Since upgrading to 2019r2 Ive been having sporadic reports of errors when saving to files in some of my apps. I posted 4 days ago about one where a folderitem that isnt created yet was treated like a text path.
The real problem is actually much worse than that! Even of the file does exist and any folder in the path changes its name then all folderitems referencing anything downstream of that are broken and will result in an error if you try to use it.
In my case I am managing a folder structure inside a bundled document. I change some of the folder names in order to make it easier for the user to know where things are. Even renaming the document folder now breaks every folderitem reference inside that folder. I dont believe Im the only one keeping folderitem references around. Previous to 2019r2 a folderitem know what its parent folder was even if the parent folder changed its name. After 2019r2 changing any folder in the path results in the folderitem become invalid.
Please do this little test and tell me Im not crazy:
// create the parent folder
Dim f1 As FolderItem = SpecialFolder.Desktop.Child( “starting test folder”)
// create a child file and write something to it
Dim f2 As FolderItem = f1.Child( “inside the parent folder”)
Dim b As BinaryStream = BinaryStream.Create( f2, True)
// if you stop here everything is good, now rename the parent folder
f1.name = changed name
// and attempt to access the f2 folderitem it will cause an io exception
// error happens on next line when running in 2019r2
b = BinaryStream.Create( f2, True)
b.write( “hello again”)
I consider this a serious issue as its going to break code that has worked fine since the down of Xojo and yet it may not immediately show up in testing. Like me it may not show up until you ship code to users and they start to work with it. Luckily I can take my pre-API2 project back to 2019r1.1 and rebuild it from there in the meantime.
I find this totally fascinating. I’ve actually been dealing with “this issue” for several years, ever since Apple changed the basis on how files are handled in the OS - not in Xojo per se, but other apps. I guess this is what Sam means by “NSURL”.
Sam, if you can agree or correct me, it’s like Apple steered away from using HFS “close to the metal” as far as determining all-things-file-related - whether it exists, how big it is, what it’s named, what type it is, searching and cataloging, etc. It’s like now it’s database-like, perhaps Spotlight etc.
The instances I mention are that I’ve caught a Mac red-handed where you ask if a file exists, the API says it doesn’t but it does.
More to the point, I am using Xojo 2019r1.1 and for this very reason I’m afraid to go to 2019r2 because API 2.0 seems to use all these “up-to-date” Apple functions under the hood, and they frankly are unreliable.
So, in one way Xojo is trying to keep pace with Apple (a good thing) at the cost of things not working as solidly as they used to (not good). So it’s not Xojo’s “fault”, but I really hate this New Brave World where the file system cannot be relied upon.
I think this is horrible from Apple. If I wanted to use text paths everywhere Id just save the shellPath into a string. Whats the point of a folderitem object at all then? Thats really besides the point. Its a HUGE departure from the behavior of the previous version that breaks existing code in insidious ways that you wont find all of in your first round of testing and there is no documentation that describes this danger that I can see.
I have used code that saved off folderitems since Xojo was RealBasic was CrossBasic. The point of API2.0 was to make my old projects load up and work in the new version without my having to do anything until I was ready to switch them to API2.0.
This breaks them horribly. Ive been happily working in r2 but I cant anymore. The amount of testing to make this work will be huge.
This is not how the folderitem class works on windows or Linux is it? Which makes that not cross platform. Im knocking off for the day but Ill play with that tomorrow. I did just read through the documentation for folderitem and the only change noted with this shift to the new API is that there was a fix that let you have question marks in the name where that would previously have truncated the name at that point.
folderitem should work the same on all targets and it no longer does. If fixing it is not practical then there needs to be a whole lot of documentation describing the exact changes and how to work around them. I cant think of any straight forward ways to do so right now. I could make my own replacement classes that held some kind of links to their parent class and all the childs created so that it is possible to walk up the chain from any child to re-create the path. That way if you rename any in your xojo code the children would still be able to resolve themselves. That doesnt isolate you from the event of the user changing the name of one of the encompassing folders, or even the name of the drive which people rename all the time.
I have to use NSURL a lot to get at some of the stuff I use and for the App Sandbox. I can only make assumptions based on experiences.
