tool again – no idea why, it just occurred to me ūüėČ – and added quite a few improvements:

  • It now supports .dof (Delphi 6 and 7) and .bdsproj (Delphi 2005 and 2006) files.
  • In addition to the previous checks it now also looks at the disabled packages list to determine which Delphi version to start. That’s the only option for Delphi 2005 and 2006 because these files are nearly identical.
  • It can now also handle .dpr files by looking for corresponding .dproj, .bdsproj and .dof files (in that order) and taking these to determine the correct Delphi version.

As a side effect I found a problem with the Delphi 10.1 version of the GExperts .dproj file. It had a wrong ProjectVersion entry.

 Posted by on 2020-06-01 at 17:36

GExperts 1.3.16 experimental twm 2020-05-27 released

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on GExperts 1.3.16 experimental twm 2020-05-27 released
May 272020

There they are, the promised GExperts 1.3.16 installers for older Delphi versions.

This time I didn’t blog much about the work I did on GExperts. I spent a lot of time actually working on it instead. There are lots of bug fixes and a few new features in the new version.

I hope this time the installers won’t be wrongly detected as malware by virus scanners. Sorry about that.

The new version is available for download on the GExperts download page.

 Posted by on 2020-05-27 at 21:14

GExperts 1.3.16 for Delphi 10.4

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on GExperts 1.3.16 for Delphi 10.4
May 272020

Today I downloaded and installed the latest and greatest Delphi 10.4. The first thing to do, was of course compile GExperts for it.

Thanks to Achim Kalwa I already had a working project and he also made all other changes necessary to make it compile. So basically I loaded the project and pressed Compile.

A few tests have shown no problems, but I am sure there will be some. On the other hand I don’t want to be the one to find them all. That’s what users are for, aren’t they? ūüėČ

OK, so if you are brave, you can download an installer for GExperts 1.3.16 for Delphi 10.4. Please file any bug reports and feature requests as tickets on SourceForge.

For those still using older Delphi versions, there will also be a GExperts 1.3.16 release shortly. Watch this space.

 Posted by on 2020-05-27 at 20:35

When computers try to be clever

 Delphi, dzLib  Comments Off on When computers try to be clever
May 072020

Don’t you just hate it when computers try to be clever but get it wrong? OK, it’s not really the computer itself but the programmer who tried to be clever. The problem usually is that he overlooked a corner case that you then hit where his sophisticated strategy fails and leaves you with something – lets say less desirable.

Today I wasted several hours trying to find out what was wrong with my hack to create a TSpeedButton which can take the input focus (which standard TSpeedButtons can’t), by using a TBitBtn instead. I blogged about this before.

There was a certain button width which caused the button to display only a square part of the caption. At closer inspection it turned out to not be a fixed width but kind of a width to height ratio that caused the problem. Here are several buttons with different widths and heights that show this behaviour:

Buttons with a width to height ratio of (w-1) : (h-1) = 4 : 1 looked like the screenshot above, e.g. 97×25, 101×26, 105×27, 93×24 or 89×23. Other sizes were fine.

The code I use in this hack is very simple: I generate two bitmaps, one for the Up state of the button, the other for the Down state and assign them to the TBitBtn’s Glyph property.

procedure TdzSpeedBitBtn.UpdateGlyph;
  if FBtn.Tag <> 0 then
    FBtn.Glyph := FDownBmp
    FBtn.Glyph := FUpBmp;

That bitmap is always one pixel smaller than the button itself, so the problem occurred with bitmaps of 96×24, 100×25, 104×26, 92×23 and 88×22 pixels respectively.

So I tried to reproduce that behaviour with a simple TBitBtn with default settings by assigning a bitmap with 96×24 pixels. It looked like this …

… even at design time. Closer inspection showed that the NumGlyps property also had a different value than expected: 4. Setting it to 1 made the button display the whole bitmap again:

So there seemed to be some code behind assigning a bitmap to the glyph that tried to guess how many images there actually are stored in the bitmap. If the width to height ratio is 4, it assumes that there are 4 images in the bitmap.

With that knowledge I looked into the documentation of TBitBtn.Glyph and guess what: It’s documented behaviour, kind of:

You can provide up to four images within a single bitmap. All images must be the same size and next to each other in a row. Bit buttons display one of these images depending on their state.
If you have multiple images in a bitmap, you must specify the number of images that are in the bitmap with the NumGlyphs property

I actually knew that but since I rarely use TBitBtn controls I hadn’t thought of it. It doesn’t say that the code tries to be clever and guess how many images there are though.

