PortableAppsToStartMenu 1.0.0

 Delphi  Comments Off on PortableAppsToStartMenu 1.0.0
Nov 012020

Tired of all those programs which install lots of additional stuff I have been using more and more so called “Portable Apps”. “Portable” in this context means: You can put them anywhere, even on a portable storage device and start them from there. These Programs are still Windows only. And of course nobody prevents you from putting them in a folder on the system harddisk, usually c:\PortableApps. All files these programs need are inside this one folder, so in order to move or copy them, you simply move/copy that folder.

There is a dedicated launcher and updater for these types of programs at portableapps.com, which is written in Delphi btw. and the source code is available.

One thing that has irked me all the time is that these programs don’t show up in the Windows start menu, unless I add them manually, which I usually don’t. Today I had enough and wrote PortableAppsToStartMenu, a tool which given a PortableApps directory collects all the executables stored there and creates shortcuts in the Windows Start Menu for them. They will be visible in the PortableApps folder there. Apparently there was no such tool so far.

This is what the program looks like:

Some feature highlights:

  • You can drag the PortableApps directory on the entry field to set it.
  • The entry field has autocompletion for directories.
  • There are options to
    • Hide the Portable Apps Platform tools
    • Hide apps hidden in the launcher
    • Hide the “Portable” part of the executable name
  • It’s also possible to select the apps manually, but that’s rather cumbersome.

And these are the entries it has added to my start menu:

The entries are also available through the Start Menu’s usual search/filter functionality:

The program itself is of course a portable app, but not available from portableapps.com but only from OSDN. The program is written in in Delphi 10.2 and the source code is also available there.

If you want to discuss this article, go to the related post in the international DelphiPraxis forum.

 Posted by on 2020-11-01 at 18:49

GExperts 1.3.17 experimental twm 2020-10-23 released

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on GExperts 1.3.17 experimental twm 2020-10-23 released
Oct 232020

Guess what? The new GExperts release is here.

There are lots of bug fixes and a few new features in the new version.

The major new feature is the Filter Exceptions expert. Please be warned that there was a bug when developing for non-Windows targets. It might have been fixed, but I can’t test it and nobody else bothered to volunteer to test it. So there you go: Now you will be a tester, if you like it or not. If you encounter this problem, please file a bug report!

There is also a small improvement in PE Information tool (I won’t call it an expert any more because it’s now a stand alone executable that GExperts only calls.)

Also, the installer is now based on InnoSetup 5.6.1 which was the last version compatible with Windows XP. So, installing GExperts on Windows XP (VMs) should work again.

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

Please note that GExperts for Delphi 10.4 requires Update 1!

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

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

 Posted by on 2020-10-23 at 18:07

Bug and possible fix for GExperts Filter Exceptions expert – testers needed

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on Bug and possible fix for GExperts Filter Exceptions expert – testers needed
Sep 272020

Mahdi Safsafi has proposed a fix for the bug in the GExperts Filter Exceptions expert, which occurs when developing for non Windows targets (first reported on Embarcadero’s quality portal ). I have implemented this fix and it doesn’t have any adverse effects on for Windows targets. But neither he nor I can test it for non Windows targets since we don’t develop for these. That means we need testers. If you want to help, please post a comment on the bug report on SourceForge.

 Posted by on 2020-09-27 at 13:27

Source code for Andreas Hausladen’s DfmCheck available

 Delphi  Comments Off on Source code for Andreas Hausladen’s DfmCheck available
Sep 092020

Andreas Hausladen – most probably know him because he wrote the very popular Delphi IDE Fixpackhas just announced (in German) that he published the source code of one of his other useful tools: DFMCheck. It’s in his GitHub repository.

Now I have just to figure out how to actually use it. 😉

 Posted by on 2020-09-09 at 09:21

GExperts for Delphi 10.4.1

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on GExperts for Delphi 10.4.1
Sep 052020

I have received a few reports about bugs in GExperts in Delphi 10.4.1 that do not occur in Delphi 10.4. Here is a GExperts DLL that was compiled with Delphi 10.4.1. Maybe it will solve some of theses problems.

Simply extract the DLL and put it into the GExperts installation directory, replacing the original one.

Let me know on Delphi Praxis whether this fixes the problems.

 Posted by on 2020-09-05 at 11:36

Delphi’s TZipFile working on a stream

 Delphi  Comments Off on Delphi’s TZipFile working on a stream
Aug 202020

Recent versions of Delphi (for a suitable definition of “recent”) come with a TZipFile class implemented in the unit System.Zip. This class has the really neat feature that it can not only read the contents of a ZIP file directly from a stream but also extract a file from that stream to a TBytes array, thus it does not require any file system access.

