Related Topics: PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud

PowerBuilder: Article

Using a WPF Docking Manager in a PowerBuilder WPF Target

Everything you need to create state-of-the-art GUI applications

In a previous PBDJ article, we looked at using a third-party control, a ribbon control in particular, in a PowerBuilder WPF target. One of the other "most requested" features people have asked for is the capability to provide docking windows in their PowerBuilder applications. In this article, we're going to look at how we can do that in a PowerBuilder WPF application using a third-party docking manager.

The particular docking manager I'm going to use is the AvalonDock, an open source project on CodePlex (http://avalondock.codeplex.com/). At the time of this writing, the current version is 1.3.3571. However, that one has some dependencies on Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 libraries. PowerBuilder .NET 12 is based on the Visual Studio 2008 isolated shell, so I'm using an older build (1.1.1509) that doesn't have these dependencies.

First, we'll add the AvalonDock assembly and a reference to a new WPF application. Create a new WPF window and add the AvalonDock namespace to the Usings property for the new window. I called that new window w_frame, and coded the open event of the application object to open it. I then dropped a DockingManager control onto the window. Next create a menu (I called mine m_menu) and associate that menu with the new window as well.

I then edited the XAML for the new window to provide a couple of RowDefinitions and to add a StatusBar to the bottom of the window. My modified window XAML looks like this:

<RowDefinition Height="*"/>
<RowDefinition Height="24"/>
<my:DockingManager x:Name="dockingmanager1" Grid.Row="0">
<StatusBar Grid.Row="1">
<StatusBarItem Content="Docking Panel Demo"/>

The bottom RowDefinition is 24 units high, and the top RowDefinition takes up whatever remaining space there is (the majority of the window). The DockingManager is located in the top RowDefintion (Rows is a zero-based collection), and the StatusBar is assigned to the bottom RowDefinition.

I'm also going to create three instance variables in the window for the ResizingPanel, a DocumentPanel, and a DockablePanel:

ResizingPanel resPanel
DockablePane dockPane
DocumentPane documentPane

In the open event of the window I'll instantiate those items, associate the DockablePane and the DocumentPane to the ResizingPanel, and finally associate the ResizingPanel to the DockManager we added in the designer:

resPanel = create ResizingPanel
resPanel.Orientation = System.Windows.Controls.Orientation.Horizontal!
dockPane = create DockablePane
documentPane = create DocumentPane
dockingmanager1.Content = resPanel

In the menu, I'll add two menu items: one to open a document "sheet" into the DocumentPane and another to open a "tab" in the DockablePane. They'll just fire events on the window that will actually do the work though. For example:

ParentWindow.event dynamic ue_opensheet()

Here's where it gets interesting. What the docking manager wants to see opening into the DockablePane and the DocumentPane are objects derived from the DockableContent and DocumentContent classes. What we're going to do is create a couple of PowerBuilder custom visual user objects, and then create an inner control on each of those classes. In an existing application, you would need to modify the XAML for your window ancestor classes to accomplish the same thing. The XAML for the resulting objects, u_document and u_panel, look like this Listings 1 and 2. (Listings 1-3 can be downloaded here.)

Now we can go back to w_frame and code the events that open a "sheet" (u_document) and a "tab" (u_panel) (see Listing 3).

Run the app, select the options to open a sheet and a panel two times each, and you should have something that looks similar to Figure 1. Some things to note:

  • Dockable items are capable of autohiding.
  • Dockable items can also be "floated" and moved outside of the frame, even onto a second monitor, giving multi-monitor support.
  • If an item is given a name, the DockingManager can serialize the layout of those items and store it so that it can be reloaded the next time the application runs. The result is that the user's preference for the pane layouts can be remembered between sessions.
  • At any time you can drag an item and use the layout indicators to create new docking groups or move the item onto an existing docking group (see Figure 2).

There you have it - multiple-monitor support, docking panes, autohiding panes and the ability to store and retrieve layouts. Everything you need to create state-of-the-art GUI applications.

Note: Special thanks go out to Peter Conn of the U.S. Census Bureau. His presentation of how he implemented something similar using a commercial third-party docking manager at TechWave 2010 is what prompted me to look into doing it with an open source implementation. He also helped me through some of the stumbling blocks I ran into as I was putting it together.

More Stories By Bruce Armstrong

Bruce Armstrong is a development lead with Integrated Data Services (www.get-integrated.com). A charter member of TeamSybase, he has been using PowerBuilder since version 1.0.B. He was a contributing author to SYS-CON's PowerBuilder 4.0 Secrets of the Masters and the editor of SAMs' PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
russf0426 10/31/12 12:40:00 PM EDT


Can you elaborate on your choice of avalon? Is your example not possible with the default dockpanel?

acartagenas 08/21/11 04:45:00 AM EDT

Hi Bruce,

This is a very good article for us PB developers. However, the word doc does not exists on the web server.


Latest Stories
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.