TeamWox SDK: Setting Up Custom Modules Environment - Part 2

Introduction

In the first part of the article we have discussed the main issues of setting up custom modules environment. In the second part we will talk about integrating a custom module into TeamWox main page. For this we will need to implement several interfaces.

1. Hints Caching Manager
    1.1. Interfaces
    1.2. Example of Extending List of Hints
2. Widgets
    2.1. The IWidgets Interface
    2.2. Example of Implementing Custom Widget
3. ResPacker Utility

1. Hints Caching Manager

The "Home" module (first tab by default among the modules from standard delivery) displays different information in the form of short one-line messages at the bottom of TeamWox home page. These may be helpful hints about working in TeamWox groupware,

Hints about Working in TeamWox

and information about company' activities, such employees birthdays.  

Nearest Birth Dates of Employees

The texts of these messages are provided by the special hints caching manager and appear at random. If a module is disabled, there will be no hints for it. In addition there is a certain set of hints, that are not bound to any module. Such hints will be displayed in any way.

1.1. Interfaces

To work with the hints caching manager, a custom module must provide the IModuleTips interface, described in TeamWox API.

IModuleTips

Your custom module must implement this interface, if you want to display information useful for users - inform them of additional TeamWox features, provided by your module.

Like other interfaces that extend module functionality, the IModuleTips interface must be listed and returned in the implementation of the IModule::GetInterface method for your module. The "Home" system module will request this interface when working with the modules.

Consider the implementation requirements for the IModuleTips interface methods.

  • IModuleTips::GetTipsCount

Must return the total number of hints for the module.

virtual int  GetTipsCount(const Context *context)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.

  • IModuleTips::GetTip   

Must return the pointer to static (unchanging) string with the text of hint from the general list of strings by specified index.

virtual const wchar_t*  GetTip(const Context *context, int index)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
index
int
Index of hint.
  • IModuleTips::GetTipEx

Must return the pointer to string with dynamically changing content. For example, it can be employees birthdays (the Team module), articles (the Administration module), etc.

virtual TWRESULT  GetTipEx(const Context *context,int index,wchar_t *buf,size_t len)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
index
int
Index of string.
buf
wchar_t*
Buffer with text.
len size_t   Size of buffer with text.

For your module you can display either only static strings or only dynamic strings, i.e. the IModuleTips::GetTip method's and IModuleTips::GetTipEx method's results are mutually exclusive.

In the "Home" module the upcoming birthdays information has the highest priority, when it is displayed. This logic is built into TeamWox server. You can not change this behavior using TeamWox API.

 

ITipsManager

Hints caching manager is available as the ITipsManager interface. The hints list for a module should be stored in a text file in module resources. This allows hints to be edited and updated not only by developers, but also by technical writers and translators. The pointer to the ITipsManager interface must be requested in the class of module, that implements the IModuleTips interface.

You must register the text file with list of hints in the hints caching manager, where each hint - is one line. Hints are processed in several languages simultaneously, and in the context returns only those, that match currently selected language of TeamWox user interface.

The format of text file with hints (UTF-16 encoding) is much alike the format of language file with user interface translations. First comes the language group (three-letter code in brackets), and then - lines with the hints. And so on for every language. For example:

[eng]
string 1
string 2
........
[rus]
строка 1
строка 2
........
Strings may contain both plain text and hyperlinks. For example, link to a help section (see the first part of article) is added as follows:
<a href="#" onclick="top.TW_Help('module_name/subtopic/html_file_name');return(false);">text of link</a> 

Consider the description of the ITipsManager interface methods.

  • ITipsManager::Register

Registers external text file with the hints.

virtual TWRESULT  Register(int module_id, const wchar_t *subpath)
Parameter
Type
Description
module_id
int
Module ID.
subpath wchar_t* The path to file with hints relative to module DLL.
  • ITipsManager::GetTipsCount

Returns the number of hints stored in cache for the specified module.

virtual int  GetTipsCount(const Context *context, int module_id)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
module_id
int
Module ID.

