Using Dataphor Controls (UI Components)

1. Summary

The basic components of a Dataphor form are called controls. Each control is responsible for managing a specific piece of the interface such as the contact name or phone number. There are a variety of different types of controls in a typical Dataphor Application.

Each control on a form may have a short description associated with it called a hint. This hint can be displayed by hovering the mouse cursor over the control, or by focusing the control, which causes the hint to be displayed in the left side of the status bar.

All controls that are capable of editing values have two important states that are indicated visually: read only, and cleared, or no value. The following screen capture illustrates this behavior:

Windows Client - Control States

Editable controls with a current value have a white background. Readonly controls with a current value have the same color background as the rest of the form. Note that although readonly controls do not participate in the tab order (i.e. they cannot be reached using the Tab key), they can still be focused, and the standard text selection capabilities apply.

Editable controls without a current value have a pale green background. Readonly controls without a current value have a darker green background. Note that these color settings are based on the default Windows Client theme. Current Windows appearance settings and the theme of the application may affect the actual colors, but the different states will still be indicated visually.

There are relatively few different types of controls in a Dataphor Application. This keeps the user interface simple and intuitive, without sacrificing any power or flexibility. However, specific applications may introduce new types of controls as necessary to support the functionality of the application. In these cases, refer to the documentation for the application for information about extended controls.

The following list shows the different types of controls used in a typical Dataphor Application:

  • Text Boxes

    Text boxes correspond to a single value and include basic text boxes, numeric editors, date and time editors, and text memos.

  • Lookup Controls

    Lookup controls allow values to be selected from a list of valid values using a browse.

  • Choices

    Choice controls allow values to be selected from a static list of values.

  • Image Control

    The image control allows image values to be edited.

2. Text Boxes

The text box is the most common type of control, allowing values of various types to be edited. Any value that can be displayed as text can be edited with a text box. This includes text values, numeric values, date and time values, as well as text blocks such as memos.

The following screen capture displays the various types of text boxes:

Windows Client - Text Boxes

All text boxes support standard cut-copy-paste functionality using the Microsoft Windows standard keys: Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V, respectively. In addition, standard text selection capabilities using Ctrl and Shift in combination with the navigation keys are available.

Within a numeric text box, the up and down arrows can be used to add or subtract one from the current value, and the PgUp and PgDn keys can be used to add or subtract ten (10) from the current value. Note that this is the default behavior for a numeric text box, and applications may change this behavior as necessary.

Within a date text box, the right and left arrows can be used to select the portions of the value to be edited, and the up and down arrows can be used to increment and decrement the currently highlighted portion. Clicking the button on the right side of the control will display a calendar for selecting the date value. Pressing Alt+Down Arrow or Ins will also display the calendar.

Note that some types of values, such as currency, have different formats for displaying values than for editing. This allows values to be entered without formatting, while still allowing them to be displayed with formatting after they have been entered.

3. Lookup Controls

Lookup controls allow values to be set based on a list of values displayed using a browse form:

Windows Client - Lookup Controls

The list of available values for the lookup control can be displayed by clicking on the lookup button on the right side of the control. In addition, when the lookup control is focused, pressing the Ins key will display the browse form. For full lookup controls, simply typing the desired value will display the browse form.

Because lookup controls are typically used when lookup relationships are involved, lookup controls will usually be accompanied by a View menu that can be used to display the view form for the currently selected lookup values.

When the lookup form is displayed, it will appear as close as possible to the lookup control without covering the control. This is usually directly beneath the control, but depending on the position of the form within the screen, it may be above, or even to the side of the control.

Because a browse form is usually used to display the available values for the lookup, a new value may be added to the list if a suitable one is not present. For example, when adding a phone number and selecting a phone number type from the list of available types, a new type may be added without having to leave the edit form for the phone number. In this case, the browse of available values is automatically accepted with the newly added value selected. Focus is returned directly to the next control on the edit form.

4. Choice Controls

Choice controls allow values to be selected based on a static list of values. One type of choice control is the check box, which is used to edit "true or false" values. The following screen capture displays the various choice controls:

Windows Client - Choice Controls

While focused on a check box, the Space bar can be used to toggle the selection. If the check box does not have a value, a slightly grayed check will appear in the control.

The choice control displays a radio button for each possible value. The current value is indicated by a small dot in the radio button. When a choice control is focused, the up and down arrows can be used to change the currently selected value. If the choice control does not have a value, no radio button will be selected.

5. Image Controls

Image controls allow image values to be edited:

Windows Client - Image Control

While focused within an image control, the standard cut-copy-paste capabilities are available using the Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V key combinations, respectively.

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