Implement front call modules for GMI

Custom front call modules for the iOS front-end are implemented by using the API for GMI front calls in Objective-C.

GMI custom front call basics

In order to extend the GMI with your own front calls, you must be familiar with Objective-C programming, and if you want to interface with iOS Apps, have a knowledge of the iOS API.

Important:

Before starting with GMI front call implementation, you need to get the GMI package and unzip the archive into the FGLDIR directory, as described in the prerequisites sections of Building iOS apps with Genero.

The API for GMI front calls is based on the FrontCall class and the FrontCallHelper and FunctionCall protocols. You can find these in the file frontcall.h in the in the $FGLDIR/include/gmi diretory.

To implement custom front calls, write a class which extends FrontCall and implements the “moduleName” and “execute:retCount:params” methods as well as the “initWithFunctionModuleHelper:” initializer.

Follow these steps to implement a custom front call module for the GMI:
  1. Import the frontcall.h header file in your source.
  2. Define an interface (MyFrontCall) which extends FrontCall.
  3. Create the class (MyFrontCall) which implements this interface:
    1. Implement the - (instancetype) initWithFunctionModuleHelper:(id)aHelper initializer, calling [superinitWithFunctionModuleHelper:aHelper] to pass the FrontCallHelper to the base implementation.
    2. Implement the - (NSString*) moduleName method, returning the name of the front call module.
    3. Implement the - (void)execute:(NSString)name retCount:(int)retCount params:(NSArray)params method, defining the body of your front calls. See below for details about the execute method.

API to implement custom front calls in GMI

To get parameters passed from the Genero program to the front call, and return values from the front call to the Genero program, use the following macros and methods of the FrontCall class:

Table 1. GMI custom front call API
Macro / Method Description
(void) FC_REQUIRED_PARAMS(count)

Checks that the number of parameters passed by the Genero program equals count. This macro will raise an error in the Genero program if not enough parameters were passed.

(NSString *) FC_PARAM(index)

Get the string parameter passed to the front call, at the given position. If the parameters are of a different type, use the doubleValue, floatValue and integerValue methods on NSString or a NSScanner, to convert the parameter to the expected type.

(int) FC_PARAM_INT(index)

Get the int parameter passed to the front call, at the given position.

(void) intResult:(int) intValue

Ends the front call by returning one integer to Genero.

(void) doubleResult:(double) doubleValue

Ends the front call by returning one double to Genero.

(void) stringResult:(NSString * ):stringValue*

Ends the front call by returning one string to Genero.

(void) startResult

Initiate setting multiple result values.

Must be followed by add* function calls and ended with endResult.

(void) addIntResult:(int)intValue

Add an integer to the list of results returned.

To be used after a startResult call.

(void) addDoubleResult:(double) doubleValue

Add a double to the list of results returned.

To be used after a startResult call.

(void) addStringResult:(NSString * ) stringValue*

Add a string to the list of results returned.

To be used after a startResult call.

(void) endResult

Finalize the setting of multiple result values and return the results to the Genero program, with front call error code zero (indicating success).

(void) ok

Ends the front call without returning any value to Genero, indicating that the front call execution was successful.

(void) error(FCErrorCode):error

Ends the front call with a specific front call error code defined in FCErrorCode enum in frontcall.h, to indicate that front call execution failed, typically because of invalid parameters or invalid function name.

(void) errorWithMessage(NSString * )message*

Ends the front call with front call return code -4 (maps to BDL error -6333), and a user-defined error message, that can be read with ERR_GET() in the Genero program.

(void) willSetResultLater

To be called at the end of the execute function, if result values are intended to be set after the execute function does a return.

If the willSetResultLater function is used, the current front call will not end until one of the result functions is called.

For example, if your front call opens a message box, the execute function will return before one of the message box buttons are selected. Once a button is pressed, the front call result value is set.

Calling the custom front call from BDL

In the Genero program, use the ui.Interface.frontCall() API to call the front-end function. This method takes the front call module name as first parameter and the front call function name as second parameter.

The front call module name is defined by the string value returned from the -(NSString * ) moduleName* method of your front call implementation, and the front call function name is passed to the execute method you implemented as first parameter (name).