  • ITipsManager::GetTip 

Returns string with text of hint from hints cache by index.

virtual const wchar_t*  GetTip(const Context *context, int module_id, int index)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
module_id
int
Module ID.
index
int
Index of string.

It is best to place file with hints in the folder with module template or in the root folder of module.

 

1.2. Example of Extending List of Hints

Consider the implementation of features described above on example of the Hello World module. Source codes with all the changes are attached to this article.

1. Extend the functionality of module by inheriting the IModuleTips interface methods.

class CHelloWorldModule : public IModule, public IModuleMainframeTopBar, public IModuleTips

In our example we'll implement displaying of static hints, so in the GetTipEx method declaration immediately return the appropriate code.

//--- tips
int               GetTipsCount(const Context *context);
const wchar_t*    GetTip(const Context *context, int index);
TWRESULT          GetTipEx(const Context* /*context*/,int /*index*/,wchar_t* /*buf*/,size_t /*len*/) { return(RES_E_NOT_IMPLEMENTED); }
2. In the CHelloWorldModule::GetInterface method list and return the IModuleTips in the list of implemented interfaces.
//---
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IToolbar",name))               { *iface = &m_toolbar;                                 return(RES_S_OK); }
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IModuleMainframeTopBar",name)) { *iface = static_cast<IModuleMainframeTopBar*>(this); return(RES_S_OK); }
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IModuleTips", name))           { *iface = static_cast<IModuleTips*>(this);            return(RES_S_OK); }

3. Get the pointer to the ITipsManager interface in the CHelloWorldModule module.

private:
   IServer           *m_server;
   ITipsManager      *m_tips_manager;
   CHelloWorldManager m_manager;
   CHelloWorldToolbar m_toolbar;

4. Initialize the hints manager.

//--- Prepare tips
   if(RES_FAILED(res=m_server->GetInterface(L"ITipsManager",(void**)&m_tips_manager)))
      ExtLogger(NULL,LOG_STATUS_ERROR) << "failed to get ITipsManager";
5. Register text file with hints during module initialization.
//---
   if(m_tips_manager!=NULL)
      m_tips_manager->Register(HELLOWORLD_MODULE_ID,L"templates\\tips.txt");

6. Add a few hints into the text file.

[eng]
HelloWorld tips
HelloWorld tips2
[rus]
Совет HelloWorld2
Совет HelloWorld

7. Implement the IModuleTips::GetTipsCount and IModuleTips::GetTip methods.

  • CHelloWorldModule::GetTipsCount
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Get number of tips                                               |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
int CHelloWorldModule::GetTipsCount(const Context *context)
  {
   if(m_tips_manager==NULL) ReturnError(0);
//--- 
   return(m_tips_manager->GetTipsCount(context, HELLOWORLD_MODULE_ID));
  }
  • CHelloWorldModule::GetTip
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Get tips                                                         |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
const wchar_t* CHelloWorldModule::GetTip(const Context *context, int index)
  {
   if(m_tips_manager==NULL) ReturnError(NULL);
//--- 
   return(m_tips_manager->GetTip(context, HELLOWORLD_MODULE_ID, index));
  }  

8. Compile the project and make sure that tips.txt file (with tips for module) is located on the server inside the \modules\helloworld\templates\ folder. If a hint for the Hello World module does not appear immediately, scroll the ribbon with tips by pressing the Button to Show Next Tip button, until the desired hint will appear.

Tips for the Hello World Module

 

2. Widgets

As you know, in TeamWox widgets are graphical elements of the "Home" module user interface, that are displayed as rectangular areas. Each of these rectangles displays information from a specific module.

Widgets for TeamWox Standard Delivery Modules

The "Home" module user interface allows you to adjust widgets size and location on the main page.

   Resizing Widget      Relocating Widget   

Using TeamWox SDK you can create widgets for custom modules, thereby increasing their functionality.

