Yes, I am still using AntTweakBar. As you might know, the development of AntTweakBar is discontinued. At some point in the future, I will switch. Currently, I consider imgui the best successor. But I haven’t had time to look into imgui. So, when I resurrected an old small tool of mine, it still used ATB, and I did not want to recode all of this. But out of “because-I-can,” I decided  to update all dependencies to their newest versions. As a result the ATB integration with GLFW 3 did not work any longer. A couple of callback functions where changed between GLFW 2 and GLFW 3. I ended up rewriting my glue code between those two libraries.

Here it is, if any of you ever come across the same issue. First the callbacks:

static void keyCallback(GLFWwindow* window, int key, int scancode, int action, int mods)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  if (action == GLFW_PRESS || action == GLFW_REPEAT)
  {
    int twMod = 0;
    bool ctrl;
    if (mods & GLFW_MOD_SHIFT) twMod |= TW_KMOD_SHIFT;
    if (ctrl = (mods & GLFW_MOD_CONTROL)) twMod |= TW_KMOD_CTRL;
    if (mods & GLFW_MOD_ALT) twMod |= TW_KMOD_ALT;

    int twKey = 0;
    switch (key)
    {
    case GLFW_KEY_BACKSPACE: twKey = TW_KEY_BACKSPACE; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_TAB: twKey = TW_KEY_TAB; break;
    //case GLFW_KEY_???: twKey = TW_KEY_CLEAR; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_ENTER: twKey = TW_KEY_RETURN; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_PAUSE: twKey = TW_KEY_PAUSE; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_ESCAPE: twKey = TW_KEY_ESCAPE; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_SPACE: twKey = TW_KEY_SPACE; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_DELETE: twKey = TW_KEY_DELETE; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_UP: twKey = TW_KEY_UP; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_DOWN: twKey = TW_KEY_DOWN; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_RIGHT: twKey = TW_KEY_RIGHT; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_LEFT: twKey = TW_KEY_LEFT; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_INSERT: twKey = TW_KEY_INSERT; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_HOME: twKey = TW_KEY_HOME; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_END: twKey = TW_KEY_END; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_PAGE_UP: twKey = TW_KEY_PAGE_UP; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_PAGE_DOWN: twKey = TW_KEY_PAGE_DOWN; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F1: twKey = TW_KEY_F1; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F2: twKey = TW_KEY_F2; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F3: twKey = TW_KEY_F3; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F4: twKey = TW_KEY_F4; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F5: twKey = TW_KEY_F5; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F6: twKey = TW_KEY_F6; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F7: twKey = TW_KEY_F7; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F8: twKey = TW_KEY_F8; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F9: twKey = TW_KEY_F9; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F10: twKey = TW_KEY_F10; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F11: twKey = TW_KEY_F11; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F12: twKey = TW_KEY_F12; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F13: twKey = TW_KEY_F13; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F14: twKey = TW_KEY_F14; break;
    case GLFW_KEY_F15: twKey = TW_KEY_F15; break;
    }
    if (twKey == 0 && ctrl && key < 128)
    {
      twKey = key;
    }
    if (twKey != 0)
    {
      if (::TwKeyPressed(twKey, twMod)) return;
    }
  }
#endif
}

static void charCallback(GLFWwindow* window, unsigned int key)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  if (::TwKeyPressed(key, 0)) return;
#endif
}

static void mousebuttonCallback(GLFWwindow* window, int button, int action, int mods)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  if (::TwEventMouseButtonGLFW(button, action)) return;
#endif
}

static void mousePosCallback(GLFWwindow* window, double xpos, double ypos)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  if (::TwEventMousePosGLFW((int)xpos, (int)ypos)) return;
#endif
}

static void mouseScrollCallback(GLFWwindow* window, double xoffset, double yoffset)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  static double pos = 0;
  pos += yoffset;
  if (::TwEventMouseWheelGLFW((int)pos)) return;
#endif
}

static void resizeCallback(GLFWwindow* window, int width, int height)
{
#ifdef HAS_ANTTWEAK_BAR
  ::TwWindowSize(width, height);
#endif
}

Of course, you can omit the #ifdefs if you don’t care. Add your own codes to the functions after ATB has been handled.

