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Europa Preliminary Release 21 — 6.2b21 (5897) Companion TLW
Notice: Helix RADE 6.2 is now available only for Intel-based Macs.
Helix RADE changes since 6.2b20 (5887)

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New and Improved Features

Abacus Editor

The Abacus Editor is now fully enabled, with features added to make editing an abacus more efficient…

Terminology Change: The abacus inputs, which were formerly refered to as black holes are now refered to as sockets. This new term is used throughout these release notes.

Restored feature: Edit Via Drag and Drop: With an abacus editor window open, the Element Panel now shows the tiles, fields and abaci that can be used to create an abacus.

Icons can be dragged into an abacus editor from any valid location. Fields, abaci, templates and relations can be dragged directly from the relation and collection windows; tiles, fields and abaci from the Element Panel.

The Element Panel currently shows the tiles using their textual representation as seen in the Abacus Expression Language. A future release will provide graphic tiles.

New feature: Edit Via Inspector: With an abacus editor window active, clicking on a tile shows the properties of that tile in the Inspector. You can switch the icon in any socket by choosing a new one from the appropriate popup.

For sockets that can contain a constant, the Inspector contains an Enter Constant choice at the top of the popup. Choosing this opens a dialog where the constant and its datatype can be entered.

A socket can be undefined by choosing the == none == item at the top of the popup.

When a Styled Text tile is selected, the Inspector includes a Font property that is used to specify the font, size, and color of the tile’s output.

When a tile that retrieves data from another relation is selected, the Inspector shows only the popups that can logically be defined at the current stage. For example, when a Lookup ◊ for ◊ = ◊ in ◊ tile is selected, only the third and fourth sockets appear in the Inspector. The last socket appears first, since it must be filled in before either of the first two sockets can be defined. The third socket appears because it is defined from the local relation.

A future revision will replace the generic ‘first’ … ‘last’ socket names with meaningful titles.

The popup menus only display the logical icon candidates for each socket, based on the contents of other sockets.

New feature: Direct Access to Contents: Icons within an abacus can now be selected, providing direct access to various options for those icons.

When an icon is selected, the Inspector displays its properties, making it fully editable without having to locate in another window.

When an icon is selected, the Icon menu displays relevant commands, such as Open Used By Window and Remove Icon.

For icons that have an external editor window, double clicking the icon opens that icon in an editor window.

New feature: Edit Via Menu/Keyboard: Some abacus editing tasks can be performed via menu selection (or by the menu item’s keyboard equivalent):

  • Icons and tiles can be removed from an abacus by selecting them and choosing Remove Object(s) from the Icon menu.

    The exact wording of the menu command is based on the objects selected. Possible names are Remove Tile, Remove Icon, Remove Tile and Icon (along with the plural form of each) and, lastly, Remove All.

  • The tile tree within an abacus can be aligned by choosing the Align Left command from the Icon menu. Holding down the Shift and/or Option keys provides alternative alignment schemes.

    See last month’s Release Notes for more on the alignment options.

  • The Select All (CMD-A) and Clear Selection (Shift-CMD-N) menu items in the Edit menu can be used to select or deselect the contents of the abacus.

New feature: Color Preferences: The abacus editor color scheme is now editable:

  • The HxAbacusTypeColors preference is an array containing 9 arrays of 4 integers each. Each array contains 4 values that represent the red, green, blue, and alpha channels used to represent each of the datatypes as seen in the sockets and arrows of abacus editor windows. The 9 arrays are in this order {Text, Number, Date, Flag, Picture, Document, FixedPoint, StyledText, Other}. (The ‘other’ color is for relation and template icons, which do not have a type.
  • The HxAbacusBackgroundLevel preference is value that represents the percentage of lightening applied to the abacus datatype color. The background is rendered in a lighter tint based on the value stored here. 0 being the same level as the final arrow; 100 being diluted to the point of being white.

See the Helix Preferences List for more details.

Additional Enhancements

  • The shading used for sockets containing a constant is lighter, making them easier to read.
  • The shading used for empty sockets is darker, making them easier to identify.
  • Constants are displayed within a tile using a smaller font, allowing more of the contents to be displayed.
  • Constants now use ‘middle’ truncation, allowing the last few characters of the contents to be displayed.
  • There is now a slight shade behind icon names, making it easier to read long names.
  • The name of a selected icon is now highlighted using the highlight color as defined in the Appearance panel of System Preferences.

General Improvements to Other Areas

  • Helix now uses the System Highlight color (as defined in the Appearance panel of System Preferences) for highlighting when selecting icons, dragging from the Element Panel, etc.
  • R8026: The Abacus Expression Language now allows a colon when a constant is being defined. The specification is that the colon is optional, but previously you could omit it only when specifying an icon. The spec is now consistent in that both icons and constants allow the inclusion or exclusion of the colon when entering it.

    When the abacus is committed, the expression display will conform to the default form, which is to display the colon when defining an icon, but to omit it when defining a constant.

  • R8057: Full Keyboard Access Warning: The dialog that appears when Full Keyboard Access (FKA) is on has been enhanced to also warn of a setting that blocks the ability of Helix to focus on a field in dialogs such as the user login dialog. The Full Keyboard Access Technote has been expanded to explain this new warning and describes what to do about it.

    Because of the new dialog option, the previous preference setting to suppress the dialog is ignored until you (re)check that option. Each of the two variations of this dialog has its own suppression preference.

  • The Gather Icons To Grid option for cleaning up a collection/relation window in Icon View actually works now.

Bug Fixes

General Fixes

  • R----: Helix RADE once again reports minor maintenance with a dialog, unless the preference is set to false. (See Helix Preference Editor for details on setting this preference.)
  • R8018: The Inspector now works correctly when inspecting the collection object
  • R8031: Renaming a template now properly renames the template editor window, no longer crashes
  • R8050: Attempting to create a new tile via Abacus Expression Language no longer crashes
  • R8056: Attempting to move a tile via the Inspector no longer crashes.
  • R8059: Fonts with font id above 32767 are no longer reported as negative numbers
  • R8062: Renaming field or abacus used in a template that is open no longer crashes
  • R8070: Creating a new keyword field by applying a clipping no longer loses the keyword property
  • R8072: Cancelling and immediately restoring a quick query no longer crashes
  • R8072: Changing an entry view’s view query while the view is open no longer crashes


  • R7914: Renaming a template now properly renames the template editor window, no longer crashes
  • R7956: An AppleScript error when getting selection of a window if nothing is selected is fixed
Backward Compatibility

Europa remains backwards compatible with all versions of RADE from 6.0 forward.

Previous Updates

Release Notes for Preliminary Releases

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