For example, if you implement the following class:

#import <gmi/frontcall.h>
...

@interface MyFrontCall : FrontCall
   ...
@end

@class MyFrontCall

-(instancetype) initWithFunctionModuleHelper:(id)aHelper
{
   if (self = [superinitWithFunctionModuleHelper:aHelper]) {
      ...
   }
   return self;
}

-(NSString*) moduleName{
   return @"MyModule";
}

-(void)execute:(NSString)name
               retCount:(int)retCount
               params:(NSArray)params
{
   [super execute:name retCount:retCount params:params];
   if ([[name lowercaseString]isEqualToString:@"myfrontcall"]) {
      ...

The Genero program code must pass the module name "MyModule" as front call module name and the class name "MyFrontCall" as front call function name:

CALL ui.Interface.frontCall("MyModule", "MyFrontCall", ["John DOE"],[msg])

Custom front call implementation details (execute method)

First of all, call the execute method of the parent FrontCall class, right at the top of the execute method:
   [super execute:name retCount:retCount params:params];

The execute method must check the name of the front call function passed as parameter, to perform the expected code. This is the function name passed to the ui.Interface.frontCall() call in the Genero program:

   if([[name lowercaseString] isEqualToString:@"myfunction"]) {
Implement the body of the front call function in the if() block as follows:
Add an assert() line, to make sure that the number of return values match:
      assert(retCount == 2);

In order to get the parameters passed from the Genero program, use the FC_* macros in the body of your front call function.

First, check that the number of parameters passed is correct, with the FC_REQUIRED_PARAMS(count) macro:
      FC_REQUIRED_PARAMS(3);
      ...
Retrieve the parameters passed to the front call with the FC_PARAM(index) or FC_PARAM_INT(index) macros, which return a NSString* and an int respectively. If needed, use the doubleValue, floatValue and integerValue methods on NSString or a NSScanner, to convert the parameter to the expected type:
      NSString * info = FC_PARAM(0);
      int v1 = [FC_PARAM(1) integerValue];
      double v2 = [FC_PARAM(2) doubleValue];

Implement the actual code of the front call.

To return values to Genero, use one of the helper methods such as intResult:value, if a single value must be returned to the Genero program. If more than one value must be returned, build a return set with the startResult, add*Result and endResult methods:
    [self startResult];
    [self addIntResult:isIpad];
    [self addIntResult:canLocate];
    [self endResult];
If the front call displays a UI (for example, an UIAlertController or displays a customer UIViewController), call the willSetResultLater method of the FrontCall class, to avoid having the control flow returned to the Genero program upon exit of the execute method:
    [self willSetResultLater];

Additionally, if you call the willSetResultLater method, you need to call one of the result methods like stringResult at a later time.

Deploying the custom front call

The complied Objective-C classes must be included in the iOS app build process.

The same app building rules apply for custom front calls as for C extensions.

See Building iOS apps with Genero for more details.

Example

In this example, the ExtensionFrontCall class implements two front calls: "isipad" and "logindialog".

We start by defining the interface for the custom front call module:

@interface ExtensionFrontCall : FrontCall<UIAlertViewDelegate>
@end

The ExtensionFrontCall class extends FrontCall, and implements the UIAlertViewDelegate protocol which is used by the "logindialog" front call.

Next, we start the implementation of the interface:
@implementation ExtensionFrontCall

-(instancetype) initWithFunctionModuleHelper:(id)aHelper
{
   if (self = [superinitWithFunctionModuleHelper:aHelper]) {
   }
   return self;
}

-(NSString*) moduleName{
   return @"ExtensionFrontCall";
}

-(void)execute:(NSString)name retCount:(int)retCount params:(NSArray)params {
   [super execute:name retCount:retCount params:params];
   ...
}

...
@end

We use the standard initializer which will be called by GMI on start-up and define "ExtensionFrontCall" as module name by returning it from the moduleName method.

We also start the implementation of the execute method by calling the super method.

Front call modules are compiled with the help of Makefile-gmi to a static IOS library and can be tested instantly on the command line with the help of Makefile-gmi. The static library can be either passed as an command line argument to gmibuildtool or placed in the gmi sub directory of a project directory. In both cases GMI detects the extension by enumerating all front call descendant classes upon start-up.
Note:

When using more than one extension module, take care that class names and object/library file names are distinct.

