Creating A Graphical Overview of your Adlib/Axiell Collections Application using Visual Studio 2019

This document explains how to compile AdlibGraph and link it to the appropriate DLL’s of your version of Adlib Designer (Axiell Designer). In this explanation we use the free Community edition of Microsoft Visual Studio. The steps for the other (paid) versions of Visual Studio are the same. I will use the Visual Studio 2019 edition.

If you do not already have Visual Studio installed, you can get it at:
https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/

Retrieve Source Code

After installation and opening visual studio you will have to clone the AdlibGraph project from its Github repository. This is in fact downloading and copying everything (Source code and other stuff) that you need to compile the project.

Fill in the URL of the GITHUB repository for the project:
https://github.com/bertdd/AdlibGraph
The place where the project will be copied on your local computer is called the local path, it will be set by default, but you can change it if you like.

Then click the clone  “Clone”

The source files will appear in the “solution explorer” like in the picture below.


The solution consists of two projects, one very small which contains the user interface, in this case a very simple command line interface.

Now if you hit F6 or Build de solution Visual Studio will try to compile the project.

This build will fail miserably, but don’t worry this is what we expect here. The reason for failure is that we have not linked the project to Adlib Designer’s DLL’s yet. These DLL’s are a part of Axiell Designer or Adlib Designer and are proprietary and are can therefore not be included in the Git repository. These modules are NOT open source, so you will have to link the code for the AdlibGraph solution to your own version of Axiell / Adlib Designer (which you have if you are a licensed Axiell customer)
This is a straightforward process, just follow the next steps…

This, by the way, is the error list if you try to compile the project without linking to the Designer dll’s.
 

(I got 83 errors 😉)

Reference Adlib Designer

Now make sure that you know where your version of Axiell Designer is installed. Mine is in C:\Adlib Designer76

When you compile yourself, the exact version of Axiell or Adlib Designer does not matter so much, anything later than 7.5 should be OK.

Now, in the DDigit.Graph project you will see a node in the solution tree labeled References

Right click here and choose Add Reference, this will open the reference manager.

Hit the Browse… button in the lower right corner


Browse to your location and add Adlib.Database.dll,
Repeat this for Adlib.Objects.dll and Adlib.Interfaces.dll


Close the window and hit F6 (Build) again, and presto, the build should now succeed.

Running the AdlibGraph

If you hit the show all files button option in the solution explorer, you will see the newly compiled program.

Then right click on bin and choose the option ‘Open in File Explorer’

Most of the files are copies of the DLL’s that were made from the ones in your Adlib Designer folder. There are only two that really matter: AdlibGraph.exe and DDigit.Graph.dll, I have marked them in yellow. If you sort by date modified your own files will appear on top.

The easiest place to store these two files is with their original DLL’s, so in your Adlib Designer folder, just copy them across.

Then open a command prompt there, by typing cmd in the address bar a command prompt opens.

Run AdlibGraph from there by typing; the command, the folder of your application and the required DGML file. See the picture for an example of what the full command should look like.
 
You can view the resulting DGML file in Visual Studio. But you need an extension for Visual studio by Chris Lovett, which you can get here:
 
For an informative video on how to use this extension:
 

Open the DGML file and you will see the generated graph.

Have fun and be amazed!

Source Code

 – AdlibGraph, the source code of this program can be found on Git: https://github.com/bertdd/AdlibGraph

References

 – Microsoft Visual Studio 2019, the download page of the Visual Studio 2019: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/downloads/

 – DGML Visual Studio Extension, a free extension for Visual Studio to view and edit DGML files, by Chris Lovett: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=ChrisLovett.DgmlPowerTools2019

Bert Degenhart Drenth, DDigit – 21/02/2020