Subject Re: [IBO] Framed Edit controls?
Author Claudio Valderrama C.
""Paul Gallagher"" <paul@...> wrote in message
> Jason,
> Have you given any thought to making IBO edit controls "framed", similar
> the Infopower controls? Has anyone else done this? If the IBO controls are
> descended from the standard VCL controls, I wonder if it is even possible.

I'm not sure why you say this. Isn't that standard controls take the style
of the operating system where the program runs? You have to do nothing for
your forms to look like XP windows is you run your program in XP, AFAIK.

> With the new MS .NET stuff, and with the new look of WinXP, it seems that
> lot more applications are coming out with the more colorful and new style
> controls. The standard button gray and borders just isn't "cool" enough
> anymore.

That's the part I don't understand and it isn't about you, sino MS.
When Windows v1 and v2 were done, the looked like a parody of Apple's GUI.
They were B/W and totally flat, with tick borders around controls to
distinguish them. Most windows and dialogs used white background.
Then the Excel team created ctl3d.dll to give the impression that the cells
are illuminated by a lamp in the top left corner of the screen. The king of
mammon saw it was good and integrated it into Win3.1. The buttons in Win31.
may look like cartoons now (or children's drawing), but they left no doubt
what they were. Also, a gray background was adopted as the de facto color.

When D1 was shipped, Borland knew the upcoming ideas, so TBitBtn had Style
(now it doesn't have any effect) and TSpeedButton had Flat property. Then
W95 softened the controls and we got toolbars. With MSIE 3 or 4 we got
coolbars in all their glory, with arbitrary background taken from a bitmap.
Suddently, my SW world became flat, but still acceptable. However, MSIE 4
explored the idea "hover around me with the mouse and if I blink, I'm a
button". W98 and W2k abuse that idea of things that only come to life when
you point at them with the mouse.

Your toolbars don't work properly on W95 if you don't install MSIE4 or run
comupd40 directly on the system. Your coolbars don't work in NT4 if you
don't run comupd50 on it. However, there's no much indication about it at MS
and I was asking Borland for months why tool-buttons didn't work in NT4
(including the ones in the isql window of IBConsole) and they were clueless.
Hence I decided to look for a new commctl package and found comupd50. It's
incredible that Borland continued shipping comupd40 for 2 years at least in
Delphi/BCB after the MS update was released. This is the mess MS has created
with its chaotic innovations.

Now, buttons in the toolbar don't have delimiters. They are simple images
that you should assume are clickable. Has the GUI improved? The only
vertical bars are to separate group of controls. Buttons still jump to the
front when signaled by the mouse and get color.

For what I read, it seems that MS considered that 3d look is out of fashion
for XP. Well, this is a good reminder that fashion is irrelevant. All things
seem to be flat. Instead of a shading, controls get a full flat colorful
border, like when someone punches you in an eye. I hope buttons still raise
when activated. Being color impaired, I'm not happy at all with a
Christmas-tree-like window and controls that only change from gray to teal
when needed.

What will be next, I mean in the next MS operating system? Borderless
windows? The button in the system box (left upper corner of a window) died
with Win3.1, now there's only a bitmap you should guess you can click to get
a menu. Maybe MS will hide the minimize, restore and maximize buttons so
that you should point your mouse at the right upper edge and wait two
seconds, then an animation will play a sliding panel that shows the three
buttons for 5 seconds and if you don't click them, they will disappear
again, sliding to the right edge. Hope nobody at MS is reading this or they
are going to implement the behavior. I have enough with MS-Office
"intelligent menu items" that hide from you if not used for a while.
Fortunately, this feature is easily disabled altogether. I assume the new
hype will be edit boxes and list boxes whose background is taken from an
arbitrary bitmap, provided that you provide one bitmap for the normal state,
another for R/O and another for the disabled state, so nobody will be able
to tell what's the standard style for a disabled edit and reading the
contents will be almost impossible if the programmer chose maroon text over
a background of Mickey Mouse.

For one side, MS likes animations even for buttons and menus. I assume combo
boxes are subject to the same trick. A dancing dropdown with purple borders
should be too cool in an IBO application when you are trying to read the
list of items and click one of them. For another side, they regret all the
3d effects and make everything flat and worse, tinier in XP. All users will
need glasses. In 5 years more, they will return to the old standards, but
transmogrified: ctl3dcolorfulanimated.dll and all applications will have to
be revised.

Regarding your example code, Paul, I've tried it against simple TEdit
controls. You have shrunken the height from a default of 21 in Delphi to 14.
Are XP controls smaller in height, too? Also, where did you get clCharcoal

Claudio Valderrama C. - -
Independent developer
Owner of the Interbase® WebRing