MapInfo Window Manager Version 1 – Coming Soon!


Since the release of version 0.5 of my MapInfo Window Manager I have been working on the new version which will be Version 1.0 and to be released soon. It has some new features, bug fixes and a improved UI.

Some Screenshots and feature run down:

Windows Tab: (Shows Open Windows)

Features:

  • Double click to bring window to the front.
  • F2 turns on rename function for the selected window.
  • Supports all windows types, even info and stat windows. (Version 0.5 just supported Maps and Layouts)
  • Groups can be sorted alphabetically in ascending or descending order.  (A and D buttons)
  • Groups can be sorted individually.
  • All windows can be cloned except for Special windows.
  • Shows count of windows open in each group.
  • Windows can be locked to stop accidental closing.
  • Fancy icons :)

Closed Windows Tab: (shows closed windows allows them to be reopened)

Credit to Peter Horsboll Moller of PBBI MapInfo for this idea, which came from his MapBasic Window Helper tool.

Features:

  • Records all windows as they are closed, letting you restore the window later. (Handy for accidentally closing a legend window)
  • Double click to reopen window.

Settings tab: (Pretty boring just lets you change some settings)

Features:

  • Allows the program to be auto loaded and the tool to be shown when MapInfo loads.
  • Allows the program to store the position of itself.

About Tab: (Pretty boring also, just some info about the app and where to contact me)

Features:

  • It’s an about page, what features can it have!? :)

I have been testing my Window Manager at home and at work, I use it almost everyday, and with some people that I know.

However I would like to get some more testing done by some other people to make sure that Version 1.0 is good and stable.  I am also still look out for anymore ideas that I could throw into Version 1.0.

If you would like to give the beta a test and do some bug hunting for me, or likewise if you have a feature you would like to see rolled into Version 1.0, please contact me on here or by email (which you can see in the about tab page screenshot above)

Just for fun:

Here is a comparison screenshot of the old and new one:

New MapInfo Pro Tool – Window Manager


Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on a new MapInfo Professional tool called Window Manager, it is nothing big but I find it very handy.  The window manager shows all the open map and layout windows in a visual WPF tree view control and gives the users quick access to basic functions when dealing with windows in MapInfo eg Rename and Clone etc.

Screenshot

The current version (0.5) is only really a preview version and still has a little bit of work to make it a bit more polished looking, however I have tested the clone, close,rename and bring to front commands a lot as I use this tool all the time and it feels stable.  I am releasing it early rather than waiting for a couple of more weeks for a couple of reasons 1) Fear of forgetting to release it due to being busy 2) Would like to see what other people would like to do with a tool like this.

The wiki page with more details, download link and how to install instructions can be found here: http://code.google.com/p/nathansmapinfoprojects/wiki/WindowManager

This tool uses WPF and in doing so needs .Net 3.5, must people should have this so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

If you find any bugs or would like to see something added please let me know by commenting on this blog post, on the wiki page or on the issue tracker on my Google code page.

True floating and top most Mapbasic window.


<Rant>One thing that has always annoyed me with MapInfo is the Mapbasic window.</Rant>

That last statement is a bit bold so let me break it down, functionality wise it is great and I couldn’t use MapInfo without it, however it is part of the MDI Client (the gray bit in MapInfo  that the map windows belong to) this means that when you have a map or browser window and the Mapbasic window open they both have the same z-order in the MDI Client, meaning you can end up with this problem.

Not Cool

This is not cool, and I wonder how this even passed the user interface testing phase but I digress.

One of the problems that this can bring is that you can’t have a maximized map/browser window and just have a small Mapbasic window in the corner.  This may not seem like a big deal however due to the z-ordering issue it forces you to micro manage your windows in the MDI client, move the map a little bit now you have to move the Mapbasic window so that it doesn’t sit behind you map and so on, all in all wasting time you could be making your map.

Get on with it

So what is the point of this post, well a little while ago I was sitting writing some unrelated C# code and it hit me.  If I can call and show a .Net form from Mapbasic, parent it to MapInfo and embed the normal Mapbasic window in my new .Net form I could make a true top most floating Mapbasic window that lives above any other window in MapInfo and remove that z-ordering issue.

After doing some playing around in test projects I discovered what I wanted to do was possible and without to much effort, there was a few little things that caused problems but what software adventure doesn’t have those.

I complied all the code into a set of tools called the “Floating Windows Tools”, this set of tools also does a few other things but they will be covered in other blog posts.

The main thing the set of tools does is float the Mapbasic window above all the other window, here is an example of the result of using the tool.

The above image shows a maximized map window and the Mapbasic window sitting on top of the map, it will always be on top and never move behind the map or any other window in MapInfo for that matter.

More Information & Downloads

More information, downloads and examples can be found on my google code project page for the project:

Demo Video

Sorry about the low quality.

Contact me

I have spent a fair fews hours developing and testing this tool, however as with all software there are always things that could be improved or  bug to be squished.  So if you find anything or have a improvment idea don’t hesitate to contact me via here or on the google code page for this project.

Sneak Peek

And because software is never finished here is a sneak peek at the new version I am working on, this version will have syntax highlighting and code completion so that it will make it easier to type Mapbasic.

Since making the first release my time to work on this project has decrease a lot, so I can’t see me making a release of the new version anytime soon however I may have a  “all I do is code” weekend and may get it done faster then I think so stay tuned if your interested.