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VC++ Example: Free ActiveX Grid Control (Written with MFC Source Code)


by Michael C. Lombardi

Let me first say to Chris Maunder and others that originally worked on the grid GREAT JOB! You guys did a super job developing this control. Had it not been for the work and effort put forth by the original team the grid would have never evolved as far as it did. OK, enough of the accolades, onto what's new and exciting with this version of the grid.

First, some of the smaller improvements

  1. I gave the grid a new and improved drop list control. The previous version of the drop list seemed to work "clunky". It just didn't seem to flow "seamlessly" with the grid. The improved drop list works seamless with the grid, but more importantly, notice that the background color of the drop list now matches that of the grid. This helps the droplets integrate nicely with the grid, and makes the entire control look more like a single object.
  2. The grid desperately needed check boxes. So I gave it check boxes for BOOLEAN data that might want to be displayed. Notice how the check boxes also integrate seamlessly into the grid, the grid finally looks like its one complete control, not a control that has other controls placed on top of it.

The New Grid!

Obstacles Facing Previous Versions Of The Grid

For the project I'm working on, the grid faced two major obstacles that kept me from using it as it was. The first obstacle I faced was that I needed a way to save and restore the grid contents to and from a Microsoft Access database easily and speedily. (I'm using Crystal Reports to generate formatted reports from my database). This problem I solved using a product I created called the Database Server. It works with this version of the grid and will allow you to easily save the grid contents, as well as any other Windows common controls, to and from a Microsoft Access database without having to write a single line of SQL. How did I do this you Visit Software Dynamics Download Area For Software Engineers and find out how you can too! Plus, checkout some of the freebies!

The second obstacle that I faced was that I am working on a project that requires me to use many different instances of the grid. The problem with the existing grid is that everything is programmatic. That's everything from creating the grid, setting the number rows, columns, headings, colors, etc. If your like me and you need to use many grid instances, this is an extraordinary large amount of programming that would have to be done using previous versions of the grid. Not to mention a mound of code that has to be maintained. I wanted to avoid programmatically creating and maintaining each grid that I needed. Simply, I didn't have the time.

Hip-Hip Hooray!!

I solved this obstacle by creating something that was long overdue, an ActiveX version of the grid control. Although the grid can support many other attributes other than the one's I exposed via ActiveX properties, I only exposed properties that I needed. What does all this buy me you Well, the answer is that I have a project with about 150 different dialogs, many of which need grids, some of which even use several grids. I needed a fast and easy way to put each of these grids on the dialogs without having to do this all programmatically. So, I simply insert my ActiveX control (called SDIGrid) into the Microsoft Visual Studio resource editor, open each dialog the needs a grid, and drop a grid onto each dialog the same way I would normally drop a button, edit box, or any other Windows common control. This allows me to quickly and easily set the location of each grid, set the number of columns and rows, set each fixed row and column heading, and set each columns data types (whether it be edit list, drop list, or boolean, without ever even having to write a single line of code! The sample project included with this control (see picture above) and the associated control took me about 2 minutes to create. If the sample program had other dialogs that also required grids they could be added in a matter of seconds, and again, I cant stress enough, without ever having to write a single line of code!

And, as an added benefit (sounds like a Ginsu knife commercial) , because ActiveX controls are binary data, you are no longer limited to using Visual C++ with the control. The grid can now be used in ANY development environment that supports ActiveX controls.


Well that's it! I hope you enjoy using the ActiveX version of the grid, I am supplying the source code in addition to a sample project so anyone can further the Grid's development. I believe that this new direction for the grid will allow it to continue to evolve. It has come so far already, and just keeps getting better.


Download demo project that uses ActiveX Grid - 20 Kb
Download source - 156 Kb



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