Widgets by their nature - are the representation of data (according to the MVC architecture), i.e. they are formed using the same principles as regular modules pages with a few exceptions The source code of widget template contains only the contents without the basic HTML tags <html></html>, <head></head> and <body></body>.

 

2.1. The IWidgets Interface

The IWidgets interface must be implemented in custom module, if you want to display information from this module on TeamWox main page as a widget. By implementing this interface, custom module describes environment and contents of a widget.

 

Consider the implementation requirements for the IWidgets interface methods.

  • IWidgets::Total

Must return the total number of widgets.

virtual int Total(void)
  • IWidgets::InfoGet 

Must get information about specific widget.

virtual TWRESULT  InfoGet(int widget_num,WidgetInfo *info) 

Parameter
Type
Description
widget_num int
The index of widget.
info
WidgetInfo*
Information about the widget. Description of the WidgetInfo structure see below.

  • IWidgets::IsAccessible

Must check the access rights to the widget.

virtual TWRESULT  IsAccessible(const Context *context,const wchar_t *guid)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
guid
wchar_t*
Textual ID of widget.

  • IWidgets::ProcessHeader

Must output the header source code, that loads the widget environment. You can add the code of downloading custom scripts into the header template.

virtual TWRESULT  ProcessHeader(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid)    
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
widget_guid
wchar_t*
Textual ID of widget.
  • IWidgets::ProcessContent

Must output the contents of widget. The amount of displayed contents depends on the passed widget's width and height.

virtual TWRESULT  ProcessContent(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid, int width, int height)
Parameter
Type
Description
context
Context*
Context of request processing.
widget_guid wchar_t*   Textual ID of widget.
widthint Conditional width of the widget.
heightintConditional height of the widget.
  • The WidgetInfo structure
Field
Type
Description
type
int
The type of widget. Specified using the constants from corresponding anonymous enumeration, included into structure (see below).
object_guid
wchar_t[32]
Unique textual ID of widget. It can be both a random sequence of symbols, and a meaningful name. We recommend the following naming scheme: <module_name>_widget_<short_name_of_widget>. For example: helloworld_widget_simplewidget.
title
wchar_t[64]
Translation ID for the widget title.
title_url
wchar_t[128]

URL used to request to the desired module page. The text of a link is the title[64] field.

For example, you may have two widgets: first displays the home page of a module and the second - a particular section of a module (as it is implemented in the Tasks and Favorite tasks widgets).

description
wchar_t[128]
Translation ID for the widget description. Widget description is displayed in widget layout mode, as well as when you hover the mouse cursor on widget icon.
width_size
int
Conditional width of the widget. Specified using the constants from corresponding anonymous enumeration, included into structure (see below).
height_size
int
Conditional height of the widget. Specified using the constants from corresponding anonymous enumeration, included into structure (see below).
icon_url
wchar_t[64]
The path to widget icon. It is specified relative to the \modules folder on TeamWox server.   

Widgets use relative sizes, that adapt to different screen resolutions.
  • Anonymous enumeration of widget types
Name
Value
Description
TYPE_STATIC
1
Static widget. Static widget require two files: first contains widget's header with the necessary environment, second contains the contents of the widget.
TYPE_DYNAMIC
2
Dynamic widget. In this case only the header of widget is requested. Widget header contains JavaScript functions, that form the contents of widget, when it is loaded.
TYPE_ONLYDESKTOP
0x80
The flag, that enables widget to be displayed only in desktop browsers. Widget won't be displayed in browsers on mobile devices.

  • Anonymous enumeration of widget sizes
Name
Value
Description
SIDE_TINY
1
Smallest size of widget's height or width.
SIDE_SMALL
2
Small size of widget's height or width.
SIDE_MEDIUM
3
Medium size of widget's height or width.
SIDE_LARGE4Largest size of widget's height or width. 

