PowerBuilder – Datawindow Usability Improvements

Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2012 at 5:25 pm in

I did a presentation at the 2012 PowerBuilder Developers Conference on improving the user experience in older PowerBuilder applications.  Later in December 2012 I presented an abstract of that on PowerBuilder TV.  The recorded session can be found here.

I have updated the presentation files along with exports of the PB objects so that folks using versions prior to 12.5 can take a look at the code and the functionality it provides.  The new file is available here.

The examples presented cover some basic datawindow functionality techniques which can improve the ‘usability’ of an application.  Most of these can be considered ‘second nature’ in that many ‘modern’ applications do these sorts of things already.  Taking advantage of the power of the datawindow, these types of improvements can be made quickly and with very low risk to an already established user base.  What I mean here is since the ‘improvement object (IO)’ is inherited from a datawindow, all you need to do is to establish a reference between any datawindow already in your application and the IO, wire some events on the existing datawindow to corresponding events on the IO, and you have access to the new functionality.

Once you have the IO in place, it’s easy to add even more functionality to it and have those improvements flow into as many datawindows in your applications as you like.

In this version of the IO I have included ‘Type ahead’ functionality.  My earlier blog post on this is here.

Treeview like tooltips.  Blog post is here.

‘Mouseover’ effects.  Similar blog post is here.

And a ‘Universal Searcher’ tool which can be used not only on datawindows but also multi line edit, rich text edit, and treeview controls.

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