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Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

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  • Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

    Now for the first time you can work in any third party software development tool and effortlessly interface your Xbasic code building, testing, running and syntax checking processes with Alpha5.

    "PGPre" for Alpha5 allows you to do this easily and effortlessly. If you have a favorite software code development tool you prefer to work with or just want an alternative to the in-build Alpha5 script editor, this is it.

    PGPre allows you to develop code as text files and move these from your development tool to Alpha5 and back again. If you need to compare them, there's built-in support for a range of third party compare and merge tools. PGPre will automatically detect and configure for your chosen preference.

    If you want to try PGPre and don't have a development tool or compare/merge application, no problem. Download and install free products such as NotePad++ and WinMerge just to get the feel.

    Further details on PGPre are listed below. The documentation PDF is available from here.

    Download the PGPre setup installer from here, version 1.0.29.

    Oh, did I mention that PGPre is freeware too.

    Summary - PGPre Compiler for Alpha5


    o Interfaces any 3rd party text editor/development environment with Alpha5 Developer, version 9 and version 8 (latest 1980-3163 recommended).

    o Compile, syntax check and/or run any Alpha5 script from there - comes with an interactive syntax checker too.

    o Powerful pre-compile Directives allow customisation of compile options, with defaults so it still works intelligently "out-of-the-box".

    o Moves your Alpha5 Xbasic scripts effortlessly between your 3rd party development tool and Alpha5 - in both directions.

    o Compare and optionally merge script differences.

    o Automatically interfaces with a 3rd party compare product - WinMerge (free), UltraCompare Professional, Beyond Compare versions 2 and 3.

    o Supports syntax highlighting and function/method names tag lists for UltraEdit/UE Studio (NotePad++ syntax files already included). The syntax files for UltraEdit/UEStudio are available on the Alpha5 forum here.

    o Guided dialog boxes help you through every step in the process.

    o Supplied with setup installer, full documentation and instructions all ready to go.

    o Fully tested on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Alpha5 versions 8 & 9, UltraEdit, NotePad++ , etc.

    o Use another third party product? Just ask. Some are really easy to set up for use with PGPre.

  • #2
    Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool


    generous of you. Thanks.
    It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
    Henry David Thoreau


    • #3
      Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

      Thanks for the information and the freeware


      • #4
        Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

        Thanks for the positive feedback and comments everyone. A *lot* of thought and coding has gone into producing PGPre. It's far from being a trivial product!

        Several have asked me how PGPre works. Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is to show a picture of it in action. The attached JPEG shows me working on a number of Alpha5 Xbasic scripts, two of them being interactive ones to develop and test new code. I can compose my code and then compile, test and/or run it just be clicking on the toolbar icon at the top of the screen.

        There are some of the other useful features shown there too. Check it out.


        • #5
          Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool


          Thanks for the new tool and for turning me on to Ultraedit. MUCH appreciated!!

          Bill Griffin
          Parkell, Inc


          • #6
            Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

            i bought UltraEdit & downloaded PGPre. The instructions where good till i got to Directives, then they just went over my head. I just don't see how to use UltraEdit to open an existing xbasic script or start a new one. I also don't see the xbasic commands like in the sample.
            Was the "%f" to be replaced with some text?
            any suggestions will be much appreciated
            thanks -old tony


            • #7
              Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

              Originally posted by oldtony View Post
              I also don't see the xbasic commands like in the sample.
              That's my code, you have to write your own using UltraEdit.
              Was the "%f" to be replaced with some text?
              any suggestions will be much appreciated
              1. If you haven't already done so, run the PGPre installer.

              2. To install the UltraEdit syntax files (for syntax highlighting, code folding, functions tag list etc) download them (the link is in a previous post here) and copy them to the UltraEdit working folder as described in the syntax files documentation (not the PGPre documentation).

              3. Run UltraEdit and select from the 'View' menu, the 'View/Lists' option followed by 'Tag list'. This toggles the tags list display off and on. Select the Alpha5 Xbasic name at the top of the tags list to view the Alpha5 ones.

              4. Configure the UltraEdit Tool1 to run PGPre as per the 'Initial Configuration' of the pGPre documentation. The steps there describe how to do this for UltraEdit, with screen shots too.

              5. Now write some Xbasic code in UltraEdit, name and save it with an extension of .axb. Then run a compile from the toolbar icon you will have created in the previous step - you're up and going now. Experiment with the PGPre Directives to gain some experience on how they work - it's not mandatory because intelligent defaults will apply in their absence.

              6. Remember that you will not get the syntax highlighting applied to the code you write in UltraEdit until either you save it with an extension of .axb or you choose the View/View as Alpha5 menu item. In the UltraEdit menu Advanced/Configuration/File Associations it's a good idea to have a .axb definition for Alpha5 Xbasic too. This is described on page 2 of the syntax files documentation.


              • #8
                Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                PGPre version 2 is a major new update to the original release of PGPre and will be available soon. It substantially improves the overall usability of the product and adds numerous features to facilitate Alpha5 Xbasic script compile, import, export and compare.

                Support for Version Control Systems (VCS) has been added so you can now keep your Xbasic scripts in a version control system and very easily move scripts between Alpha5, an external editor (optional) and the VCS. This gives you full version control of Alpha5 scripts and the ability to monitor and view changes to your Alpha5 application over time.

                All this can now be accomplished via an improved work flow with re-designed menus and screens to make working in PGPre much easier.