Then, it’s just your typical initialization of GLFW callbacks:

::glfwSetKeyCallback(window, keyCallback);
::glfwSetCharCallback(window, charCallback);
::glfwSetMouseButtonCallback(window, mousebuttonCallback);
::glfwSetCursorPosCallback(window, mousePosCallback);
::glfwSetScrollCallback(window, mouseScrollCallback);
::glfwSetWindowSizeCallback(window, resizeCallback);
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HtmlAgilityPackAs can be read on the internet: HtmlAgilityPack is not for beautiful, aka human readable, html files.

“[…] it’s a ‘by design’ choice.” [https://stackoverflow.com/a/5969074]

So everyone redirects you to some other library.

Now, I am a bit stubborn. I want to use HtmlAgilityPack and I want to have indented, human-readable html files. The magic is within text nodes in the DOM. So, I wrote two utility functions to help me out.

First, to get rid of all unwanted whitespaces. This one might be a bit aggressiv, but it was ok for me:

static private void removeWhitespace(HtmlNode node) {
  foreach (HtmlNode n in node.ChildNodes.ToArray()) {
    if (n.NodeType == HtmlNodeType.Text) {
      if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(n.InnerHtml)) {
        node.RemoveChild(n);
      }
    } else removeWhitespace(n);
  }
}

And, second, to create white spaces for line breaks and indentions:

internal static void beautify(HtmlDocument doc) {
  foreach (var topNode in doc.DocumentNode.ChildNodes.ToArray()) {
    switch (topNode.NodeType) {
      case HtmlNodeType.Comment: {
          HtmlCommentNode cn = (HtmlCommentNode)topNode;
          if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(cn.Comment)) continue;
          if (!cn.Comment.EndsWith("\n")) cn.Comment += "\n";
        } break;
      case HtmlNodeType.Element: {
          beautify(topNode, 0);
          topNode.AppendChild(doc.CreateTextNode("\n"));
          //doc.DocumentNode.InsertAfter(doc.CreateTextNode("\n"), topNode);
        } break;
      case HtmlNodeType.Text:
        break;
      default:
        break;
    }
  }
}

private static bool beautify(HtmlNode node, int level) {
  if (!node.HasChildNodes) return false;

  var children = node.ChildNodes.ToArray();
  bool onlyText = true;
  foreach (var c in children) {
    if (c.NodeType != HtmlNodeType.Text) onlyText = false;
  }
  if (onlyText) return false;

  string nli = "\n" + new string('\t', level);

  foreach (var c in children) {
    node.InsertBefore(node.OwnerDocument.CreateTextNode(nli), c);
    if (c.NodeType == HtmlNodeType.Element) {
      if (c.HasChildNodes) {
        if (beautify(c, level + 1)) {
          c.AppendChild(c.OwnerDocument.CreateTextNode(nli));
        }
      }
    }
  }
  return true;
}

As you might see, the code is pretty hacky. But, it works for me. Maybe, it also works for you, or it can be a starting point.

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WinForms De-Blurred

The Problem

We have projects working with WinForms GUIS. Different Developers work with different Computers, and these have different DPI settings. Every time the Project is opened on a system with different DPIs the WinForms get scaled, which is painfully bad.