Tests showed that the code calculates the width to height ratio and for ratios of 2, 3 or 4 assumes that to be the number of images and sets NumGlyphs accordingly. And of course it’s easy to find once you know what you’re looking for:

procedure TButtonGlyph.SetGlyph(Value: TBitmap);
  Glyphs: Integer;
  if (Value <> nil) and (Value.Height > 0) then
    FTransparentColor := Value.TransparentColor;
    if Value.Width mod Value.Height = 0 then
      Glyphs := Value.Width div Value.Height;
      if Glyphs > 4 then Glyphs := 1;

(from unit Vcl.Buttons)

Why did it take me several hours to find some simple problem like this, you ask? (I asked myself that question too.) Of course this didn’t happen in a simple test program like the one in the screen shot. It happened in a dialog in GExperts. GExperts is a plugin for the Delphi IDE and as such must be built with runtime packages. And if you do that, you can’t compile with debug dcus and simply step into the RTL/VCL code in the debugger, all you can see is some assembler code. So I first tried to find the problem in my code. Did I maybe overlook a corner case? Then I tried to reproduce the problem with a test program but couldn’t, because the width to height ratio of my test buttons wasn’t the one which caused the problem. I puzzled quite a while over this, looked into the DFM files to find anything suspicious, but there was nothing. Only after I copied the buttons from the GExperts form to the form of the test program I could reproduce it.

Once I knew the cause, the fix was easy: After assigning the Glyph change NumGlyphs back to 1.

procedure TdzSpeedBitBtn.UpdateGlyph;
  if FBtn.Tag <> 0 then
    FBtn.Glyph := FDownBmp
    FBtn.Glyph := FUpBmp;
  FBtn.NumGlyphs := 1;

This is the way it should have looked all along:

The fix is now in my dzlib repository on OSDN.

To be fair: The programmer meant this as a convenience function and it probably works most of the time. But if it doesn’t it becomes a pain in the lower back to debug.

If you want to discuss this article, you can do so in the corresponding post in the international Delphi Praxis forum.

 Posted by on 2020-05-07 at 17:28

More features for the IFDEF expert in GExperts

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on More features for the IFDEF expert in GExperts
Apr 262020

The IFDEF editor expert was added to GExperts in 2016 and improved again in the same year, to support symbols defined in include files.

Unfortunately sometimes an include file itself sometimes includes other files (e.g. jclNN.inc in the JEDI Code Library includes jedi.inc) which will usually add additional symbols which are then available for conditional compilation. But the IFDEF expert only listed symbols from the original include file.

This has irked me for a long time, so today I changed this: Every include file that is included via an include file (and recursively via these include files) is now listed in the IFDEF expert:

In this example dzlib.inc itself includes dzlibjedi.inc which is simply a copy of jedi.inc. (I don’t want to include jedi.inc directly in order to not have a stale file laying around which might break compilation of other libraries.) The expert lists this file as if it had been included in the unit source code in addition to dzlib.inc.

And, since I seem to have forgotten to blog about it: The expert also searches for available include files in the search path and allows you to add them:

Just select the file from the menu and select the symbol you want to use. The required include directive will automatically be added to the interface section of the current unit.

If you want to discuss this blog post, go to the corresponding post in the international Delphi Praxis forum.

 Posted by on 2020-04-26 at 13:20

Automatically make your PC wake up at a given time

 Windows, Windows 10  Comments Off on Automatically make your PC wake up at a given time
Mar 282020

Due the the COVID19 pandemic I am currently working from home, using Putty + ssh + Remote Desktop to log into and work on my office PC. For this to work, the office PC must be turned on and booted. So far I have let it running 24h which is really a waste of energy but since sometimes nobody is in the office at all, that was the most fool proof way.

Today I have had some time at my hands waiting for an Ubuntu server to finish installing, so I thought about alternatives.

  • One would have been Wake on LAN (WOL), if the BIOS of my computer supported it, but unfortunately it doesn’t (see edit below).
  • Waking up using the RTC (real time clock) is actually an option in the BIOS, but that would have woken it up every day rather than just on weekdays.

Finally I stumbled upon an article on How-To Geek about “How to Make Your PC Wake From Sleep Automatically“.

The Windows Scheduler has an option to wake up the computer to run a task. Note that it works only if the computer wasn’t turned off but rather sent into hibernation. So I set up a task that runs “cmd.exe” with the parameter “/c exit” weekly on Monday to Friday at 7:30. Of course I tested it first with a on time schedule and it worked fine.

So now I have sent my office PC into hibernation. We’ll see whether it is available on Monday when I want to log into it.

It turns out that my office PC supports WOL even though it’s not visible in the BIOS. But the network card properties under Windows have a setting for it:

So when I read the hint from Vandrovnik on the international Delphi Praxis forum, I ssh’d into the company intranet and was able to simply wake up my office PC using the wakeonlan tool installed on the remote logon computer:

wakeonlan [hardware address]

Great, this is much more flexible than I thought.

 Posted by on 2020-03-28 at 13:36