Bringing fixed images from Panorama 6 to Panorama X

I received an email question just now that I think the group could profit from. In Panorama 6 you could paste a fixed image into a form. Normally, when you convert a database from Panorama 6 to X, these fixed images will be converted as well, so that the form looks the same. However, sometimes these images don’t make it across, and the email was asking me why his fixed images weren’t appearing in Panorama X. Here is my answer:

In Panorama 6, you could only do that with PICT format images, which is a very old image format dating back to the earliest days of the original Macintosh. It turns out that some really old PICT images do not work in OS X/macOS, in fact they can even cause crashes. So when Panorama X brings in a database from Panorama 6, it does a “sanity check” any images found in the databases. If the image has negative dimensions, or really large dimensions (more than 10,000 pixels), that means that the image is corrupted as far as OS X is concerned, and Panorama skips the image. There’s simply nothing Panorama can do about that.

Of course next you will complain “but the image works in Panorama 6, on the same system with the same OS”. Apparently the old Carbon API’s that Panorama 6 use have a different image rendering system than the modern Cocoa API’s have, and the old API’s are able to correctly interpret these images, but the new API’s do not. There is really no way for a modern program like Panorama X to use the old API’s, and even if it could, Apple has made it clear that these old API’s will be completely removed from macOS within the next couple of years.

So the only solution is to recreate the problematic image in a new format. If necessary, you could do a screen grab of the image in Panorama 6, then use Preview to make a JPG or PNG image.

Most old PICT images do work and do come across. I assume that it may depend on what program was used to originally create the PICT image, but in general the images that cause problems are usually 30 or more years old and no one that has sent me a file with problem images has remembered what program they originally used to create the images.

Wouldn’t it be easier to use Command+Control+Shift+4 to copy a screen shot of the existing image in Panorama 6 to the clipboard and then you can directly paste it into your Panorama X form. The normal default format for screen capture is PNG whether as a file or to the clipboard and that should eliminate any remnants of the PICT format. I have found the quality and resolution of images created this way to be comparable to the original image displayed at the same size.

I think that is more or less what I meant. Definitely doing a screen grab eliminates any trace of PICT format.

However, I forgot that you could paste the image into Panorama X, instead of dragging it. So yes, you (Gary) are right, you can go right from the screen grab into Panorama X, without any other software being involved, and without any temporary file needed.

I should have known this since I have literally pressed Command+Control+Shift+4 several thousand times in the past year or so! Several dozen times so far today, even. But I usually am not pasting the result into Panorama itself.

GraphicConverter can open PICT and it can save in that format as well.

Here is a sample of some of the types.

Robert Ameeti

Unfortunately, that won’t help Jeff, for one and possibly two reasons.

  1. The images Jeff is worried about are embedded inside a Panorama 6 database, so GraphicConverter won’t be able to get to them.

  2. The PICT format is really complicated, much more so than JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc. It can include both bitmap and vector images, and text also. In fact, a PICT file is really a frozen version of QuickDraw. On the original MacOS, a program could turn on a recorder, then draw using the regular QuickDraw API’s. Whatever was drawn to the screen – images, text, shapes, lines, arcs, whatever, was recorded into the PICT image. So this format is very deeply intertwined with the original Mac ROMs. According to conversations I’ve had with Apple engineers, some of it was never documented. So problems with incompatible PICT files have always been there as Apple changed the ROMs, upgraded MacOS, etc.

The Carbon API’s still include QuickDraw, and I think the Carbon implementation of PICT still uses an offshoot of the original QuickDraw ROM code. But I think for Cocoa they created a new implentation of PICT that is no longer tied to QuickDraw, and they only implemented the most common possible PICT formats, leaving a lot esoteric stuff out.

If GraphicConverter is a Carbon app, it probably still can access all the old PICT files. But my guess is that GraphicConverter is not using QuickTime, and it probably does have problems with some PICT files.

In any case, Apple has announced that they will be removing all 32 bit code from macOS, and that includes QuickDraw. So in the future the only way to keep access to this stuff is going to be to keep an old computer, or use a virtual machine running an old operating system.

