14. Apr. 2010 

Concerning 4D, I'm stuck with window-types from last century. No unified-window, no transparent window, no drawers or sidebars, … These days was a discussion concerning Mac window type lately. Time to dig into the SVG documentation. You can make it with SVG. It takes a lot of time to learn SVG, but there is a ton of power there. This lets you create really any kind of interface you want.

That's what brushed metal looked like. From manuals of 4D V11: Metal Look (2048). Brushed metal was ugly and is dead, finally.

Brushed metal was a first design attempt, succeeded by unified-window, finetuned in SnowLeopard. I don't want to jump onto the last carriage of the train, i.e. no window type 2048 for any of my 4Dapps.


Depends on what you want to solve with SVG:

  • how abouts drawing the whole form with SVG.
  • Main question: which editor? The 4D formeditor is a good start, GET FORM OBJECTS and GET OBJECT RECT are my friends. Nearly perfect except I can't get the content of static text (the getters of V12 can't do that either).

    I could find a workaround for that, like using OmniGraffle. Great tool to create SVGs. But then how do I get the fields and variables connected to SVG-objects.

  • If I were drawing my forms with SVG, how abouts handling listboxes, popup-menus myself?
  • Drawing SVG seems easy, see the three circels. Handling of the UI is of tremendous work and torment.

    2010-04-14 16:19ZArbeitsfläche 2Ebene 1

    Just one example: SVG supports highlighting like :hover in CSS. That could help. Try it yourself: hover the circles.

    I tried it in V11.6 and still in 13.3: circles yes, transparency yes, hover no. It's all up to me, no way!* Download SVG for your testing

  • only draw the background as SVG and then MOVE OBJECT.
  • That's an option for user-forms. But then: why not put a PDF in the background and move the enterable fields and vars? Works and prints great in V11 on Mac.

  • Only drawing the window-candy (top left, top right, grow-corner bottom right, …) myself on top of a plain window.
  • But then a user prefers the grey theme and my app is still red, yellow, green. No way.

  • Before I'd go that far, I'll use a different tool than 4D, definitely.


As long as the lowest common denominator is the tent-pole, the UI-development is stuck. That's why we are stuck with 10-year old windows, because Windows™ doesn't know about windows and the plural s is a fake. Metallic window is nearly 10 years old, was new with iTunes 1 in 2001, died in 2005 in favor for unified-window. And that's good!

I'll go where the engine is.

Who cares?

Do my users care? Some do, some don't. I do! Why? It's bad for my eyes and it costs me money: "Your app looks old-fashioned, unsexy!"

PNG in V11

* the PNG-implentation of V11 has a lot of potential. Here the simulation of a transparent window. Enhancing the look of a 4Dapp with PNGs is cheaper, faster and not bad.


Anybody with better looking grey bars for the top? Better graphics are appreciated. Thanks!

4D themes: fresh from the workbench

imagecurrently available in englisch:
NEW: Macros in V12.4
Mission Control and V12

Better machine-translated than non comprende! - Tidy up when done - New kinds of buttons - My own Preferences - DBZ-Calendar component - module-manager and code-blocks - As simple as possible: fulltext-field - V12 and QUERY BY SQL - Updating the User-Interface into today - Rotate Barcodes by 90° - UUID: that special kind of empty - Dynamic Labels - Printing Subforms in V12 - systemtables - structure info - Integrating Addressbook and 4D - SVG and 4D HTML-Tag - Automatic Comments of the Methodeditor - fighting to get ics-files into Outlook - hierarchical lists as datacontainer - UI-changes in V12 - HTML-email and 4D Write - Simple & Lazy - David Dancy … extracting the information that's encoded in a 4D structure file - SVG and 4D - David Adams about Mockup and Wireframing - retrieving MAC-addresses - sampler listbox-templates - Listboxes with footers - Simulating Sub-Pages on Multi-Page Forms - MySQL dump - Dreaming of a rich-text-editor in 4D - iPhone and 4D - email-communication - 4D Write and HTML - Which Web-Editor - Integration of 4D and Web - Cursor-movement in Listboxes - Integrating an Excel-workflow into 4D - Database Photography - Parcels and Ownerinformation atop satellite maps


  • DBZ - Listboxnavigator
  • DBZ - SystemTables
  • DBZ - Calendar
  • 4D Themen: Berichte in Arbeit