Solution Summary

  • Set in your Forms Designer: Font = MS Sans; 11px
  • In the Forms Ctor, after InitializeComponent, set: Font = SystemFonts.DefaultFont
  • Enable DPI-Awareness, either through a manifest or by API function SetProcessDPIAwareness

Solution Details

mmconf_blurless
Make your WinForms GUI less blurry by being DPI aware

A modern Windows approach to High-DPI Displays

More and more Computers get equipped with High-DPI Displays, a trend I like very much. Pixels cannot be small enough. With modern Windows, however, GUI of older Applications get infamously blurry. This is due to Microsoft’s approach for backward-compatibility: applications will be rendered at their native DPI and scaled up to the system’s DPI. This way, the application does not need to know anything about DPI, but user controls will keep a decent size on any setting. While most people hate the blurriness of old GUIs on modern Windows, this approach does make a lot of sense:

  • Backward-Compatibility is instantly given, as nothing changes for the old Applications.
  • The users input experience is retained, as the GUI will keep its apparent size. (Just thing, if you’re old enough, of the original GUI of Winamp, where the buttons in the default skin were sometimes just a few Pixels in size.)
  • (last but not least) for new Applications, Developers hopefully get upset with the blurry look, that they actually invest some time, to do it right!

So, don’t claim it’s all Microsoft’s fault that the GUI of your applications look blurry. Truth is, you were just too lazy to do it right.

Why WinForms?

If you browse the internet in search for how to handle high-DPI settings with WinForms, you are bound to stumble upon a smart-ass telling you to switch to WPF. That person does have a point: WPF is designed to be a GUI for all resolutions. But, that person is also an idiot. Don’t bother discussing.

If you decided to use WinForms, then use WinForms. It is not deprecated, it is not legacy, it is not broken. There are good reasons to use WinForms. One, for example, would be the nice compatibility with Mono (Linux and MacOS). Another one would be compatibility with native GUI controls. Whatever your reason is, don’t let other people easily throw you off track.

If you’re not fixed on WinForms, but want to write a new Application for Windows, then have a look at WPF.

Why does Visual Studio Scale?

Normally Windows works at 96 DPI. That is, you need 96 pixels to fill up one inch of screen space. On a higher setting, let’s say 144 DPI, you need 144 pixels. So, either your GUI elements will look smaller, or your GUI elements must be larger to look the same. Modern graphical content is thus not described in pixels, but often in points (pt). Points are defined as 1/72 inch, that is in screen space, and not in pixels.

WinForms is not a modern GUI. All Elements are designed with pixels. However, higher DPI settings were present in Windows for a long time (accessibility feature). WinForms answers to this by having a mechanism to scale the whole GUI ‘manually’. If a scaling factor different from one is determined, all GUI elements, positions, sizes, etc., are multiplied by that factor, including the overall size of the window. By default, this scaling factor is determined comparing the Font settings of the form. Fonts are usually specified with a size in pt. Windows computes the font size in pixels based on the active DPI value. If WinForms now detects a mismatch between the pixel-based font sizes between design-time specifications and run-time evaluation, the form and all content is scaled. And this is exactly what happens in the Visual Studio Windows Forms designer.

Visual Studio does basically nothing at all. However, the font size evaluation is based on the system’s DPI setting. So on high-DPI systems, the font’s pixel size will be different from the stored design-time pixel size, and thus the whole form will be scaled accordingly. That is a good idea at run-time. I mean, that is the whole point of this mechanism. However, we are still at design time. The problem raises, because the Forms designer in Visual Studio actually runs the WinForms engine. As now all GUI elements change their sizes, the designer is informed (likely by the normal events) and adjusts all generated code to the new sizes and locations. This is, of course, ugly, painful and stupid, if you are going to continue the development on another machine with another, maybe, lower DPI setting.

Disable Scaling at Design-Time, Enable Scaling at Run-Time

What I am writing here is not a premium solution. It is the workaround I found for myself to work best.

The basic idea is to (manually) disable scaling at design time, and to (manually) enable scaling at run time.

I write scaling, but what we actually change is the Font!

Keep the Form’s AutoScaleMode = Font. That setting is correct and is not the problem at all. The problem is the automatically used font. It is the system’s default font, which specifies its size in pt. Again, a good idea at run time. What we change is the Font setting of the Form, to specify the size in pixels.

