Wednesday, June 16, 2004

VFP 9 Cool Feature: Dockable Windows

As shown in the image below, the new dockable windows feature in Visual FoxPro can be a lot of fun. Forms now have a Dockable Property with the following values:
0 - Docking not permitted
1 - Supports Docking and Is Dockable
2 - Supports Docking but is NOT dockable
Huh? What does value 2 mean? It means that while the form will look like a dockable window, it cannot be docked. Users can make it dockable by right-mouse clicking on the title bar and choosing Dockable. They can also do this by selecting Dockable from the Window menu.
What does a dockable window look like? Essentially, it uses the half-height title bar property in VFP.
Having a dockable window also means your resize event better be smart. When a form is docked with another form, the resize method for BOTH forms is called. As well, if you dock two dockable forms at the top of the screen, the form that contains both docked forms now becomes a tabbed dialog with the tabs at the BOTTOM of the screen (i'll post an image).
Note: Dockable forms only work for applications that use the Visual FoxPro desktop. So if you are using top-level forms in your applications, be advised that the Dockable property won't work.
How will applications use dockable forms? At first glance, it really appears to be a feature that will be used heavily by framework apps and other tools that integrate directly into the FoxPro development environment, but there are certainly some types of applications where they will be handy. For example, in a number of my applications, we put a "message" or "alert" bar into the toolbar. The problem with this is that if the message uses an edit box, it screws up the entire toolbar height and width. With a dockable window, the alert message can now attach itself on the main screen to which it applies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was really looking forward to dockable forms in VFP. I had tried to build this feature into my forms earlier, but gave up.

I am very dissapoined though that the dockable feature only works for forms within the Visual FoxPro desktop. I wanted this for top-level forms, which is where I think it would actually be usefull. As it is, I don't see that I will ever use this feature, as I only build applications that run via top-level forms.