Bookmarks are recommended way of storing a reference to a file. The idea is that store the bookmark in memory, when you need that file, you resolve it to a NSURL pass that to the API.
I would say these Bookmarks are about 70% reliable. For most users these seem to work, except when they dont. Apple give you zero information when they fail, so you dont even know the name of the file. So you have to store a backup path for when they fail.
I also have reports from customers that OS updates can hose them, but personally Ive not witnessed this. I also have reports of people moving a lower level folder or renaming it, hoses them. Again Ive personally witnesses this, except for when my wife moved a bunch of stuff to an external drive.
There is one huge advantage NSURL has; in that you can build a complex path, if the file doesnt exist, you can ask the OS to create the entire path for you, which is nice.
I do recall that in the past there was a way to get the ID of the file and the ID of the volume it resides on. Which IMHO is a pretty elegant way of storing a referefence to a file (along with meta data incase its missing). However I can only find a way to get the VolumeUUID with NSURL (which only works for Apple formatted volumes). There is a unique idetenfier for the file, but this changes everytime the file is modified.
Edit: this is only what Ive noticed, it may exist and Ive simply not noticed it.
heh, except that if you do that with the current system it would re-create the path that it had before one of the parent folders was renamed So now youve got the newly renamed folder with no data file in it and then next to it a new folder with the old name and the data file in it… thats not exactly the behavior that anyone would want I dont think.
I’ll admit that in your circumstance it doesn’t help, but I have started to use it myself when creating a new document package, as I don’t need to create the entire folder structure to write a single file.
In regards to your issue; I can only suggests experimenting with Bookmarks; but I also caution you to store enough meta data in-case the thing goes wonky, at least you can display the name of the file to the user, they can then use spotlight to figure out where they moved it too. I personally wouldn’t recommend using Spotlight in code, it can return multiple results and with Apple’s focus on “Security” the user may not be able to open the file directly from within your application.
Not ideal, but it’s all I can think of right now, that offer a glimmer of help/hope.
[quote=463100:@Philip Cumpston]Need to reset f2 to point to f1 after changing the name
yes but before 2019r2 you didnt need to do this and there is no indication anywhere that this behavior had changed until I started getting errors. Even if the change is a simple fix you cant fix it or plan for how much time it will take to fix it or how much it will cost you to fix it if you dont know that it needs fixing
That example was the simplest form I could build to demonstrate the problem. The real problem in real code is more difficult with many hooks and changes that need to get tested. I can describe my real world situation. You create a new document which is stored inside a root folder. Each document gets its own folder. That folder is initially created with a temporary UUID type file name. Inside that folder is a binary data file that describes the document. Another binary file that contains keyed data entries related to the object. Then there are 2 folders for scripts. Inside those script folders are a binary file containing the compiled script data, a file containing the script text before compiling. A backup file of the compiled script data. A keyed data file containing script context information and 5 more files containing the text of the script at the last 5 compiles so that you can revert to previous working versions of the script if you hose it up. All this is one document inside the bundle. So Ive got the document object which hold a reference to its folderitem inside which all of its data is stored. Then another folder item for the binary data, another for the keyed value data file and 2 more for the 2 script folders. The keyed data is loaded and parsed by a separate class that the document holds a reference to. It also needs to know its output file and once loaded or created just keeps a reference to that. The 2 scripts are managed by objects in xojo as well. They store a reference to their root folder, which is the document folder, and then also to their own compiled script file, backup script text, script text and keyed data context file which is managed by yet another object that it holes a reference to that knows about the file its supposed to write to.
Now the user renames the document and ALL that structure is instantly broken and must be rebuilt. Its certainly possible to do so but in the real world its not just 2 lines of code its hours of testing in a complex environment that has worked perfectly this way since 2005 or so when I started this project
None of these problems are insurmountable, but if you dont know about this new gotcha its going to get you.
its been a long time since I looked into the guts of the folderitem impelmentation of the Xojo framework which was much more modern than the old desktop framework code
dont know if its been even updated again since then
either way I think, as you note, there is a way to get a URL that does track the file if the name changes or if the path changes
based on the posts so far I would guess thats not whats being used