In the Designer, set the Font to: Microsoft Sans Serif; 11px

Windows default Font is Microsoft San Serif 8 pt. according to MSDN. Actually, it seems more like 8.25 pt. So this is 8.25/72 inch, which finally results in 8.25 * 96/72 = 11 pixel on a normal DPI system. That is why you set the font to this painfully small looking value. It is the right one! Now edit your GUI on all systems you have. Your Forms will not be scaled by Visual Studio any more. So, design time is fixed.

Now for the run time. That one is easy, too. All we need to do is to ‘reset’ the Form’s font to have its size specified in pt. again. The easiest way to do that is to reassign the system’s default font. Just set it in the constructor, right after InitializeComponent:

Font = SystemFonts.DefaultFont;

This, of course, only works if you are on a system where the system’s default font is as expected, and only if you do not change fonts for the controls inside your form. If you did change some control’s font, you specify the font with pixel size for design time and you update these at run time initialization to use pt.-based sizes again.

Scalable GUI Design

And that is that. If your application is already DPI aware, your forms will now scale nicely. That is, if you designed them correctly.

  • You should not mix docking-based and anchor-based design in the same form. That is bound to produce weird scaling issues.
  • You must use either, otherwise the controls will just randomly shift somewhere.
  • Be aware that the control might no longer fit into your Form, due to the maximum window size. Use flowing layout containers and auto scrollbars.

Enable DPI Awareness

All that, of course, only makes any sense if you enable DPI awareness for your application. There are basically two options:

Manifest-Segment I use:

<application xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3">
  <windowsSettings>
    <dpiAware xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">true</dpiAware>
  </windowsSettings>
</application>

Code I use:

[DllImport("SHCore.dll")]
private static extern bool SetProcessDpiAwareness(PROCESS_DPI_AWARENESS awareness);

private enum PROCESS_DPI_AWARENESS {
    Process_DPI_Unaware = 0,
    Process_System_DPI_Aware = 1,
    Process_Per_Monitor_DPI_Aware = 2
}

[DllImport("user32.dll", SetLastError = true)]
static extern bool SetProcessDPIAware();

internal static void TryEnableDPIAware() {
    try {
        SetProcessDpiAwareness(PROCESS_DPI_AWARENESS.Process_Per_Monitor_DPI_Aware);
    } catch {
        try { // fallback, use (simpler) internal function
            SetProcessDPIAware();
        } catch { }
    }
}

Maybe, you know, that modern Windows can be even more complicated by per-monitor DPI settings. The idea is, that attached external screens have different sizes and resolutions, and should thus be handled with different DPIs. The good news is: this approach here works instantly with per-monitor DPI. When the form is dragged onto another monitor, the system automatically adjusts the font setting, as the font size is at run time specified in points. This automatically triggers a rescaling of the form. Wheee!

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Simple computer graphics demos are often developed as console applications. Having the console window is simply convenient for debug output. However, if we then show these demos on our stereo powerwall, the console window flashing on program start is massively disturbing. That is why I take some time and wrote a little tool. It starts the console application, hides the console window, but captures the output. This way, we can still check what happened if something does not work.

I present the HiddenConsole:

HiddenConsole.zipHiddenConsole.zip Application starter hiding the console window
[55.3 KB; MD5: 848cbd8aa901fe38be8179d65b6d2162; More Info]

And, because I can, the source is freely available:

https://bitbucket.org/sgrottel-uni/hiddenconsole

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Most new data sets for my scientific visualization find their way to my desk in form of arbitrarily structures text files. This is not really a problem. The first sensible step is converting them into a fast binary format for the visual analysis. With this, however, I face the problem of understanding the structure of 11 Gigabytes text files (no exaggeration here!). But, such files do have structure. So, only the few first and few last lines really matter. The bits in-between will be roughly the same way. What I need are the Linux-known commands “head” and “tail”. However, I am a Windows guy. So? The Powershell comes to the rescue:

gc log.txt | select -first 10 # head
gc log.txt | select -last 10 # tail

I found these on: http://stackoverflow.com/a/9682594 (where else)

At least the “head” version was fast and sufficient for me. I am happy.