                New features added to or improved in PGPre include:

                • Re-designed menus. The main menu is now able to be completely hidden too.
                • Script imports, exports have been added and substantially upgraded from the original “Backsave” feature.
                • Script compares overhauled and substantially improved.
                • Settings menu added where more options and preferences can now be selected, altered and saved.
                • Added support for external version control systems (VCS) for Xbasic scripts.
                • More PGPre pre-compiler directives have been added. Some can be altered directly from the settings menu.
                • Alpha5 compiler output can now be automatically captured and displayed in an external editor’s output pane.
                • Intelligent processing of password protected scripts so that the developer is not continually prompted by Alpha5 for passwords on opening protected scripts.
                • And a lot more too.

                Here's the latest documentation so you can check it out in more detail. Ensure you have bookmarks displayed so you can find the topics more easily.


                • #9
                  Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                  Here's the latest version 2.0.41 of PGPre. It's an advanced beta copy, which means that there may still be a few problems, but nothing too much or too serious as it has been tested pretty extensively with Alpha5 versions 8 and 9 on both Windows XP and Vista.

                  Version 2 is such a huge improvement over version 1 that I decided to release it now rather than wait too much longer. Development is continuing and I will post significant updates periodically. There are a couple of sample screen shots attached.

                  PGPre 2.0.41 can be downloaded from here. It's a setup installer with the documentation included. Comments, suggestions and feedback are most welcome.


                  • #10
                    Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                    I'm sure I'm missing the obvious, but what is the advantage of PGPre vs. A5's code editor? I see that you have a complete function list, but OTOH, A5 has script libraries, which arguably may be more useful since the developer includes those snippets/functions/etc useful to him or her.
                    AlphaBase Solutions, LLC



                    • #11
                      Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                      Hi Peter. Good question. If I had to summarize succinctly what the benefit of using PGPre is, the answer is this: you now have a choice. For example, other developers more accustomed to working other development environments and with other products now have the option open to them of continuing to work with the editor they are accustomed to using. I am sure there are many other reasons too.

                      The reasons for you may prefer to want to continue to use the Alpha5 editor are just fine, but they may not be a consideration for someone else. I am here making available to others at no cost a tool that allows them to exercise their own preference should they not wish to use the Alpha5 editor exclusively. They did not have this option available to them previously.

                      As it turns out the greatest benefit to myself from PGPre is from the facility it now makes available in version 2 to readily interface to a third party VCS (version control system). This is a real boon for me - all my Alpha5 applications are now under the control of a VCS. I did not have this option available to me before PGPre version 2. It's a major bonus!


                      • #12
                        Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                        Thanks for the clarification, Brett.
                        AlphaBase Solutions, LLC



                        • #13
                          Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                          Version 2.1 of PGPre is now available for download from the following links:

                          - Latest documentation PDF file
                          - PGPre 2.1 setup installer

                          PGPre is an application for Alpha5 developers that allows Xbasic global scripts and functions to be developed and compiled or checked in an external third party code editor. PGPre also allows those scripts and functions to be copied between an Alpha5 application and external folder, compared for differences, merged, deleted etc. These features are of particular use to developers who want to maintain their Xbasic scripts in a version control system. Further details are presented in the documentation file above.

                          Changes in version 2.1
                          • The installer now creates a Windows desktop shortcut to run PGPre.

                          • PGPre actions that provide compare, import, export and for deletion of scripts and script text files have been amalgamated into a single screen. Formerly these actions were all separate with their own menu items.

                          • The PGPre main menu has been altered as a consequence of the previous change and a new item named 'Actions' added to the main and relocatable menus.

                          • The new Actions display screen shows scripts on the left and matching script text files on the right and shows whether the two match or differ. The display can cycle between three display options: display scripts only, display text files only and display both.

                          • The 'Close DB' PGPre menu item selection now leaves PGPre running in the background.

                          • The compile and output capture features have been substantially upgraded and improved.

                          • Many other improvements and bug fixes.


                          • #14
                            Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                            PGPre is now open source. I originally listed PGPre at but ... well anyone who has ever listed a project there will understand.

                            In the meantime here is a site link from where the following files can be downloaded:
                            • latest PGPre setup installer
                            • PGPre user documentation PDF file (also included in the setup installer)
                            • PGPre source code
                            • code editor syntax files for UltraEdit/UEStudio and NotePad++

                            The source code is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) which may be read here. The source is intended for Alpha5 developers with moderate to advanced levels of experience with Xbasic. The purpose of its release is so that other developers may scrutinize and improve the code - send changes to me so that I can coordinate and release further PGPre updates.

                            Anyone who would like to be notified of further releases of PGPre, please let me know and I will notify you whenever this occurs. I no longer expect to post these notifications here.


                            • #15
                              Re: Now you can develop Alpha5 Xbasic code in your favorite developer tool

                              Hi Brett,

                              I know this is an old thread, but I stumbled on this looking for other answers, which I'll follow with.

                              Does PGPre work with Eclipse, if you know? If you're unsure, I'll invest the time to check it out myself (just looking for a shortcut)

                              My virus checker flagged the setup.exe as follows:

                              C:\IIS\Utilities\PGPre\PGPreCompiler 2.1.47 setup.exe » INNO » file0000.bin » AUTOIT » script.au3 - Win32/Packed.Autoit.E.Gen potentially unwanted application

                              False positive? Any idea what's up?

                              Thanks Brett