A long term project came to delivery just before Christmas 2020:
DynaPDF got a new feature to convert texts to outlines. And it's just a new flag for the Optimize function: ConvTextToOutlines.
The benefit of this conversion is that you can send the PDF to a printer shop and be sure that it will look exactly as you need. No font trouble, no missing fonts and no font rendering issues.
Please note that the process is not reversible. Once the text is converted, the text is gone. Just the look of the text stays, so you need OCR to convert it back to text. Copy & Paste is not possible for outlines, but for some uses this may be desired.
To show you what outlines means, we made this picture:
Based on our GlyphOutline example, we made a variations, which would change color for each line in drawing a character. This way you see the individual segments.
Please contact us if you have questions about DynaPDF, especially when using it with FileMaker or Xojo projects. This feature is available free of charge for all customers with a DynaPDF Pro license valid at least till 23rd December 2020 to include version 18.104.22.168. For MBS plugins, we included it in pr4 and will ship final plugins in January.
We have upcoming tax changes in Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Since the United Kingdom leaved the EU, the EU VAT rules don't apply any more from 1st January 2021. Orders will have to go through the web shop in future and always charge the VAT of currently 20% for customers from United Kingdom.
There is an exception for Ireland. The northern part is in United Kingdom, but still applies the single market rules. So for us the whole island of Ireland is part of the European Union in relation to VAT handling.
We may still be able to write VAT free invoices to businesses (Reverse-Charge) for clients in the United Kingdom, but may need a proof from you for that. A confirmation from HM Revenue and Customs about your company's status as being VAT registered in the United Kingdom may be enough. Having a VAT ID is no longer sufficient alone.
We avoid having to register in individual foreign countries like the United Kingdom. That's one of the key benefits in VAT handling of the EU, that a registration in one country is good for 27 countries.
Clients from United Kingdom can order with old rules within 2020 to get licenses setup before changes apply.
The VAT rate in Germany changes back from 16% to 19%. If you are a person (not a VAT registered company), you can still save 3% tax if you buy in 2020. VAT registered companies reclaim VAT, so there is no benefit from a lower rate.
The country of Ireland temporarily decrease their VAT rate from 23% to 21%. The changed tax rate will be effective from September 1, 2020 until February 28, 2021. Customers in Ireland may order their licenses before 1st March 2021 to benefit from lower tax rate.
Let us know if you have questions. The whole tax scheme is subject to changes as newer laws are passed in parliaments.
From time to time customers complain that Xojo doesn't load plugins. This may include MBS Plugins as well as the included database plugins with Xojo. The reason is simply: Xojo got downloaded from the internet, it gets put in quarantine. But when installing Xojo into your applications folder, the Finder is supposed to remove quarantine. But well, it may not always do so.
When Xojo is quarantined, it can't access the local plugins folder, so the about dialog will be empty: (more)
You may know that recent Xojo versions stopped building for macOS from Windows and Linux. Mainly because Apple's tools to link executables and do code signing are not available for other platforms. See Why building apps for macOS requires a Mac on the Xojo blog or Xojo and cross compiling for macOS in Norman's blog. There is not much to gain with installing macOS only plugins on Windows or Linux to develop in Xojo IDE.
We got a notice that pay later option is available when buying MBS Plugin licenses and paying with Paypal in MyCommerce web shop:
With the launch of Pay in 4, US PayPal users can now select an installment option when placing their MyCommerce order. This “buy now, pay later” option increases payment flexibility and empowers shoppers to make larger purchases over time without adding credit liability or nonpayment risk for the vendor.
In which cases will Pay in 4 be available?
Shoppers can choose the installment payment option if the following conditions are fulfilled:
The shopper using PayPal is located in the USA
The order amount is between 30 and 600 USD
The product is set up with a one-off payment (no subscription product with recurring rebilling)
A credit card account is added to the PayPal account before or during the payment process (Pay in 4 is not available for bank accounts only)
How does Pay in 4 work?
If the above conditions apply, Pay in 4 will be made available automatically when a US customer selects PayPal as payment option and is referred to their PayPal account. There will be no need from your side to activate the option or adapt your shopping cart, and you will incur no additional costs nor need to sign any additional contracts.
