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General :  implementing layout. Best?

ZifNab asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-04

 First : does someone knows a place on the web, where you can find some information about layouts of programs? The best things to do for that sort of programs, etc.?

 Second : A program has to reed the results of about 30 centers each day. You about 30 meassurements + graphs, etc per center. Once in week 15 meassurements are added with these 30.  These values have to be checked on : there value and the variation in time (one week, two week, ...)
My idea (how I've done it now) was to make child windows and the user himself can choose which windows he wants to see. Also every window has it's own sort of menu (e.g. choosing range for variation ...). It's placed on a floating toolbars.

 I thought this way it was possible also to verify to centers next to each other. But because the windows or linked directly to the database. A change in one window implements a change in the other window.

You see I'm little stuck here. Each solution has it's own +points, but none does everything I want!

Does someone has an idea, how I best can work?
Does someone know about a component that gives you the possibility to shrink or grow a form? (I think this is a good way to show the result which come ones in a week, better ideas?)
How can you implement something in a database program that you can check different results (e.g. the weekly values of two centers? The Last and First day of the week of one center?)


Help! Please straiten up my brain!


Points will be raised, depending on the totallity of the answers.
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Whew, quite a few questions Zif! Oh well, I'll bite!

On the first question, do you mean layout of the code (proper indents, etc?) or of the user interface? If it's the layout of your form then you might try what I do, which is locate a program that does something *close* to what I want to accomplish and then duplicate it's user interface. Microsoft has some pretty good user interfaces in Word, Access & Excel that I frequently replicate. Sometimes your app is so oddball that you just gotta kinda come up with *something* and then let the users steer you in the right direction by telling you what takes too long, is too hard to use, etc.

As far as the 30 centers with 30 measurements & assocated graphs I would probably consider using the TreeView component to let the user "drill down" to the center & measurement they wanted to see. This would occupy about half the form to display the expanded tree. As they clicked on each item (center/measurement/graph,etc) the right-half of the form (usually on a TPanel or TTabbed Notebook) would automatically change to display the type of information (details) relevant to what they were clicking on. Just a thought but my users LOVE this because they don't have to keep opening & closing stuff to see different types of data

As far as centers that are close to the selected center, maybe a pop-up menu on the selected center in the tree / list view that would execute an SQL Statement to go and find the nearest 10 centers or something like that. If you want to get into some truly useful (read bizarre) SQL statements to do this check out SQL FOR SMARTIES by Joe Celko ISBN #1-55860-323-9. This one book has saved me more time than any other I have when it comes to constructing complex SQL Statements for analysis.

Ad far as shrinking/growing a form by using code just issue something like:

Form1.Width := Form1.Width -1
Form1.Height := Form1.Height -1

or whatever, not sure if that's what your trying to do but might work in a pinch :)

As far as calculating statistics across a week (averages, minimum and maximum values (or dates), mean deviations, etc) go and grab the SQL for Smarties book, it covers all of these things and some you haven't imagined yet!. As a start, look up the Min, Max and AVG functions in the MS SQL Server on-line help.

Anyways, good luck with your project and let me know if I can be of further assistance :)

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Well, you convinced me. I wanted to make it possible with child windows and stuff (would be easy to check some centers next to each other, ...) But you're right, this would give to much clicking and .... The tree, the other window (with tabs, daily, weekly, ...), and another window (which displays graph or text), that's a much better layout and a lot easier and less complicated. Thanks for your answer and for reading my question!
Thanks also for giving the hint about SQL-book!
Question : Do you know a good component which I can use for my tree lay-out? Which offers some more than the normal tree component?
Zif, I'm not familiar with any other Tree-style components other than the TTreeView component that comes with Delphi 3. I would imagine that there are tons of variations on this component depending on what you wanted to do, like graphics, drag-n-drop, and other stuff. I usually don't buy components but rather roll my own if the functionality of the existing unit doesn't suit my task. The standard TTreeView does a pretty good job though!

You may also want to look for a notebook component that allows the tabs down the side, might be handy for you app (and spiffy-looking too!). When you get a bit done on the user-interface do an Alt-PrintScreen (copy to clipboard), paste it into a WordPad document and send it to tnorris@hti.net. Might be able to give ya a few more pointers on the UI :)

Good luck with you project!


Pegasus, thanks for the advice! I'll send you a copy of the screen when I think it's almost finished.
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