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Viewing Text Files

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  • Viewing Text Files

    I am relatively new to Alpha5. I am looking for a simple way to view a text file within my application. There must be a simple answer, but I've looked through the help file and through the forums and cannot find a simple way to do so. Currently I open the text file by having Alpha5 hand the chore off to the OS's text editor, but I would prefer a simple way to have Alpha5 display it directly on a form. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for any help.

  • #2
    Re: Viewing Text Files

    I can think of a few ways.

    How big are the text files (word count might be a useful measure here, approx)? Big difference between something with, say, 50 words, and one that might have 50,000 words.

    Do you want the text embedded in a form, or maybe viewed in an XDialog (and, XDialogs can be embedded in a form as well)?

    Need just a little more info /explanation to decide what to suggest as a solution.


    • #3
      Re: Viewing Text Files

      Thanks for your reply. They will greatly vary in size, some being rather large - probably average around 250kb. For the project at hand it would be used for viewing invoices which have been spooled to text files and can contain hundreds of pages of invoices. Other languages I've used usually have a simple text editor and I thought I must have missed the one in Alpha5. I don't really care if it is embedded w/in a form - what I should have said is that I would just like something within Alpha5 instead of invoking an outside program to view it.


      • #4
        Re: Viewing Text Files

        Well, here's one way to do it. See attached picture as a guide.

        The form has two variables:

        There are two controls here. The largest one is a SuperControl for HTML Content. When you draw the Supercontrol, it asks what you want to display. I chose variable->txt. I also gave the Supercontrol object a name of txtDisplay; I'll be referencing it in the Xbasic below.

        The smaller control on the left is a file select field. You can just drag the variable->file onto the form, then adjust the control's properties to be a File Select type of control.

        I have this code on the OnChange event:

        dim shared txt as c
        ' Open the file that's just been selected
        f =, file_rw_shared)
        ' Get the length of the text in the file
        l = f.chars_get()
        ' Read all text into the "txt" variable:
        txt =
        ' Convert carriage returns to HTML breaks for proper display
        txt = stritran(txt,crlf(), "<br>")
        ' Close the file
        ' Refresh the HTML object to display the variable's contents
        I don't think I missed anything, but ask away if you have questions.


        • #5
          Re: Viewing Text Files


          Thanks so much for your help and clearly detailed explanation. I created the form as you said, and it does work - but unfortunately not quite as required for this project's purpose. Mind you, I do not really have knowledge of HTML, but did as you said with the modification below:

          ' Convert carriage returns to HTML breaks for proper display
          v_txt = "<HTML><BODY><FONT FACE='Courier New' SIZE=1><P>"+stritran(v_txt,crlf(), "<br>")+"</P></FONT></BODY></HTML>"

          This assigns a uniformly spaced font (necessary for proper rendering), but the text still doesn't display properly. This specific form is intended to display a text-based invoice and as such it requires that all characters (including spaces - even leading spaces) all have the same horizontal spacing so that columns will line up properly.

          I really like what I've seen of Alpha5 - it has many powerful functions not found in other languages I've used - and I find it hard to believe that it does not have a built-in text editor function. It clearly has a text editor used for coding and such and most other languages I've encountered seem to make a form of that code editor available as a function for simple editing/viewing of text files. I just figured that I somehow missed it in my search. Such a function is not available in Alpha5, correct?

          Another way I could do it is to import the text file into a table - where each line would be stored to a single field with one record per line and then create a browse form for that table. I might just do it that way unless you would recommend otherwise.

          Thanks again for all your help.


          • #6
            Re: Viewing Text Files

            Originally posted by Smokey_ View Post
            Another way I could do it is to import the text file into a table - where each line would be stored to a single field with one record per line and then create a browse form for that table.
            Personally, rather than do it that way, I would probably have a memo field in my table and import the text directly into the memo field. Not sure it would retain the formatting exactly, but you could try it out. It should retain leading spaces, at least.

            Something like:
            tbl = table.current()
            tbl.YourMemoField = GET_FROM_FILE("your file name.txt")
            AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

            [email protected]


            • #7
              Re: Viewing Text Files

              You could try importing it into a table with a memo field, and see how that looks.

              Try this first though: You don't need to specify the html and body tags. This might be throwing things off. Should be:

              v_txt = "<FONT FACE='Courier New' SIZE=1><P>"+stritran(v_txt,crlf(), "<br>")+"</P></FONT>"
              You might have better luck putting the text into an XDialog. That way you're outta the HTML pool. Attached is a picture of XDialog displaying columns of text in one of my apps.

              Busy today, maybe some other ideas tonight including an XDialog example if you want.
              Last edited by Steve Workings; 09-16-2009, 01:01 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Viewing Text Files

                I just tried Peter's method. I like the results a lot. It's probably simplest if it meets your needs.

                Minor suggestions for the script, just to give you ideas:

                filename = ui_get_file("Get File", "*.txt")
                tbl ="table_to_display_text")
                tbl.text = GET_FROM_FILE(filename)


                • #9
                  Re: Viewing Text Files

                  I tried both approaches (above) on one form. For whatever reason the HTML will still not line up properly. The memo field approach did work very well and is an even simpler approach than the one I was considering with multiple records. The attached jpg shows both approaches as rendered on the same form for the same file. I will use the memo field approach.

                  Many thanks to both of you for all your help with this.