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Sybase DataWindow .NET 2.0—Easy, Powerful, and Flexible

Sybase's DataWindow .NET control simplifies and unifies the process of building both Windows and Web reporting and data-entry applications—without compromising your control of either the data or the visual style.

ybase recently released DataWindow .NET 2.0, a powerful object used to build data-driven .NET applications. The DataWindow offers nearly identical capabilities for both Windows Forms and Web (ASP.NET) Forms, and it's versatile and easy to use, suitable for reporting, graphs, tree views or data entry. You can create multi-user data entry forms with only four lines of code (excluding standard try-catch blocks). Sybase's DataWindow technology, used by client-server developers since the early 1990's, integrates well into the Visual Studio environment.

DataWindow .NET 2.0 works with the full release version of Visual Studio 2005. Installation did not work with the Visual Studio 2005 beta or with the C# Express Edition. I tested the installation and development on both Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Editions.

Installation is simple and straightforward. Sybase uses InstallShield to guide users through the installation. There are several installation options (see Figure 1). Of those, you must install DataWindow .NET and the DataWindow Designer. The DataWindow .NET option installs the DataWindow components into Visual Studio's toolbox. DataWindow Designer is the tool for designing reports, graphs and data entry forms. I recommend installing the DataWindow Reference for additional help files and examples. Installing Adaptive Server Anywhere (ASA) is optional; selecting it installs Sybase's ASA database. However, new users should strongly consider this option, because ASA is required to view the DataWindow samples.

Figure 1. Installation Options: You must install the DataWindow .NET and DataWindow Designer options. The Reference is useful and the Adaptive Server Anywhere option is required for viewing the DataWindow samples.
Figure 2. Windows Forms Toolbox Additions: The figure shows the new Sybase DataWindow 2.0 category and sub-items created by installing the DataWindow.
Figure 3. Web Forms Toolbox Additions: The figure shows the new Sybase DataWindow 2.0 category and sub-items created by installing the DataWindow.
After you complete the installation, Visual Studio's Toolbox will display a new category labeled "Sybase DataWindow 2.0." Figure 2 shows the Toolbox addition as it appears in a Windows Forms project, while Figure 3 shows the addition as it appears in an ASP.NET project. The Web Form Toolbox installation appears to have a slight error. The Transaction component was not present on the toolbox, so I had to manually create and code the Transaction object for Web-based applications.

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