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An Uncommon Solution to a Common Compact Framework Problem  : Page 2

Use these flexible UncommonDialog dialog classes to lift the restrictions built into the CommonDialog classes delivered with the .NET Compact Framework.




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Designing the UncommonDialog
Figure 1. OpenFileDialog/SaveFileDialog. The figure shows the standard Open and Save dialogs for the .NET Compact Framework on the Pocket PC.
The UncommonDialog classes described in this article provide a richer set of extensibility features than the CommonDialog classes for the Pocket PC's Compact Framework CommonDialog implementation. The initial goal of this library is to address the shortcomings of the OpenFileDialog and SaveFileDialog classes (see Figure 1). However, these two dialogs are merely a subset of the Common Dialog API's broader purpose of providing a constituent and coherent user interface for a wide range of tasks, such as font and color selection and some printing functions. As it stands, many of these features do not exist in the current version of the Compact Framework on the Pocket PC. The forthcoming .NET 2 Framework will address many of these design restrictions, but many will remain—specifically those on the OpenFileDialog and SaveFileDialog classes. In addition to providing more extensibility, the UncommonDialog classes make an effort to provide a user interface similar to that of the Pocket PC's File Explorer. OpenFileDialog and SaveFileDialog offer distinctly different looks than the standard tools of the Pocket PC. In fact, the OpenFileDialog class on the Pocket PC is downright Spartan.

The core, though not the entirety, of the UncommonDialog class API is composed of 11 classes that provide the three usable Form-based dialog controls: OpenFileBrowser, SaveFileBrowser, and FolderBrowser (see Figure 2). These three control classes derive the bulk of their functionality from the FileSystemBrowser class.

Figure 2. UncommonDialog UML Model: The UncommonDialog class API contains 11 classes that provide form-based OpenFileBrowser, SaveFileBrowser, and FolderBrowser dialog controls.
The UncommonDialog Class
This class is the base class for everything in this API and as such provides the least amount of functionality so as to provide the greatest amount of commonality. This frugal class provides three protected properties (see Table 1) and only one protected method (see Table 2).

Table 1. The table lists the UncommonDialog class's protected properties.

Property Description
DialogMenu Returns the form's main menu.
DialogToolbar Returns the form's toolbar.
Panels Returns a NamedPanelCollection. This collection does not contain anything by default.
Table 2. The table lists the UncommonDialog class's sole protected method.
Method Description
InitializeDialog This method provides an opportunity to initialize the display just prior to it being displayed. Each subclass that overrides this method should make certain to call the superclass's implementation before adding any new functionality.

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