I am trying the release version of Panorama X. I have tried opening some Panorama 6 databases, after adding the .pan extension. They import fine, except that picture objects from the Panorama 6 database are not appearing at all. These are not old pictures. For example, in a database of books, when I add a new book I copy a picture of the book cover from Amazon or from a web site that reports on new books. I then pasted into the Panorama 6 database. Why aren’t these pictures showing up in Panorama X?

I believe that Jim said when you paste a graphic into Panorama 6, it converts it to pict format, which doesn’t work in Panorama X.

Saving the pictures as a FASO album used the PICT format and saved the album as a resource fork, if I remember correctly. That’s not working any more in a modern macOS application.

You can now use common file formats e.g. .jpg or .png files, but you should leave the pictures outside of your database. Use the FASO option to include files on the disk.

Maybe I misunderstood. I thought Jim was just referring to pictures that were decades old. But I also tried the command-control-shift-4 method he said should work, and that also fails. Even that would be a major project, but better than nothing. Do I have to change the format of the picture field that was imported into Panorama X?

AFAIK there is no picture field type, neither in Pan 6 nor in Pan X.

I guess you have used a Flash Art Super Object (FASO) in a form in your database, and your description lets me think that you used to save the pictures “in” your database.

I already tried to make clear how that is working today: You use the FASO in your form to display picture files on your disk. You refer to those pictures with a formula containing the file name (that could be saved in a text field in your database or could be calculated from other fields like Names – depending on how your pictures are named).

I also tried the command-control-shift-4 method he said should work, and that also fails. Even that would be a major project, but better than nothing.

That didn’t work for me either at the time, so I just found new graphics. I tried it just now though and it works. You just have to choose “Paste” after copying it form Panorama 6. I have found form conversions to be much more work than I anticipated as well.

Do I have to change the format of the picture field that was imported into Panorama X?

Panorama X doesn’t use picture fields. Like Kurt said, I would put the link to a folder containing pictures in the field, then use a form to display them with a flash art object.

As Kurt mentioned there is no picture type field in Pan 6 or Pan X but there use to be a Picture type field back in Panorama 2. I think that was pretty much supplanted by the FlashArt Scrapbook. I don’t think the Picture type field was ever fully supported for anything really useful but I may be wrong. It was a long time ago.

This topic was originally about pasting a single fixed image into a form, like a logo or background image,
but it sounds like you are talking about a different feature, the Picture field type, which Panorama X no longer supports at all (it was still supported in Panorama 6). You can no longer paste images into the database itself, and display them using a Data Cell object in a form. This was an original Panorama 1.0 feature that really was obsolete by the time that Panorama 2 added “Flash Art” objects over 25 years ago, but until now, the feature was never officially removed from Panorama.

If you have a database that is full of pictures in a picture field, there is no way to automatically transfer those pictures to Panorama X. The only way to do it would be to open the database in Panorama 6 and manually take a screen shot of each picture, saving each one to a disk file. You’ll need to create a field in the database to hold the picture names, and put the name of each picture into that field. Then use an Image Display object to display the picture on a form (Image Display is the new name for a Super Flash Art object). The end result is that you’ll have a folder with a database and a bunch of image files.

PICT format is a separate issue. Both Panorama 6 and Panorama X use Apple’s code to display images, but Panorama 6 uses the older Mac OS 9 code, while Panorama X uses the modern Cocoa code. Apple still supports PICT format images, so in general if you have PICT images you can still display them in Panorama X. However, the PICT format was quite complex, with many variations, so it does turn out there are some old PICT images that Apple’s newer code chokes on. I’d definitely recommend using a newer format like JPEG or PNG for new images, but if you already have PICT images, they will probably work in most cases.

I think you must be talking about the Flash Art Gallery feature. That did not use a resource fork, but rather a proprietary format as a component internal to Panorama databases. That proprietary format is no longer supported.

It was possible to use a program like ResEdit to save images into a resource fork, and I think older versions of Photoshop could do that. But images in a resource fork was never a standard feature of Panorama. Of course if you do have images in a resource fork they won’t work in Panorama X, but that is not the situation Mark Cutler is facing.