E.g. imagine you have got a memory stream containing the contents of a ZIP archive (e.g. you got a zipped XML description from a GenICam compatible camera using the GCReadPort (PDF) function.). You now want to read a file from this stream and immediately process that file’s content without first writing it to the file system. This can be done like this:

  ms: TMemoryStream;
  ZIP TZipFile;
  Data: TBytes;
  // [...]
  // Some code here retrieves the ZIP archive's content and stores it in ms
  Zip := TZipFile.Create;
    ms.Position := 0;
    Zip.Open(ms, zmRead);
    if Zip.FileCount > 0 then begin
      Zip.Read(0, Data);
  // now we have the file's content in Data and can process it.

One very important step here is to set the stream’s position to 0 before passing it to TZipFile.Open. If you forget that (guess who did) you will likely get an EZipException in TZipFile.Read with the error message ‘Invalid Zip Local Header signature’. The reason for this is that TZipFile.Open assumes that the current stream position is the first byte of the first file stored in the ZIP archive:

procedure TZipFile.Open(ZipFileStream: TStream; OpenMode: TZipMode);
  // [...]
  FStream := ZipFileStream;
  FStartFileData := FStream.Position;
  // [...]

If it isn’t, it will try to read the files starting from that position and will fail with the exception mentioned above.

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

 Posted by on 2020-08-20 at 18:08

Filtering and sorting for the GExperts PE Information Exports list

 Delphi, GExperts  Comments Off on Filtering and sorting for the GExperts PE Information Exports list
Aug 092020

The GExperts PE Information tool just got a small improvement:

The Exports list can now be sorted by clicking on the column header and filtered on the export name by simply typing text.

The Escape key resets the filter.

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

 Posted by on 2020-08-09 at 14:44

External Exception $406D1388 in Delphi

 Delphi  Comments Off on External Exception $406D1388 in Delphi
Aug 012020

Reminder to self: Exception $406D1388 is the exception used to set a name for a thread, like in:

procedure SetThreadName(const _Name: AnsiString);
  ThreadNameInfo: TThreadNameInfo;
  ThreadNameInfo.FType := $1000;
  ThreadNameInfo.FName := PAnsiChar(_Name);
  ThreadNameInfo.FThreadID := $FFFFFFFF;
  ThreadNameInfo.FFlags := 0;
    RaiseException($406D1388, 0, SizeOf(ThreadNameInfo) div SizeOf(LongWord), Pointer(@ThreadNameInfo));
    // ignore

If you encounter this in a debugging session, simply add it to the OS Exceptions and set “Handled by” to “User program” and “On Resume” to “Run handled” (The program should handle it, it’s a bug if not. But we don’t want to see it at all.)

 Posted by on 2020-08-01 at 19:30

IntToHex for UInt64 in Delphi

 Delphi  Comments Off on IntToHex for UInt64 in Delphi
Jul 292020

Just in case I ever need this again:

function IntToHex(_Value: UInt64): string; overload;
  Buf: PUInt32;
  Buf := PUInt32(UInt32(@_Value) + 8);
  Result := IntToHex(Buf^, 8);
  Buf := PUInt32(@_Value);
  Result := Result + IntToHex(Buf^, 8);

(Delphi 2007 does not have IntToHex for UInt64.)

Note: This works only for 32 bit compilers. For 64 bit, you must replace UInt32 with NativeUInt (or UInt64) in the first line (untested). Since unfortunately the NativeUInt declaration in Delphi 2007 is wrong, I cannot simply use NativeUInt here and be done with it.

Note: This works only on little endian systems (Intel):

"The little-endian system has the property that the same value can be read from memory at different lengths without using different addresses (even when alignment restrictions are imposed). For example, a 32-bit memory location with content 4A 00 00 00 can be read at the same address as either 8-bit (value = 4A), 16-bit (004A), 24-bit (00004A), or 32-bit (0000004A), all of which retain the same numeric value. Although this little-endian property is rarely used directly by high-level programmers, it is often employed by code optimizers as well as by assembly language programmers."

Source: Wikipedia – Endianness

 Posted by on 2020-07-29 at 14:38

Compiling TeeChart 2020 for Delphi 2007

 Delphi  Comments Off on Compiling TeeChart 2020 for Delphi 2007
Jul 172020

We recently bought TeeChart 2020.30 VCL/FMX with full source code (of course) and I now tried to install it.

