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Open PDF from List Control

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    Open PDF from List Control

    Hi All,

    I'm trying to open a PDF from a list control by clicking on a button within the list. One of the list fields named 'DigitalLocation' contains the path to the PDF.
    The button contains an action javascript with the "'Open an .a5w page, static HTML page, URL, or PDF document, in a pop-up windows or DIV" action.

    If I hardcode a path to a PDF file it works as expected. However, if I try to assign the a field placeholder for the 'DigitalLocation' field, it won't work. I've tried adding the following to the PDF filename property of the action javascript...
    1. {listElement:DigitalLocation}
    2. {listElementContainer:DigitalLocation}
    3. {list::lstDocuments::DigitalLocation}

    for first and second just return a blank screen, the third complains of a bad address.

    As always, any assistance would be appreciated.

    Re: Open PDF from List Control


    Yes, I ran into the same problem trying to open files from a List component. I did find a workaround which is the only method I could get to work.
    Have a look at the thread here ...

    Hope it helps,
    Last edited by iRadiate; 06-22-2016, 04:56 PM. Reason: typo
    Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 9192-5707 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V


      Re: Open PDF from List Control

      This is how I do it. Not sure if it is easier.

      I have the return value of the list set to 'field' using the pdf filename field.

      I have created a hyperlink with the 'Add Item' that uses a field from the list for the hyperlink text.

      in the onClick of the hyperlink I have action javascript to open a pdf which used the lists name ({list1}) as the pdf filename.

      It seems like it would work from a button too.

      It works for me.
      Last edited by frankbicknell; 06-22-2016, 11:24 PM.
      Win 10 64 Development, Win 7 64 WAS 11-1, 2, Win 10 64 AA-1,2, MySql, dbForge Studio The Best MySQL GUI Tool IMHO.


        Re: Open PDF from List Control

        Hi Jim,

        try this method :
        1. create a textbox control and hide it (eg: textbox1)
        2. add a button on your list field, onclick -> get document_link column value -> var city = {dialog.object}.getValue('list::LIST1::City'), then set your hidden textbox value with document_link value.
        3. then create a action javascript, html container->open a5w,pdf, use {textbox1} as the pdf filename
        4. add that javascript action javascript after set value.

        So your button onclick will have this steps:
        a. getvalue from active row on your list
        b. set textbox1 value with 'a' value
        c. run javascript action


          Re: Open PDF from List Control

          There are a couple of ways to do this without involving the creation of other controls and filling them, althoug there's nothing wrong with that.

          The first way involves creating a Custom Control in the List. Alpha creates the field server-side. A Custom Control wants you to complete a Definition. Here is the Definition I used. By default, Alpha gives you a HTML string tags to work with, but you don't have to use them. I'm creating a Custom Control named "fullPathPDF".
          Here I'm taking the 2 fields from my data, in the List... PDFPath (the relative path e.g. Documents) and ImageFileName (e.g. myDoc.pdf), and putting them together...

          function fullPathPDF_render as c (ds as p, tmpl as p)
          'Specify the Xbasic that returns the HTML for this control. 
          'This function must return fullPathPDF_render, which should
          'contain the HTML that will be displayed.
          'The 'ds' argument that is passed in contains the current 
          'values for each of the fields in the current List row. 
          'For example:"Firstname")
          on error goto fullPathPDF_xbasicError
          'Write Xbasic code here that returns the HTML to be displayed by this control
          fullPathPDF_render ="PDFPath") + "\\" +"ImageFileName")
          fullPathPDF_render = "Error in custom control xbasic: " + error_text_get() 
          end function
          Then, in the Action Javascript, in the PDF filename property... {list::LISTCUST::fullPathPDF}

          The second method has the List returning an Expression instead of a Field or Primary Key... if you can live with that...

          In the List Return Value type, choose Expression.

          The Expression would be...
          data.PDFPath + '\\' + data.ImageFileName;
          There's a builder for this. By the way... those are 2 backslashes... not pipes. Not sure why the forum is saving them as pipes.

          And finally, in the Action Javascript, you can supply just the name of the List Control... because it's just like any other control... you just want it's value.

          In both cases, ensure that the button you have defined in the List does NOT have Propagation checked. You need the click to propagate down and select the row you clicked on.


            Re: Open PDF from List Control

            Thanks for all the advice. I was able to retrieve the path to the PDF by setting the return value of the list to the path field (as per Frank), but I still can't get the PDF to open. It looks like the path is being altered to some html friendly format that it doesn't like. If I send in a path like M:\Docs\Test.pdf it converts it to M:/%5CDocs%5CTest.pdf, and the debug message from Chrome says Not allowed to load local resource: file:///M:/%5CDocs%5CTest.pdf. If I manually enter M:\Docs\Test.pdf into the PDF filename property it works. Is there some way I can prevent this conversion?

            I was just trying to use a hyperlink to the file but only IE would open it, Chrome and Firefox wouldn't so that's why I'm trying this way. But this way isn't working in any browser.


              Re: Open PDF from List Control

              Jim, I'd really suggest taking a look at my method if you haven't, it works!
              Stick a label or textbox on your UX (hide it if you want). Populate it with the file location. Use that value for the list file download. That simple.
              Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 9192-5707 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V


                Re: Open PDF from List Control

                Hi Stephen,
                I did try your method as well. In fact, I have your method setup now modified to be visible and only accept manual input so I can try passing in a UNC path instead of the mapped drive path. But unfortunately I still get the conversion issue.

                Oh and I'm not trying to download a pdf, just trying to display it (although I guess in the end, they are very similar).


                  Re: Open PDF from List Control

                  Originally posted by CampnJim View Post
                  Hi Stephen,
                  I did try your method as well. In fact, I have your method setup now modified to be visible and only accept manual input so I can try passing in a UNC path instead of the mapped drive path. But unfortunately I still get the conversion issue.

                  Oh and I'm not trying to download a pdf, just trying to display it (although I guess in the end, they are very similar).
                  That's too bad. So the filename is incorrect in the UX control?

                  Yeah, download is a bit of a misnomer in the browser isn't it. The browser renders the pdf (I believe Chrome & Firefox have built-in pdf rendering, whereas IE requires the adobe reader plugin).

                  Here's how I have my File Download Action Javascript setup:


                  And if I make the control visible in the UX, the complete filepath is displayed correctly (as it is in the SQL database field)

                  Last edited by iRadiate; 06-23-2016, 10:22 AM.
                  Alpha Anywhere v12. Build 9192-5707 IIS v10.0 on Windows Server 2019 Std in Hyper-V


                    Re: Open PDF from List Control

                    I have a feeling something else is going on with your UX that we don't know about... which is very often the case. If you post a working UX illustrating the issue then all the guesswork will not be needed.