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Tech Tip: 4D Draw lite
Published On: March 25, 1999

It might not be obvious, but 4D V6 ships with a built-in, simple and fully programmable drawing application. Its name is "4D Chart". If you've looked at Chart at all, you've probably only looked at its considerable charting capabilities. But take a look at its drawing capabilities:

  • Styled text objects with full text wrapping;
  • Lines, circles, rectangles, round-cornered rectangles, polygons;
  • Patterns, colors and widths for lines and fills for all objects;
  • The ability to include automatic references to fields;
  • Arrows with different heads;
  • Resizable and alignable objects;
  • Grouping;
  • Multipage documents; and
  • Powerful charting

Like all the other 4D productivity plug-ins, you can control all of these features with 4D's programming language in considerable detail, and you can use 4D Chart embedded in a form, in a separate window, or in an invisible off-screen area. It is also possible to intercept the user's clicks on the objects, menu choices, and so on, and even to get down to details such as which characters in a text area the user highlighted.

The flexibility of this free plug-in makes many unusual applications possible, from adding extra details to 4D-generated charts, to generating unusual types of reports for which the standard column and row or 4D form layouts are not suitable, not to mention animation such as our very own Tim Tonooka has demonstrated in recent technical notes.

So check out the manual for 4D Chart on your product CD and start thinking creatively about what you can do with this "swiss army" plug-in.

Finally, if you find yourself looking into 4D Chart's drawing features and you find that they aren't quite enough, take a look at 4D Draw, which adds

  • much more powerful integration with 4D's database;
  • more drawing capabilities such as curves, freehand objects, free rotation of objects, flipping of objects, and different viewing scales
  • even more powerful abilities to manipulate the document and the interface with 4D's programming language.