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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

When your license check is faulty and causes customers to loose work you a cardinal sin

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/02/04

I wrote about this before, named it a cardinal sin too, but I seem to have to repeat this:

When your product thinks the license is validate and quits without allowing the customer to save its work, then you’ve committed a cardinal sin.

Yes, I can talk about cardinal sins: I’ve been named after the artist Hieronymus Bosch (:

For me it is OK if a product checks for binaries that do not to the product (and not signed by the vendor) in the product directories and fails to start, or to present a nag screen that takes a while to disappear, or even to limit functionality.


  1. The product should always tell why the license check failed.
  2. The product never can force the customer to loose work.
  3. The documentation should show failure situations (not just the OK counterparts).

Given some recent posts and the fact that over the course of 10 different versions I lost days of work and at conferences I usually get multiple questions from people having suffered from this, I really had to bring this up again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Delphi, Development, Licensing, Software Development | 6 Comments »

Some links and references to IBM CUA: Common User Access which defines a lot of the UIs and UX we still use.

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/02/04

Back in the late 80s and early 90s of last century, engineers Richard E. Berry, Cliff J. Reeves set a standard that still influences the user interfaces and user experience of today: the IBM Common User Access.

I mentioned CUA a few times before, but since an old client of mine managed to throw away their paper originals in a “we don’t need that old stuff any more as we are now all digital” frenzy, I wanted to locate some PDFs. And I promised to write more about CUA.

If anyone has printed versions of the non-PDF documents below, please donate them to aek at or scanning at as they are really hard to get.

A few search queries I used:

The PDFs I think are most interesting:

And these non-PDFs (some via IBM Library Server Library):

ACM links:



Posted in, Development, History, IBM SAA CUA, Software Development, UI Design, Usability, User Experience | 2 Comments »

Windows Vista/7/8/… hangs for Windows Common dialogs when your COM initialisation is wrong

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/02/03

A while ago I bumped into this: As of Windows 7 (and probably Vista), the standard Windows Common Item (Open and Save) Dialogs expect the main thread to be initialised with STA because it is easier to support apartment threading in single-threaded apartments because COM provides synchronization on a per-call basis and the Windows GUI APIs are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows XP and Server 2003 didn’t enforce this for the classic Windows Open and Save Dialogs, so it only appeared when the software below got run on Windows 7 in a way too late time frame (but the market share of XP is still high).

The reason is that when using Delphi, the TOpenDialog and TSaveDialog will use the classic Open and Save Dialogs on Windows < Vista and fall-forward to the new Common Item Dialogs handled by TFileOpenDialog and TFileSaveDialog (both will not fall backward).

When you have your COM initialisation done wrong, your application appears to hang. Amidst the plethora of threads started by the COM subsystem, these two dead-lock:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Delphi, Delphi 10 Seattle, Delphi 2007, Delphi 2009, Delphi 2010, Delphi XE, Delphi XE2, Delphi XE3, Delphi XE4, Delphi XE5, Delphi XE6, Delphi XE7, Delphi XE8, Development, Software Development | 2 Comments »

Get the full exe path name of running processes.

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/02/03

Every once in a while, I need to see which EXE paths.

In this particular case, I wanted to see which Spring.Tests unit tests instances of Sprnig4D werere running.

This case I needed to see which DevEnv were running (because somehow I got my .csproj bindings wrong).

Since tasklist nor pslist would cut it, I wrote two small batch files:


PowerShell to the rescue here: Both use the PowerShell Get-Process cmdlet.

First I used Get-Member to see what Get-Process could return:

PowerShell Get-Process ^| Get-Member

Then I filtered the Path from Get-Process to figure out which Spring.Tests processes were running:

PowerShell Get-Process Spring.Tests ^| Format-List Path

resulting in:

Path : C:\Users\Developer\Versioned\Spring4D\Tests\Bin\DelphiXE\Spring.Tests.exe

The second batch file escapes the pipe (|) by using a carret (^), so it is passed from the command-line to PowerShell.


Posted in CommandLine, Development, PowerShell, Software Development | 2 Comments »

Windows: removing file and directory reparse points (symbolic links, directory links, junctions, hard links)

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/02/02

The interwebs is full of posts telling about how to create file and directory junctions**.

But there is little information about removing them and even less being correct: some suggest to del a directory junction (which just deletes everything in it but the junction).

Finally there is little information about listing all junctions, so lets start with that:

Deleting a link depends on the kind of link, not the kind of source.

Since symlink and hardlinks are for files, and directory symlink and junctions are for directories, this is how:

  • Delete a file symlink or hardlink by using DEL.
  • Delete a directory symlink or junction using RMDIR.

SysInternals – I wrote about them before – has a great junction tool. It can be used to create, delete and (optionally recursively) list reparse points. All usages allow for file and directory junctions.

More about reparse points

This is about the **: actually they are reparse points; for files they are symlinks, for directories mostly junctions, but sometimes symlinks.

And actually the reason I wrote this blog post. As you also have hardlinks. Some combinations of files and directories with these kinds of links fail.

Lets first go to see what kind of links there are on a fresh Windows system.

This is the only directory symlink: C:\Users\All Users and junction will show it like this:

.\\?\C:\\Users\All Users: SYMBOLIC LINK
   Print Name     : C:\ProgramData
   Substitute Name: \??\C:\ProgramData

It is unlike this directory junction C:\Users\Default User which junction will show as this:

\\?\C:\\Users\Default User: JUNCTION
   Print Name     : C:\Users\Default
   Substitute Name: C:\Users\Default

Together with C:\Users\Default and C:\Users\desktop.ini they are hidden, so you need the /AH flag to show them using DIR (as a gist, since WordPress still screws up less than and greater than):

When you look at the examples below, it is odd to see that C:\Users\All Users is a SYMLINK and not a SYMLINKD as it points to a directory.

And yes, there are not so and very subtle differences between SYMLINKD and JUNCTION.

Lets show some examples.

The examples are hopefully more complete than the complete guide.

Since symlinks are client side created and not verified until use, you can actually use mklink to create both file and directory symbolic links for a file. DIR shows them as SYMLINK or SYMLINKD.

A SYMLINK to a file actually works, but a SYMLINKD or JUNCTION to a file gives you an Access Denied error. Hardlinks get the attributes of the source (so delete hidden hardlinks using the DEL /AH option).

Example batch file:

Example output:

When you try this for directories, you are in for a few small surprises.

A SYMLINK to a directory neither works as file nor as directory. A SYMLINKD or JUNCTION to a directory works. Hardlinks don’t work for directories with reason: limit the risk of cycles.

Example batch file:

Example output:


  • symlink and hardlink can be used as files, but not as directories.
  • files referenced through symlinkd and junction behave as empty directories.
  • symlinkd and junction can be used as directories, but not as files.
  • directories referenced as symlink are not usable.
  • directories cannot function as hardlink source.
  • hardlinks to files inherited their attributes.


Posted in Batch-Files, Development, Scripting, Software Development | 2 Comments »


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