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Sybase DataWindow .NET 2.0—Easy, Powerful, and Flexible : Page 4

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.

Using DataWindows for Web Forms
One of the nicest features is the simplicity of creating one object that's usable in both Windows and Web applications. The programming code shown for the Windows form earlier is the same as that used for Web Forms. Figure 14 shows the form from the Windows sample application in Figure 12 running as a Web Form. There is a price to pay. The Web Form HTML is rather large because it achieves much of its functionality via javascript generated by the DataWindow control. A simple form generates roughly 100K of HTML and JavaScript, so your forms will not be the lightest if you use all the default properties for the DataWindow control. The DataWindow control now provides several properties that control and eliminate unnecessary JavaScript if you don't use certain DataWindow features. See the documentation for more information about these properties.

Figure 14. A Web Forms Version: Here's a screenshot of the Web Forms version of the sample application running from the same data input form initially designed for the Windows version.
Despite the effort Sybase has put into the Web version of the DataWindow, there are still more differences between the Windows and Web versions in addition to the tree view type mentioned earlier, which isn't available in the Web version.

One disappointment was that I had to manually code a Transaction object to use it in an ASP.NET application because the control wasn't available in the Web Toolbox. Fortunately, this appears to be nothing more than an error in the install, and you can add the control in code. Here's the code I used to overcome the missing Transaction object:

   Sybase.DataWindow.Transaction SQLCA = 
      new Sybase.DataWindow.Transaction();
   transaction1.Dbms = Sybase.DataWindow.DbmsType.Odbc;
   transaction1.AutoCommit = false;
   transaction1.DbParameter = 
      "ConnectString='DSN=mySQLServer;UID=;PWD=', " +
      "ConnectOption='SQL_INTEGRATED_SECURITY," + 
Author's Note: The control provides additional DHTML and stylesheet properties for maximum control of the output.

Sybase's latest upgrade of the DataWindow product is flexible, powerful, easy-to-use and performs very well. The product acts and feels more polished than the initial 1.0 release. The Web Forms capability works well, but imposes a size overhead penalty. DataWindow .NET 2.0 would be a nice addition for anyone developing data-centric applications. The DataWindow object provides one interface for designing reports, nested reports, graphics, labels, and data entry forms—and for the most part, these objects work in both Windows and Web Forms.

DataWindow .NET 2.0 provides a logical migration path for PowerBuilder developers moving to .NET. Developers familiar with PowerBuilder 7.0 or later will immediately recognize the DataWindow designer. The majority of the functions and methods are similar to PowerBuilder, albeit with minor changes to some of the language elements. Still, PowerBuilder developers will find DataWindow .NET 2.0 a fast and easy transition for developing data-driven MDI applications in .NET.

It's worth noting that since version 1.0 of the DataWindow appeared, Microsoft has closed the gap considerably with regards to designing and implementing grid-based forms. The latest release of Visual Studio 2005 simplifies creating grid-based forms while minimizing programming. Sybase's DataWindow .NET 2.0 still adds value for those developing data-centric applications.

Frank Giannino is a Web Development Manager for a Fortune 100 company, and has worked on managed client/server and Web application development teams for several fortune 500 companies.
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