 

2.2. Example of Implementing Custom Widget

As an example, we will implement widget that will display data from the CPageNumberTwo page of the Hello World module. Source codes with all the changes are attached to this article. As a basis for implementation we will take source codes of the Board module, available in TeamWox SDK.

2.2.1. Implementing the IWidgets Interface

1. In the CHelloWorldModule::GetInterface method list and return the IWidgets among the list of implemented interfaces.

//---
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IToolbar",name))               { *iface=&m_toolbar;                                 return(RES_S_OK); }
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IModuleMainframeTopBar",name)) { *iface=static_cast<IModuleMainframeTopBar*>(this); return(RES_S_OK); }
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IModuleTips", name))           { *iface=static_cast<IModuleTips*>(this);            return(RES_S_OK); }
   if(StringCompareExactly(L"IWidgets",name))               { *iface=&m_widgets;                                 return(RES_S_OK); }
//---

2. Create the new widget manager as a separate class. In it we will inherit the IWidgets interface methods, as well as will add an initialization method, which will be called when our module is initialized.

//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Widget                                                           |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
class CHelloWorldWidgets: public IWidgets
  {
private:
   IServer            *m_server;
   CHelloWorldManager *m_manager;

public:
                     CHelloWorldWidgets();
                    ~CHelloWorldWidgets();
   //---
   TWRESULT          Initialize(IServer *m_server,CHelloWorldManager *manager);
   //---
   int               Total(void);
   TWRESULT          InfoGet(int widget_num,WidgetInfo *info);
   TWRESULT          IsAccessible(const Context *context,const wchar_t *guid);
   TWRESULT          ProcessHeader(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid);
   TWRESULT          ProcessContent(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid, int width, int height);
  };

3. Initialize the widget manager in the module.

  • class CHelloWorldModule - declare inside the module class.
private:
   IServer          *m_server;
   ITipsManager     *m_tips_manager;
   CHelloWorldManager m_manager;
   CHelloWorldToolbar m_toolbar;
   CHelloWorldWidgets m_widgets;
  • CHelloWorldModule::Initialize - call during module initialization.
if(RES_FAILED(res=m_widgets.Initialize(m_server,&m_manager)))  ReturnErrorExt(res,NULL,"failed to initialize widgets manager");
  • CHelloWorldModule::Initialize - implementation in the widgets manager class.
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Initialization                                                   |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CHelloWorldWidgets::Initialize(IServer *server,CHelloWorldManager *manager)
  {
//--- Checks
   if(server==NULL || manager==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//---
   m_server =server;
   m_manager=manager;
//--- Everything is OK
   return(RES_S_OK);
  }

4. In the widgets manager implementation fill out the WidgetInfo structure.

//---
static WidgetInfo widgets[]=
  {
       {
         WidgetInfo::TYPE_STATIC,                   // Widget type
         L"helloworld_widget_pagetwo",              // Text id of widget
         L"HELLOWOLRD_WIDGET_SIMPLE_TITLE",         // Widget header
         L"/helloworld/index",                      // Link of widget header
         L"HELLOWORLD_WIDGET_SIMPLE_DESCRIPTION",   // Widget description
         WidgetInfo::SIDE_MEDIUM,                   // Default width
         WidgetInfo::SIDE_MEDIUM,                   // Default height
         L"/helloworld/res/i/widget/simple.png"     // Path to widget icon
      }

As an icon you can take the avatar for this article.

Widget Logo

Save this file in the <TeamWox_server>\modules\helloworld\res\i\widget\ folder under the simple.png name.  

