Formatted Text Control Version 2

As a consultant I use the best tools available to me and my clients.  One of those tools is the Formatted Text Control (FTC) from True North Software.  Today they announced version 2 of their excellent text editor control.

FTC is one of those controls that I find indispensable and use a lot because of its power and flexibility.  Because it’s done in 100% unencrypted REALbasic code you have complete control over how you use it.  Need to do something that it doesn’t do?  You can do it yourself if you have the patience for implementing your own changes.

FTC is big and powerful.  It has around a hundred classes that let you implement a full-featured word-processor with very little work (literally drag and drop and maybe add ten lines of code).  With a little bit of elbow-grease it’s very easy to create your own reports via code (perhaps I’ll write a little tutorial on that one of these days).

If you’re interested in learning how a control can be implemented in REALbasic using just a canvas this is excellent code to learn from.  FTC does class inheritance well, is optimized, and the code is easy to follow.

Brendan Murphy, the creator of FTC, is very responsive to bug reports and feature requests.  We’ve been users since the early days of development so you’ll see the BKeeney name in a few places in source code from bug reports and feature requests.  It’s rare to see somebody share the credit so readily.

Version 2 has a number of welcome new features and enhancements.  The first is that the alignment of the display when it’s in Page display mode.  Before it was always flush left, but now you can center and right justify it.  It’s a minor thing, but very high on my own wish list.

New search and replace functionality was added.  You can do it either programmatically or interactively.  There is also a new Replace All function.

You can now scroll to the selection which, as the name suggests, scrolls the display to the current selection (and presumably the insertion point).

A new KeyPress event was added that allows you to have more control over what characters can be inserted to the control.  Since this is an event in the TextField and TextArea controls this is a welcome addition.

A new subclass was created from the FTC.  The FTTextField is a replacement for the RB TextField control and has all of the advantages of the FTC.  This means that the FTTextField can do spell-checking, undo, and the ability to read/write true Rich Text Format (RTF) files where as the RB TextArea is fairly limited in what it can do with RTF (no graphics).

Also new in the FTTextField is the ability to limit the number of characters in the control and the ability to use masks.  Given that the RB mask property in the TextField is bad (perhaps sucks is a better word) this by itself might be worth the purchase price.

The cost of the version 2 of the FTC is $150.  A demo and more information about  version 2 is available at http://www.truenorthsoftware.com/formattedtextcontrol/