[Lazarus] Video: Docked Designer Test

Graeme Geldenhuys mailinglists at geldenhuys.co.uk
Tue Nov 24 11:04:12 CET 2015

On 2015-11-24 09:15, Michael Van Canneyt wrote:
> 2. I place my NVC at meaningful or logical positions, or positions
> which don't disturb from finding the controls underneath.

Just to be clear, I don't like the docked forms designer idea either
(neither in Lazarus nor Delphi), but the above is also not ideal for
everybody. In my Delphi days, I have often placed non-visual components
as you described - then the form gets redesigned or new widgets added.
Then I move the non-visual forms yet again. A tabbed form often has this

Non-Visual components is just that... non-visual, and their placement
shouldn't have any impact. Getting back to the question at hand about
the classic forms designer... As I hinted before, the forms designer
already has different behaviour to the same form at runtime. So play
with that. There is no reason why the classic forms designer can't have
a non-visual area attached - keeping the actual form design uncluttered.
Lets think out of the box for a moment...  :)

Some ideas:

1. A 800x600 form could have a 200px panel at the bottom which doesn't
   form part of the designed form's runtime size. So the designer form
   is 800x800 in size. The non-visual area could be painted differently,
   to clearly indicate this area. Visual widgets can't be dropped in
   that area.

2. A floating non-visual drop area window could snap to the sides of
   the designed form and say there. It could automatically snap to the
   bottom by default, and moves with the designer form, even if the
   designer from is resized. Similar to what WinAmp or XMMS music
   players did back in the day with there secondary windows.

3. A keyboard shortcut similar to F11 could be implemented that toggles
   the form designer to show the designed form, or the non-visual
   components. If the non-visual components are visible (could look
   similar to a DataModule), they could be aligned to a grid (icon
   view) layout, or placed by hand I guess.

These are just "thinking out of the box" ideas. I'm sure more creative
minds could come up with other ideas too.

Bottom line is (for classic forms designer and docked one) - I never
liked the fact that non-visual components cluttered the designer form.
Just because Delphi did it since day one, doesn't mean Lazarus needs to
follow suite. Other development environments handle this differently -
maybe better, maybe worse. But while there is a redesign of the forms
designer, maybe this is something that could finally be addressed too.

Just my 2ยข worth. ;-)

  - Graeme -

fpGUI Toolkit - a cross-platform GUI toolkit using Free Pascal

My public PGP key:  http://tinyurl.com/graeme-pgp

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