General XMetaL Discussion

XMetaL Community Forum General XMetaL Discussion XMetal 5 custom dialogs – hhf files

  • KevinW

    XMetal 5 custom dialogs – hhf files

    Participants 2
    Replies 3
    Last Activity 8 years, 2 months ago

    I've recently inherited support of a somewhat old application which includes customization to several dialog windows in XMetal version 5.  We have been trying to move to XMetal 6 (still old, but we need FileNet functionality) and a few of the dialogs are reporting errors, or simply are not functioning as they did in XMetal 5.  The dialogs seem to have a .hhf file extension and appear to be launched via javacript.

    My question is what tool can be used to edit the hhf files?  Is this something the XMetal Developer tool can do?  Would there be / are there any significant differences between how dialogs function in version 5 vs. version 6?

    Thanks in Advance or any advice!


    Derek Read

    Reply to: XMetal 5 custom dialogs – hhf files

    I would suggest upgrading to version 9 (the current release) unless there is some specific reason to be running an old version like 6.

    Putting that aside…

    The .hhf form file type was discontinued with the release of XMetaL Author and XMetaL Developer version 4 (in 2004). The new .xft format was introduced at the same time. XMetaL Author has continued to support the old .hhf format, or at least a concerted effort was made for several years not to break them. I wouldn't be surprised if something has finally broken in versions 7, 8, or 9 but since you are running version 6 (where QA was still actively testing backward compatibility of .hhf files) I think it is far more likely that something the forms needed on your system when they were first designed is not there on your current machine. The most likely thing would be a 3rd party control of some kind (ActiveX).

    It's unfortunate that you have inherited such an old setup, and that you are “upgrading” to another old version. I haven't heard of anyone running into this problem for many years, since everyone that upgraded from XMetaL 3 to XMetaL Author 4 went through this long ago. At that time it would have been the people that originally created the .hhf forms and so recreating them in the new format would have been very easy for them.

    If you want to continue to work with the .hff file format you will need to edit it with XMetaL 3, since it was the last version to provide the form creation and editing tool that could read those files. You would need a computer running Windows XP or older (version 3 won't run properly on Windows 7 or 8) where you can install XMetaL 3 to debug the .hhf, save it, then move it to another machine running XMetaL Author 6 to test it again. I would recommend moving to the new .xft format as I cannot say how long the .hhf format will function since we have not tested it for many years now.

    There is no conversion utility, so converting the .hhf format to the .xft format is a manual process (done with XMetaL Developer version 4, 5, 6, 7, or 9). The clients that did this when upgrading to version 4 took this approach:

    1) Take screen captures of the .hhf form running.
    2) Make a note of all the controls used on the form. If the form relies on any 3rd party controls make a special note for those as they may need to be installed, or alternatives might need to be found if you are also upgrading Windows (to XP or Windows 7 in your case). Some older Windows controls available in Windows 95, 98, 2000 or NT might not be available so you might need to find alternatives that are similar. In that case any script code in the form would likely need to change as well.
    3) Load the .hhf into the editor in XMetaL 3 and copy all the code out (usually JScript or VBScript) and save it in some organized fashion.
    4) Using XMetaL Developer's “XMetaL Forms Toolkit” tool, recreate the look of the old form in the new format, then add in the code as appropriate, adjusting it where necessary.

    For someone that created the original form that might take a few minutes, or for a complex form maybe an hour. If you aren't familiar with the original though I guess it will be quite a bit more difficult.



    Reply to: XMetal 5 custom dialogs – hhf files


    Thank-You for the response.  Unfortunately I'm stuck on XMetal 6 for now as we are also using the FileNet CRCL adaper.  I do have a couple of questions for you.

    When you say to load the form into XMetal 3, are you talking about XMetal Author 3 or XMetal Developer 3?  Is it even possible to get licenses for it now?

    The issue seems to be in the following code (I'm able to somewhat look at the code in the hhf file using a text editor).  I'm getting a run-time error that firstChild is null or not an object.  The only place I can find this while looking at the code I was able to pull into a text editor is the following;  granted I do not know how “good” this code is as the hhf seems to be a binary file that I'm cracking open in Notepad++

    locnode =  ActiveDocument.Range.ContainerNode

    var node  =  locnode;
    var child  =  node.firstChild;  <<< perhaps the object node no longer has a first child method If you have any advice on how to procure a XMetal 3 installation I'd appreciate it!



    Reply to: XMetal 5 custom dialogs – hhf files

    Older .hhf forms should work in newer versions of XMetaL BUT require the installation of Microsoft's FM20.dll to function properly.  Microsoft restricted the redistribution of the FM20.dll and that led us to replace .hhf forms with .xft forms to get around this restriction and dependency. 

    FM20.dll was distributed as part of Microsoft Office but I am not sure about newer MSO releases.  It was also available as part of the Microsoft ActiveX Control Pad kit.  Try these links to see if you can get a copy onto your system:

    INFO: Usage and Redistribution of FM20.DLL – [url=][/url]
    Microsoft ActiveX Control Pad – [url=][/url]


  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Your Password?