5. Implement the IWidgets interface methods.

  • CHelloWorldWidgets::Total
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Total number of widgets                                          |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
int CHelloWorldWidgets::Total(void)
  {
//---
   return(_countof(widgets));
  }
  • CHelloWorldWidgets::InfoGet
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Get information about widget                                     |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CHelloWorldWidgets::InfoGet(int widget_num,WidgetInfo *info)
  {
   if(widget_num<0 || widget_num>=(int)_countof(widgets) || info==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//---
   memcpy(info,&widgets[widget_num],sizeof(WidgetInfo));
   return(RES_S_OK);
  } 
  • CHelloWorldWidgets::IsAccessible
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Check if widget is accessible                                    |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CHelloWorldWidgets::IsAccessible(const Context *context,const wchar_t* widget_guid)
  {
//---
   if(context==NULL || widget_guid==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
   if(context->request==NULL)             return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//--- find out, what widget we need to display
   if(PathCompare(L"helloworld_widget_pagetwo",widget_guid))
     {
      return(RES_S_OK);
     }
//---
   return(RES_S_OK);
  }
  • CHelloWorldWidgets::ProcessHeader. If true is passed into constructor of widget page class, then page header will be displayed.
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Process header                                                   |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CHelloWorldWidgets::ProcessHeader(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid)
  {
   TWRESULT res=RES_E_NOT_FOUND;
//--- Checks
   if(context==NULL || m_manager==NULL || widget_guid==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
   if(context->request==NULL)                                return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//--- find out, what widget we need to display
   if(PathCompare(L"helloworld_widget_last",widget_guid))
      res=CPageWidgetSimple(true).Process(context,m_server,context->request->Path(),m_manager,0,0);
//---
   return(res);
  }

  • CHelloWorldWidgets::ProcessContent. If false is passed into constructor of widget page class, then page contents will be displayed.
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Process contents                                                 |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CHelloWorldWidgets::ProcessContent(const Context *context,const wchar_t *widget_guid,int width,int height)
  {
   TWRESULT res=RES_E_NOT_FOUND;
//--- Checks
   if(context==NULL || m_manager==NULL || widget_guid==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
   if(context->request==NULL)                                return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//--- find out, what widget we need to display
   if(PathCompare(L"helloworld_widget_pagetwo",widget_guid))
      res=CPageWidgetSimple(false).Process(context,m_server,context->request->Path(),m_manager,width,height);
//---
   return(res);
  }

2.2.2. Widget HTTP API

As an example, let's display data from the PageNumberTwo page on our widget. Accordingly, while implementing widget's HTTP API and UI we will take PageNumberTwo source code and its template as a basis.

1. In our project, create the new page for widget. Following the logic of organizing module pages, place it in the 'widgets' subfolder (similar to the reports pages).

Declaration of Widget Page  Implementation of Widget Page 

2. In the CPageWidgetSimple class declaration limit the number of entries displayed per page up to 64. It is unsuitable to display numerator tabs in a widget, and more than 64 lines simply won't fit on any screen.

class CPageWidgetSimple : public CPage
  {
private:
   IServer          *m_server;
   CHelloWorldManager *m_manager;
   //---
   HelloWorldRecord  m_info[64];             // Number of records per numerator's page
   int               m_info_count;

3. Like the other module pages, the PageWidgetSimple page must implement the CPage::Process method to display content and the IPage::Tag method to process the tokens used in templates. In the CPageWidgetSimple::Process call add two parameters, which tell the real size (in pixels)of widget.

public:
   //--- functions of displaying 
   TWRESULT     Process(const Context *context,IServer *server,const wchar_t *path,CHelloWorldManager *manager,int width,int height);
   bool         Tag(const Context *context,const TagInfo *tag);

4. Add a switch to display the widget header. This switch is passed to the page class constructor from the widgets manager. With its help you can control the display of the widget header in the CPageWidgetSimple::Process method.

private:
   bool              m_header_mode;

5. Declare two methods, that will display the header code and the code content of the widget, respectively.

private:
   void              operator=(CPageWidgetSimple&) {}
   //---
   TWRESULT          ShowHeader(const Context *context,int show_count);
   TWRESULT          ShowContent(const Context *context,int show_count);

6. In constructor of widget page initialize the mode of displaying widget's title.

//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Constructor                                                      |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
CPageWidgetSimple::CPageWidgetSimple(bool header_mode) : m_server(NULL),m_manager(NULL),
                                                         m_info_count(0),m_header_mode(header_mode)
  {
//---
   ZeroMemory(m_info,sizeof(m_info));
//---
  }

