Review: XtraVerticalGrid

XtraVerticalGrid Suite 1.0
$299.99 ($249.99 without source code)
Developer Express
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 262-0609

The folks from Developer Express are back with another custom control for your .NET Windows forms applications. They call this one an "inverted grid" control. That means that, like the DataGrid, it shows a set of records from a table (or other data source). But unlike the DataGrid, in the XtraVerticalGrid each record is shown in a column, with fields rendered as rows. It's as if you stood a regular grid on its side.

The control includes a lot more features that you're ever going to find in a Microsoft control, though. For starters, you can select a custom editor for any field on the grid - a combo box, a date or time editor, a calculator, an image box, and so on; the control ships with a couple of dozen of these. Editors can be stored in a central repository so that, for example, you could design one combo with data unique to your company and then share it among numerous grids -- and only have to update it in one place when things change.

Visually, you can control every piece of the display here. Choose whether or not to use XP themes, use windows styles, turn on or off alpha blending at a fine level of detail, control gridlines, the style of tree buttons, and so on. You can arrange the fields within a column in a hierarchy so that chunks expand and collapse separately. You can even add multiple editing cells to a single row in the column, giving you a sort of hybrid of a normal and inverted grid. There's even a way to set it up for end-users to customize the rows at runtime.

There's a single-record view which means you can use the grid to display one record at a time. In some cases, this can be superior to just dropping controls on a form, because you get the benefits of automatic resizing, theme support, and so on with the XtraVerticalGrid.

Like the other Developer Express controls, XtraVerticalGrid delivers a very full set of documentation. This includes integrated Visual Studio .NET style help, a set of demo applications with full source code in both VB .NET and C#, and the full C# source code for the control itself. When you're designing a high-end user interface for a .NET application, their controls are definitely worth a look.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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