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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 22, 2000

Buy an ActiveX Control or Develop Your Own?

Question:
I am endeavoring to provide a graphical booking sheet metaphor (i.e. timeslots v. names) in an ActiveX Document. The third party grids I've tried, purchased and tested don't allow the following:

1. multiple icons and text per cell

2. auto-merging/auto-joining of matching cells across both rows and columns at the same time

3. hiding individual gridlines on a cell-by-cell basis which would allow me to work around the item 2 requirement

Some of the grids looked at so far: True DBGrid Pro, VSFlexGrid Pro, Janus GridEx and GreenTree XGrid (and waiting for replies from a couple others).

As a last resort, I will purchase Dundas Software's Ultimate Grid and pay someone to modify the MFC/C++ source code.

Someone suggested a large control array of textboxes, line controls, image controls, etc. This would mean coding all my own scrolling, data-refreshing, re-drawing, etc., but it would also mean keeping it all in native VB code and knowing exactly how my "grid" works. Any other suggestions?

Answer:
Would you consider using a DHTML interface and manipulating it using the DHTML object model? Using an HTML table as a grid, you can put as much of whatever you want in any cell. You can merge rows and cols using the Colspan and Rowspan attributes of a cell. You can control the individual borders using the Style attributes. If you want to use a VB form, not a browser, you can place a Browser control (Microsoft Internet Controls, shdocvw.dll) on a form. The browser control's Document property gives you access to the DHTML object model. Just make sure you browse to an HTML file—even a blank one—or else the Document property will return Nothing.

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