The isipad front call example

This front call simply returns the information on which device GMI is running. If it is an iPad, the integer 1 will be returned to the Genero program:
if ([[name lowercaseString] isEqualToString:@“isipad”]) {
    assert(retCount == 1);
    BOOL isIpad = UI_USER_INTERFACE_IDIOM() == UIUserInterfaceIdiomPad;
    [self startResult];
    [self addIntResult:isIpad];
    [self endResult];
}

After checking that only one return parameter was defined in Genero, the code identifies the platform with the UI_USER_INTERFACE_IDIOM() API and stores the result in the isIpad variable.

The next three lines return the result value to Genero, by starting a result block with startResult, adding an int to the return set with addIntResult, and finally calling endResult to send the result to the Genero program.

The same behavior can be achieved with a single line: [self intResult:isIpad];, since we only return one result value.

The Genero program calls the isIPad front call as follows:
DEFINE res INTEGER
CALL ui.Interface.frontCall( "ExtensionFrontCall", "isipad", [ ], [res] )
The logindialog front call example
This front call displays a log-in dialog to the user. It expects two parameters (the title and the message for the log-in dialog), and returns the log-in name and the password entered by the end user:
if([[name lowercaseString] isEqualToString:@“logindialog”]) {
    assert(retCount == 2);
    FC_REQUIRED_PARAMS(2);
    NSString *title = FC_PARAM(0);
    NSString *message = FC_PARAM(1);
    UIAlertView *alert = [[UIAlertView alloc]
      initWithTitle:title
      message:message
      delegate:self
      cancelButtonTitle:NSLocalizedString(@"Cancel",@"Cancel")
      otherButtonTitles:NSLocalizedString(@"OK",@"OK"),nil];
    alert.alertViewStyle = UIAlertViewStyleLoginAndPasswordInput;
    [alert show];
    [self willSetResultLater];
}

We first check that two result values were set in Genero and that two parameters were supplied to the front call.

Then we use the FC_PARAM macro to fetch the parameters and assign them to NSStrings.

Then we allocate and initialize an UIAlertView with the given message and title and set the alertViewStyle to "UIAlertViewStyleLoginAndPasswordInput", so that one plain text field and one password field will be displayed on the alert.

In the initWithTitle call we also set "self" as the delegate of the alert so that we receive callbacks after user input (we had added the UIAlertViewDelegate protocol to our ExtensionFrontCall interface definition).

Finally, we call willSetResultLater, to keep the control flow in iOS. If we don’t call this function, GMI concludes the front call was not handled by the execute function (as none of the xxxResult functions was called inside), and the front call will fail with a “Frontcall not found” error message.

The ExtensionFrontCall class implements the alertView:didDismissWithButtonIndex: method from the UIAlertViewDelegate protocol:
pragma mark UIAlertViewDelegate(void)

alertView:(UIAlertView *)alertViewdidDismissWithButtonIndex:(NSInteger)buttonIndex {
   [self startResult];
   if (buttonIndex != alertView.cancelButtonIndex) {
      [self addStringResult:[alertViewtextFieldAtIndex:0].text];
      [self addStringResult:[alertViewtextFieldAtIndex:1].text];
   } else {
      [self addStringResult:nil];
      [self addStringResult:nil];
   }
   [self endResult];
}

This method is called after the user has tapped on one of the buttons and the view has been dismissed. Inside this method, we first call startResult to enable adding more than one return value.

If the tapped button was not the Cancel button, we add the values of the log-in and password fields as strings to the results and then call endResult to return the control flow to the Genero program.

The Genero program calls the log-in dialog front call as follows:
DEFINE ul, up STRING
CALL ui.Interface.frontCall( "ExtensionFrontCall", "logindialog",
                             ["MyApp","User login"],
                             [un, up] )
IF up IS NULL THEN
   ERROR "Login canceled"
   EXIT PROGRAM
END IF
Note:

The file userextension.m of the GMI Extension project contains a complete example on how to write custom front calls.