Microsoft & .NETVisual BasicReview of ReSize OCX

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I remember the day I first realised screen resolution was a problem for programmers.

I’d just finished the final version of my groovy debt collecting package and it was ready to be rolled out to the proposed twenty or so users. And it looked darn cool on my 15 inch, 800 x 600 resolution monitor.

But following the installations, I learned one big programming lesson the hard way—all screens are equal, though some more than others.

You see, when I placed my application on 14 inch, 640 x 400 monitors, a third of my application disappeared off the screen. And that made data input a little difficult.

What could I do? Redesign the form? Or perhaps add a load of messy code to manually size my controls?

I opted for the first option and then got earache from the 15" users, complaining they could hardly see the form. So I changed their screen resolution to 640 x 400 also… and then hastily left for early retirement in Outer Mongolia.

Back then, the few widgets that could automatically resize your form for you were exceptionally buggy. Nowadays, automatic resizing whatnots are all the rage.

In this review, I’m checking out ReSize OCX from Larcom & Young, a product that claims it could’ve helped me sort out my little problem.

If the poorly-designed website of Larcom and Young is anything to go by, you’d be forgiven for thinking the group was some two-bit back street developer shack flogging low quality controls in the hope of a quick buck or two.

However, after testing this product, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised.

Although their website obviously doesn’t attract the marketing budgets of the big time component producers, this company only sells one thing—their ReSize OCX control for $69. So I decided to try it out.

Installation of the program was fairly straight forward, eating up a mere 1.4 MB of hard disk space. Surprisingly, both 16-bit and 32-bit versions of the control were bundled in the package, good news for often-neglected pre-Windows 95 developers.

Oh, and another surprise—both versions of the ReSize OCX control were under 70KB, meaning the impact on your setup distribution file size is negligible.

The package ships with one demo for versions 4, 5 and 6 of Visual Basic.

I checked out the version 6 example—and surprisingly, it just worked.

Blow Up!

Imagine this form looking exactly the same… no matter how much you resized the form nor how many times you altered the screen resolution!

After examining the code, it was apparent that not a single keypress was required to ensure ReSize OCX did it’s stuff. It was simply slapped onto a form and … poomph! … enter stage – resolution independence.

Being the untrusting person I am, my review led me to test the control on virtually all of the sample projects that ship with Visual Basic. And did I experience a problem? No way.

I mean, usually I discover at least one flaw or annoying glitch. But not this time. Font sizes were automatically altered, command buttons grew, check boxes shrunk—and all in complete relation to the original design.

The often-troublesome tab control proved, err, not so troublesome. And even the Line control—which strangely enough doesn’t support any of the typical sizing Width, Height nor Left properties—kept its position without problem.

If you’re using any of the grids that ship with Visual Basic however, be warned that whilst the control will handle the outer grid frame, it won’t handle individual cell sizing. However the small, shipped manual includes all the instructions necessary for putting such resizing in place.

Power users will also be interested in two ReSize methods and events—firstly, the CenterForm method which, unsurprisingly, centres your form on the screen. And next up, the PreResize event, allowing you to skip any controls you experience problems with.

For the one or two programmers out there drawing on objects using the Line method—I’m sorry, but this control won’t handle any resizing of drawn lines. But if you programmatically draw lines in relation to automatically resized controls, it should all go swimmingly—just be sure to set AutoRedraw to True.

All in all, this is a groovy resize program that really can’t be faulted, dammit.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever used a control as simple as ReSize OCX. You just slap it on and that’s it. It’s just too easy!

Attractively priced at $69, this product is incredibly lightweight and user friendly. Guaranteed to work with all the intrinsic Visual Basic controls—plus, as I found out, a host of others—it also ships with a small 40-page user manual explaining everything you need to know to add resolution independence to your list of application features.

Can I summarise this product in a word? Yes.


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