Layouts in SP1

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dhnaigles
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:34 am
Location: Marlborough, MA, USA

Layouts in SP1

Post by dhnaigles » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:06 am

When I create a form or reusable part in V14SP1 and I create a Layout for that form, whenever I drag a component into a particular row and column, the TBLO is not created for that component and I have to manually assign the row, column, position, etc. This used to be much easier in the previous V14 IDE. Is this a bug, or am I doing something wrong???

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Stewart Marshall
Posts: 417
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:25 pm

Re: Layouts in SP1

Post by Stewart Marshall » Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:08 am

Hi David

No, you're not doing anything wrong: we've made a few changes to how we handle layout management that at first glance seem like a step back, but actually greatly simplify laying out components.

There were 2 usability issues that kept cropping up: the need to create a Layout Manager in the first place, and the behaviour of controls when dropped in the designer.

Having to create a layout was a necessary first step when there were several types of Layout Manager. However, now that Table Layout has superseded all of these, why not always have one available, or better than that, why not simply make a Layout Manager when one is required?

So that's what now happens. Create a Form, drop a button and select Alignment BottomRight. A 1x1 layout is made, and the button will be placed in row1, column1 and put in the bottom right corner. The important bit here is that by selecting one layout feature e.g. Alignment, row, column, sizing and flow are set for you. If there's already a layout on the page, setting the alignment will take a best guess as to which row and column the control is in.

The second issue was that dropping a control was inconsistent and deeply confusing at times. Behaviour depended on the type of control and whether there was a layout assigned to the parent. This was OK for the most part with new forms and parts, but a horror when adding controls to more complex components. It was all to easy for the control just dropped to disappear from view, or to be huge as some controls filled the cell.

So, we took the pragmatic decision that a control should be placed exactly where you put it and be the same size every time. No having to guess where it's going to go to, or what size it's going to be, no inconsistency and no confusion.

Combine these two and what you have is a far more understandable approach to layouts and there's no black magic. Drop a control, select the size, or alignment or flow, and it will be laid out correctly. Drop another control and repeat the process. Regardless of the complexity of the component, the technique and results are the same every time.

We knew of course that this would be a little strange for users familiar with layouts, but for new users this is a far simpler and far more understandable approach.

Regards
Stewart Marshall

Independent IT Consultant
www.marshallfloyd.com.au

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