For successfully authorized Pay in 4 payments, PayPal will report the full order amount as completed to MyCommerce, and the customer delivery will be triggered directly after order submission. From a customer perspective, PayPal will split their total order amount into 4 interest-free payments every two weeks, over six weeks, with the first payment due with the order submission. As the payment option is offered by PayPal, customers should contact PayPal directly for any questions about their Pay in 4 payment installments.
We highly recommend to watch your credit card balance and not overspend. But if you have to pay interest on your credit card balance, this option may be good to reduce the outstanding balance and reduce the total interest cost. Still you should fund your card regularly and make sure it's paid off in a timely manner.
In the last days we ported our MacOSX plugin part to iOS. For most parts this just means we had to set flags to ignore classes on iOS, e.g. for DVD playback.
But you can soon start and use CommonCrypto classes on iOS to benefit from Apple's accelerated frameworks. As those classes benefit from built-in hardware encryption support, they may be faster than the CipherMBS and DigestMBS classes in our plugin.
If you use Bonjour services to find your applications in the local network, you can now use DNSServiceMetaQueryMBS to find the service types. We use that in our example to find devices in the local network for all kinds of services.
The year 2020 will end in about two weeks. Do you need some more licenses?
You can order licenses now extending into 2021 or later and have invoice, delivery and payment done in 2020. This way you secure the current pricing and the possibility to keep upgradeability for older licenses.
And of course you can order updates for several years in advance for all your MBS products. Standard discounts can be applied like 10% for second year and 20% for third year, just like with Claris.
As all our Xojo and DynaPDF plugin licenses are per developer, you should check if you got a new developer in your team this year and adjust licenses to match team size.
For MBS FileMaker Plugin please check if you have enough license for the number of seats or servers you have in use. If you upgrade to unlimited seats or servers, the plugin won't need to check the usage counts.
Especially if you run on a budget and you want to spend some money in the old year, you can buy updates for several years in advance.
If you need help to decide what Xojo, FileMaker or plugin license you need, we may be able to assist you.
Xojo Inc. just released their latest Xojo update to the public: Download, Release Notes. As usually, some last features or bug fixes didn't fit the schedule for Xojo 2020r2 and some things got discovered after a wider audience tries the product. Once again we are happy to see a bug fix release with about 50 changes.
First and important for us is the fix with building universal macOS applications. It was only a little flag, but if it's set incorrectly, the dylibs fail to load on older macOS versions and in Rosetta on the new Apple Silicon Macs. Now the flags in 2020r1 were correct as the Apple tools produce the same output and Xojo Inc. tested against them. But that output is not correct in the eyes of older macOS versions, which expect different flags. And it caused trouble with Rosetta finding the Intel version of the library. As the issue is now fixed, we can happily create universal apps again.
We recently worked on our FileMappingMBS class for file mappings with sizes above 2 GB. There we discovered issues with the Ptr support in Xojo. The offsets are now calculated with 64-bit values in Xojo 2020r2.1, so they work as expected. Feel free to try with newer plugins (in beta testing).
The fixed for font property in Graphics class help us with our DynaPDF integration for graphics class. You can now pick fonts and have DynaPDF use them for drawing text.
If you plan to support Apple Silicon, this update is a must as it allows you now to produce universal macOS apps for all macOS versions 10.10 to 11.0.
The year 2020 has been very special for everyone. Our party for 20 years has been cancelled, postponed and may be revived at a later date. Not sure if that will be before 25 years is reached.
As a special surprise for customers we ordered 20 nice packages with delicious food. Those are present boxes from Fattoria La Vialla, which is an Italian farm producing organic food in the Toscana. Two weeks ago the palette arrived:
Now we picked 20 customers. A few older, a few newer, a few we know personally, a few we never met so far. Then we checked what would be needed for customs declaration and quickly decided that this may be a challenge. And once we checked postage fees, we decided to limit recipients to Germany. You don't want the cost of postage and customs to exceed the package value. The list was redone and today we sent the last packages on their way.
We hope all 20 packages arrive in good condition and before Christmas. Enjoy and have a merry Christmas time!