7. For simplicity, when page is requested we will display only the contents of our widget.

//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Process request                                                  |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CPageWidgetSimple::Process(const Context *context,IServer *server,
                                    const wchar_t* /*path*/,CHelloWorldManager *manager,int /*width*/,int height)
  {
//--- Checks
   if(context==NULL || manager==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//---
   m_manager=manager;
   m_server =server;
//--- DISPLAY PAGES
   if(m_header_mode)
      return(ShowHeader(context,(height/30)+1));
   else
      return(ShowContent(context,(height/30)+1));
  }

8. Implementation of header source code output. Leave widget header template blank.

//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Display header                                                   |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CPageWidgetSimple::ShowHeader(const Context *context,int show_count)
  {
//--- Checks
   if(context==NULL || m_server==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//---
   return(m_server->PageProcess(context,L"templates\\widgets\\headers.tpl",this,TW_PAGEPROCESS_NOCACHE));
  }

9. Implementation of contents source code output.

//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
//| Display contents                                                 |
//+------------------------------------------------------------------+
TWRESULT CPageWidgetSimple::ShowContent(const Context *context,int show_count)
  {
   TWRESULT res=RES_S_OK;
//--- Checks
   if(context==NULL || m_manager==NULL || m_server==NULL) return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
   if(context->request==NULL)                             return(RES_E_INVALID_ARGS);
//---
   m_info_count=_countof(m_info);
   if(m_info_count>show_count) m_info_count=show_count;
//--- Get required number of records starting from desired position
   if(RES_FAILED(res=m_manager->InfoGet(context,m_info,1,&m_info_count)))
     {
      if(res!=RES_E_NOT_FOUND && res!=RES_E_ACCESS_DENIED)
         ReturnErrorExt(res,context,"failed to get records list");
      //---
      return(res);
     }
//--- Display
   return(m_server->PageProcess(context,L"templates\\widgets\\simple.tpl",this,TW_PAGEPROCESS_NOCACHE));
  }

10. Implementation of the CPageWidgetSimple::Tag method can be completely copied from the CPageNumberTwo::Tag. At the end we will have the <tw:records /> token, containing the data displayed on the PageNumberTwo page.

 

2.2.3. Widget User Interface

1. Taking the number2.tpl template as a basis, we will display one column of the table and fill it with data from the <tw:records /> token .

<table id="helloworld_widget_simple_list" class="std_table" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0" 
 style="width:100%;table-layout:fixed;margin:0px;">
</table>
<script type="text/javascript">
(function()
  {
   var table_obj = document.getElementById('helloworld_widget_simple_list'),
       index     = 0,
       data      = <tw:records />;
   //---
   for(var i in data)
     {
      table_obj.insertRow(index++).insertCell(0).innerHTML=['<a href="/helloworld/number_two/view/',data[i].id,'">',data[i].name,'</a>'].join('');
     }
  })();
</script>

Currently TeamWox JavaScript Framework yet can't be used to design widgets user interface, but developers are planning to add such a possibility in nearest future.

2. Compile the project, update the resources, start TeamWox server and open the main page.

3. Open the panel of editing widgets. As you can see, now you can add custom widget for the Hello World module.

New Widget for the Hello World Module

4. Drag it to the main page layout and adjust the size.

Adding New Widget on the Main Page

5. Save the configuration and refresh page in your browser (take this peculiarity into account - widget displays data only after reloading the page).

Widget of the Hello World Module

Now the widget displays PageNumberTwo data on the TeamWox main page!


3. ResPacker Utility

Web projects contain a large number of resource files. In TeamWox groupware resources include: images (*.png, *.bmp, *.jpg, *.gif, *.ico), cascading style sheets (*.css), custom scripts (*.js), HTML help files (*.htm, *.html), as well as page templates (*.tpl) and other supported file formats. When a module is deployed at the client, developers face two sequential problems.