Steema provides a “TeeChart Source Code Recompilation Tool” (TeeRecompile.exe) that supposedly does this for you. This is fine if it works, it’s a pain in the lower back if it doesn’t. It worked fine for Delphi XE2 and 10.x but it failed for Delphi 2007 with the error “[DCC Error] DclTeePro911.dpk(39): E2202 Required package ‘IndyProtocols’ not found“.

There the pain began:

I had removed the ancient Indy10 version that was shipped with Delphi 2007 from my installation and deleted all the files. Instead I have downloaded the latest sources (OK, not the latest, the dowload was on 2020-03-20), but never bothered to compile the packages since we don’t use packages, not even the runtime packages.

So I looked for the Delphi 2007 package projects. There are 3 of them:
IndySystem110.dpk, IndyCore110.dpk and IndyProtocols110.dpk (I didn’t bother with the designtime packages.). There is also a batch file Fulld_2007.bat which supposedly builds them for you. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. There were multiple “The system cannot find the file specified.” errors. Of course it didn’t tell me which files were missing, so I added “Echo on” to the batch file to find out. It turned out to be the *110.bpl and *110.dcp files it could not find when it tried to copy them to the D11 subdirectory. Since it tries to copy them from the current directory which happened to be the Indy10\lib directory, that’s small wonder: By default bpl and dcp files are created in the Package and DCP output directories which are configured in the IDE (Tools -> Options -> Environment Options -> Delphi Options -> -> Library – Win32). These default to $(BDSCOMMONDIR)\Bpl and $(BDSCOMMONDIR)\dcp respectively. And since the developers didn’t specify a custom output directory for these projects that’s where the files went.

OK, rather than bothering with the batch file, I loaded the three package projects into the IDE, set a dcu output directory so the source doesn’t get cluttered with the dcus, and built them. That worked fine, problem solved… No, unfortunately not. When I tried the TeeChart compilation tool again, it still complained about the IndyProtocols package.

The reason is simple: The Indy Delphi 2007 package projects have a hard coded 110 suffix e.g. IndyProtocols110.dpk. The standard would have leave out that suffix e.g. IndyProtocols.dpk and configure a libsuffix (Project -> Options -> Description). This then creates IndyProtocols.dcp and IndyProtocols110.bpl. TeeChart is looking for IndyProtocols.dcp and can’t find it.

Easy to fix: Load the DclTeePro911.dpk package into the IDE, remove the requires entry for IndyProtocols and add IndyProtocols110 instead. After this change the package comiled fine in the IDE, problem solved… No, still not. The Teechart compilation tool still complained, now it didn’t find the IndyProtocols110 package. WTF? I just created it and I checked that it is where it is supposed to be: In the default DCP output directory.

Fortunately the tool also allows to output verbose messages which also writes the dcc32 calls into the log:

"c:\delphi\2007\bin\dcc32.exe"  -$D- -$L- -$W- -$O+ -$C- -$Y- -$C- -$R- -$Q-  -W+ -H  -$A8  --no-config -u"c:\delphi\2007\Lib" -u"c:\delphi\2007\Lib\Indy10" -LN"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\..\Compiled\Delphi11\Lib" -E"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\..\Compiled\Delphi11\bin" -N0"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\..\Compiled\Delphi11\Lib" -U"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\..\Compiled\Delphi11\Lib";"c:\delphi\2007\Lib";"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source" -I"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source" -R"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source" -O"c:\delphi\2007\Lib" -M  "D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\TeeImport911.dpk" -LE"D:\Source\TeeChartPro_2020.30\Source\..\Compiled\Delphi11\System"

After stupidly looking at this monster for several minutes I noticed the -u”c:\delphi\2007\Lib\Indy10″ option. Could it be that it looks for the Indy packages in that directory only? (My Delphi 2007 is installed to “c:\delphi\2007” rather than c:\program files\codegear\[whatever].)

So I copied the Indy dcp files from $(BDSCOMMONDIR)\dcp to this directory and tried again. Diesmal funktioniert alles! (This time everything works.)

Did I mention that I hate “helpful compilation tools” ? I guess I can’t really blame Steema for this (hardcoding the dcp search path is kind of – ahem – not quite a good idea though). But those indy guys seem to be kind of sloppy. You don’t really hard code the package suffixes into the project file names! That was only necessary until Delphi 5.

But hey, they are volunteers and Indy is free, so I guess you get what you pay for. 😉

On the other hand: Guess who has hard coded project suffixes too? TeeChart does: 911 for Delphi 2007 which means TeeChart version 9 for Delphi 11. That’s not even the standard suffix which would have been 110.

Standards are great! Everyone should have one of his own!
— attributed to Bob Metcalfe, Co-inventor of Ethernet

 Posted by on 2020-07-17 at 18:07