Sunday, June 17, 2012

XFDL on a Mac ... has finally arrived!

    Yes, its finally here! PureEdge 6.5 is the older MicroSoft Windows software that was used to read and write XFDL files. The updated version is the IBM Lotus Forms Viewer.

    Thanks to a project called WineSkin Winery the older version of the Forms viewer is now available for download (Link Below). What this project has done, is make it possible to run Windows software on a Mac and make look like a native (sort of) osX application. It installs just like any other application for osX. However, it is not without its share of issues.

    First, lets talk about decorations. Specifically windows decorations. Basically there two options for our purposes. One with osX "Window Style" and one that makes the window look like a traditional window you would see in MicroSoft's Windows95. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

    If you have "Window Decorations" turned on, then the top of the window looks like any other osX windows. However, you cannot (I do not know why) resize the window by grabbing the edge of the window. You can only resize the window by grabbing the lower right corner. This is especially frustrating for this application because many of the forms force the bottom of the window off of the screen. This leaves you with no way to resize the window other than clicking the "Maximize" button. This can be very annoying.

    On the other hand, if you turn "Window Decorations" off, then the top of the window looks like any other Microsoft Windows program circa 1995. However, you can now resize the window from edge. You can also "pull" the top of the window up so high that it hides behind the osX menu bar. This makes it imposable to minimize or close the window. Should the window still be to tall for the screen, then you still have no way to resize it from the bottom.

    What this endeavor does bring to the table though, is a way to use the native application on a Mac without the need to run down to the nearest Target or WalMart to purchase Parallels Desktop virtual machine. That alone saves you about $100.

    So what can't you do with this "version"? You still can't digitally sign documents. Everything else works just fine however, even printing. Its stable and fast.

    You can download the original version (With decorations turned on) from here.

    You can download the DMG directly (With decorations turned off) from here.

    It should be noted that if you play around with the WineSkin Winery app for a while, you can get the newer Lotus Forms Viewer from IBM to work. It is a bit snappier, but has its own issues. Mainly, it can loose track of where to find the font "Arial" and just stop working after a while.

    I am currently working on this issue while also trying to get the "mini-virtual-machine" to access my CAC reader. For now though, this is an excellent solution for all those who need this functionality, but also love their Mac's.

    Until next time ... 

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