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Today I am presenting another small tool of mine: the ShutdownPlannerGUI

ShutdownPlannerGUI.zipShutdownPlannerGUI.zip Simple GUI for planned Shutdowns of MS Windows
[188 KB; MD5: 45cb64eef13ea47e98a7dcde0773e6f1; More Info]

The basic idea is simple: it is a small GUI, slapped together in C#, around the Shutdown command-line utility. It is about the timer, specifying when the system is going to shut down. The GUI provides several text boxes to conveniently enter the time in hours, minutes and seconds. And that is it.

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Once again, it is time for one of my little tools, which the world does not need (but I do). The idea is simple: think of a series of files in one directory, e.g. music files of a audio book or video files of a TV series. Every once in a while you watch/listen to one of the files and days later you do not remember, which was the last file you have seen. My tool registers to the context menu of the Windows Explorer and provides a simply way of setting a bookmark at the file in the directory. The bookmark is an empty file with the same name, additionally using an extra file name extension). The whole thing is no shell extension, but a simple, normal DotNet application which writes to the right places in the registry. Simple, not elegant, but working.

FileBookmark.zipFileBookmark.zip File Bookmark Utility
[91.2 KB; MD5: bd58a615775c9897ae82536bb678b05b; More Info]

And, just because I can, here is the source code::

FileBookmark_src.zipFileBookmark_src.zip File Bookmark Utility Source Code
[60.2 KB; MD5: 84071f778ccb81b0c39101577a3fa204; More Info]

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Software should solve problems. Sometimes this is the case.

I had a problem:

I have a somewhat older convertible laptop, an ASUS Aspire 1820PT. A nice and cheap convertible of it’s time. With touch screen support for up to two fingers and with an acceptable computational power. I have upgraded it in the meantime with an SSD and I am now running Windows 8. So far so good. The problem, however, is that the tilt sensor is no longer supported by Windows 8. 🙁

So I needed a solution. Hacking drivers or even writing drivers myself is not up my alley. I am an application developer. But, if something does not work automatically (anymore), we just need to make the manual use as comfortable as possible. That’s why I wrote a tiny tool: the DisplayRotator.

The idea is simple: the tool is attached to the taskbar. As soon as it is started it shows DisplayRotatorScreena simple window with four buttons for the four possible display rotation settings. Press one of these buttons and the display settings are changed accordingly. With this, I can setup my desktop orientation of my convertible with two clicks, even two tapps with my finger, and rotate the desktop aynway I like.

DisplayRotator.zipDisplayRotator.zip Display Rotation Tool
[152 KB; MD5: 07c3efddd05a98bf4d02db595b87f2fe; More Info]

And, because I can, the zip also contains the source code of the tool. It is written in C# and naturally uses the Windows API to change the display settings. Nice and easy. With the same code basis all display settings can be changes, like screen resolution and refresh rate. Even detaching or attaching monitors to the desktop is possible. Ok, the code for these functions is not in the tool, but the API calls are the same.

Maybe the tool can be of use to someone else too.

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While I was coding for Mr. Burns 3 config-dialog window I realised that I made a silly mistake in the GUI of Dib. Sometimes, reading or writing the desktop icon information takes several seconds and the Dib GUI did not show that the program was still busy. I mean, how stupid is that.

Dib.1.3.15.0.zipDib.1.3.15.0.zip Desktop Icon Backup
There is a newer Version of this File available
[377 KB; MD5: 82bb2c82aeaf070412c40192fbe3390e; More Info]

So I loaded the Dib project and made this little change (less than 30 minutes of work). Therefore, here it is: a mini update for Dib.

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