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  • By Karl Moore
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Friday 11th February

Finally, the key to Sheridan's much talked about component package arrived in my Inbox. Five minutes later and I'd installed the lot, to the tune of 13MB hard disk space.

And how interesting a 16-bit version of the control can also be installed, jolly useful if you're developing with VB4 and below.

The first thing I discovered about the Data Widgets is that despite the apparent random nature of the bundled samples and the difference in Visual Basic versions used to create these, they're certainly well commented and easy to follow. Ideal for developers wishing to get to grips with basics of the controls.

"Controls?", I hear you cry. "Plural?"

That's right. This isn't just a grid, full stop. Rather, it's an entire suite of controls aimed at improving your database applications.

But let's start off with the data grid. It's no Mona Lisa, but it does the trick.

It's not as comprehensive as the others I've looked at so far, but it's much simpler. For example, let's say I had a list of customer orders in my pretty lil' grid with one line of code I could add a little ellipsis button to the corner of the cell for the user to click on and, say, get more information about the order.

You get all the other standard grid frills such as alternate row back colouring and simple check box abilities. Support for DAO/RDO/ADO is included.

Still, the Data Widgets package isn't as overly furnished in the grid department as others. But it's the other bundled controls that make this kit an attractive investment.

See, you also get controls such as the database combo, which can be used alongside the grid or as an independent component. Just add it to your form, specify the various data sources and you're up and running. You can stick to your initial database schema solving my initial problem - without having sticky code lying around the joint.

And that's just the case with the bundled option button control too. Previously you would have to individually evaluate the database field value and select the appropriate option button then perform the reverse when you needed to save the information. With this control, you really can throw all that horrid code straight out the window.

You'll also find a couple of interesting extras in the package the Data Widget command button and record navigator.

The first looks almost like a regular command button and binds direct to a data control. It has a DatabaseAction property that determines what it does when clicked for example, it may move to the end of the current recordset. Or perhaps refresh the records. Or whatever.

And the latter record navigator is a juicier version of the Data control navigation front-end. It allows simple navigation alongside built-in searching facilities and bookmarking whatnots. Whilst simple, this is the type of tool that could save you hours, and certainly impress your boss.

In summary, you'll find Sheridan's Data Widgets to be a superb collection of useful, time-saving tools. The shipped grid should cater to the requirements of most and the extra data controls will undoubtedly come in handy!

And at #135 / $203, it won't send the bank manager into a state of unconsciousness. Perhaps just a light faint.

You can download a demo of Data Widgets from www.shersoft.com.

Order Data Widgets from ComponentSource

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This article was originally published on November 20, 2002

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