  1. Synchronization/Update. With each new project build it is required to synchronize files and folders on customers' TeamWox servers. Adding new, deleting obsolete, updating changed folders and files - all these require a series of operations that must be checked for success. Accordingly, the more such operations, the greater the probability of errors.

  2. Backup. To perform backup a TeamWox server must be stopped, so that users won't be able to work with the system. For this operation to affect the smallest possible number of users, it is usually performed at night. But even at this time, users located in other time zones can work with TeamWox. To minimize the downtime, the backups should be performed as quickly as possible. In fact, it is impossible for lots of small files.

TeamWox developers initially decided to store resources in compressed state. Each module (in addition to its DLL) includes only one archive with resources. So, the first problem is narrowed to updating just one file, and the second is solved significantly faster, as with one large file is copied faster than many small ones with the same overall size. As a result, both tasks are resolved much simpler, faster and reliable.

To create an archive with module's resources you should use command-line utility ResPacker.exe, that is a part of TeamWox SDK. This is the demand, that comes from TeamWox developers. Name and file extension are strictly fixed - res.dat - since the file is handled by TeamWox server, not by module.

Processing of res.dat file has an absolute priority compared to uncompressed resources. A folder with module DLL can simultaneously contain res.dat file and resources folder (e.g. \res), registered in the IServer::VirtualPathRegister method implementation. First, the res.dat file will be processed and only then (if the file doesn't contain any resources or if the file is corrupted) the server will look for resources in the \res folder.

The res.dat file preserves the structure of folders and files (relative to module DLL) - the server processes them the same way as if they were uncompressed on the disk.

Using ResPacker

By default ResPacker is installed in the TeamWox SDK\bin folder. This command line utility has concise, but self-sufficient help. Utility supports two modes of operation - packing folders into archive (the /pack switch) and unpacking resources from archive (the /unpack switch). Consider them on example of the Hello World module. Its DLL is located in the "C:\Program Files\TeamWox\modules\helloworld\" folder, and the resources - in the \res subfolder. 

1. Packing Resources. As an arguments, specify the /pack switch, then the colon, then the path to module DLL in quotes, the space and the filename res.dat. As a result of running this command ResPacker utility will creates res.dat file.

"C:\Program Files\TeamWox SDK\bin\respacker.exe" /pack:"C:\Program Files\TeamWox\modules\helloworld" res.dat
ResPacker filters out resource files, skipping DLL and other extensions not related to resources.

2. Unpacking Resources. To unpack specify the /unpack switch, then the colon, the path to folder, in which you want to extract resources, the space and the filename res.dat. As a result of running this command ResPacker utility will unpack res.dat contents into specified folder.

"C:\Program Files\TeamWox SDK\bin\respacker.exe" /unpack:"C:\Tmp" "C:\Program Files\TeamWox\modules\helloworld\res.dat"
This mode is used if you want to learn the details of other modules, including ones from standard delivery.  

If you execute this command directly from the folder with module DLL, it is enough to specify the dot (.) instead of full path. In addition, it is recommended to add the path to respacker.exe into the Path environment variable for more convenient usage of this utility.

Adding ResPacker Utility into Environment Variable

Additional Configuration of Visual Studio Project

You should use ResPacker only to compile the final version of your module (the Release configuration). To do this, in project settings you must add the console command, that will be executed after module compilation (the Post-Build Event). For the Hello World module and other modules included in TeamWox SDK this setting is already set.  

Packaging Resources After Compiling the Hello World Module Project


Conclusion

The two parts of this article, we have considered important issues that arise in custom modules development for the TeamWox groupware. You've learned how to properly set up module's environment, what resources are and how to efficiently store and maintain them, how to add widgets and hints with user commands.


helloworld-setupenvironment-part2-en.zip (246,92 KB)

Πέμπτη, 28 Απριλίου 2011

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