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Layout Question

Posted on 2004-03-26
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Last Modified: 2010-03-31
I will be making up a tabbed pane with about 10 checkbox groups some with 60 and others with 8 would FlowLayout be the best. Please give me your imput please.. You guys are great!
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Question by:Drop_of_Rain
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34 Comments
 
LVL 86

Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 10685590
The layout you choose is entirely dependent on the pattern in which you want the components to be displayed and their inter-cooperation. FlowLayout should work
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685592
No, FlowLayout would not be good for so many check-boxes. It might look a little dis-organized.
0
 
LVL 86

Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 10685601
The groups, incidentally, could be grouped on a JPanel, each with a FlowLayout set, and those contained in another JPanel, also with FlowLayout set
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685602
for each group of checkboxes : BoxLayout (Y-axis)
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685619
CEHJ, you think it would be good to have a FlowLayout?
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685624
>> could be grouped on a JPanel....and those contained in another JPanel, also with FlowLayout set

Yes, that would do.
0
 
LVL 86

Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 10685635
>>CEHJ, you think it would be good to have a FlowLayout?

Well it depends on how it's used. Obviously if all the checkboxes were flowed one after the other it would be a mess.
0
 
LVL 86

Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 10685645
I think zzynx's idea could be a good one
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685660
I have never had so much activity so fast.. I am very new to programing. If someone could give me some example code for this layout would be great.  I learn best by example.. You guys just amaze me, I'm so glad you are out there. I will be using the windows platform at first.

Thanks
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685713
The boxs will be one after another. How do you think I should lay these out. I could break them up on two different tabs. That would help some.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685734
If they were colored different would that help in breaking them up better.
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685735
And this is the Java help on BoxLayout:

A layout manager that allows multiple components to be laid out either vertically or horizontally. The components will not wrap so, for example, a vertical arrangement of components will stay vertically arranged when the frame is resized.  
 
The BoxLayout manager is constructed with an axis parameter that specifies the type of layout that will be done. There are four choices:

X_AXIS - Components are laid out horizontally from left to right.
Y_AXIS - Components are laid out vertically from top to bottom.
LINE_AXIS - Components are laid out the way words are laid out in a line, based on the container's ComponentOrientation property. If the container's ComponentOrientation is horizontal then components are laid out horizontally, otherwise they are laid out vertically. For horizontal orientations, if the container's ComponentOrientation is left to right then components are laid out left to right, otherwise they are laid out right to left. For vertical orientations components are always laid out from top to bottom.
PAGE_AXIS - Components are laid out the way text lines are laid out on a page, based on the container's ComponentOrientation property. If the container's ComponentOrientation is horizontal then components are laid out vertically, otherwise they are laid out horizontally. For horizontal orientations, if the container's ComponentOrientation is left to right then components are laid out left to right, otherwise they are laid out right to left.  For vertical orientations components are always laid out from top to bottom.
For all directions, components are arranged in the same order as they were added to the container.

BoxLayout attempts to arrange components at their preferred widths (for horizontal layout) or heights (for vertical layout). For a horizontal layout, if not all the components are the same height, BoxLayout attempts to make all the components as high as the highest component. If that's not possible for a particular component, then BoxLayout aligns that component vertically, according to the component's Y alignment. By default, a component has a Y alignment of 0.5, which means that the vertical center of the component should have the same Y coordinate as the vertical centers of other components with 0.5 Y alignment.

Similarly, for a vertical layout, BoxLayout attempts to make all components in the column as wide as the widest component. If that fails, it aligns them horizontally according to their X alignments. For PAGE_AXIS layout, horizontal alignment is done based on the leading edge of the component. In other words, an X alignment value of 0.0 means the left edge of a component if the container's ComponentOrientation is left to right and it means the right edge of the component otherwise.

Instead of using BoxLayout directly, many programs use the Box class. The Box class is a lightweight container that uses a BoxLayout. It also provides handy methods to help you use BoxLayout well. Adding components to multiple nested boxes is a powerful way to get the arrangement you want.
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685743
>> If they were colored different would that help in breaking them up better
I tend to use a less color as possible.
A program that looks as a color book looks unprofessional in my opinion.
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685745
>> If they were colored different would that help in breaking them up better

Yes.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685747
Would struts or glue be better?
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685750
>> looks unprofessional in my opinion

Depends upon the colours used. And the number of colours used too. Simple, alternating colours won't look bad.
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685755
>> The boxs will be one after another.
>> How do you think I should lay these out. I could break them up on two different tabs.
>> That would help some.

I would try to make 2 or 3 "columns" (boxes; cf. above) of check boxes per tab.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685762
Can you change the shades of grey?
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685783
>> Would struts or glue be better?
I would go for glue.
Avoid giving up as much magic numbers (struts) as possible,
because that "against" the LayoutManager principles.

If you add an equal number of checkboxes to each box it will look OK.
0
 
LVL 86

Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 10685812
>>
Avoid giving up as much magic numbers (struts) as possible,
because that "against" the LayoutManager principles.
>>

Right. Try not to introduce absolute factors into the layout
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685820
>> Can you change the shades of grey?
What do you mean? Of the check boxes?

I always say: "In coding everything is possible!"
But the one thing is easier done than the other.
;)
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685841
Thanks, I cant change the number of checkboxs they all have a different number and cover different information. Yet they are all related to each other to create the outcome.
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Mayank S
ID: 10685865
>> Can you change the shades of grey?

Yes, you can. Change the parameters you pass to the Color (int, int, int) constructor. You have many shades.
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10685921
>> Thanks, I cant change the number of checkboxs they all have a different number and cover >> different information. Yet they are all related to each other to create the outcome.

Don't understand what you mean.
Do your checkboxes have a number???

Are you commenting this one:
>> If you add an equal number of checkboxes to each box it will look OK.

Do you mean one column can contain 10 checkboxes while another (should - according to the program's logic -) only contains six?
You can always add empty JLabels to get the vertical alignment right
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10685967
Well i box will have 6o checkboxs numbered 1-60 another will have 60 another 8 another 10 another 4 another 9 another 11 another 8 another 6 another 5 another another 7 they all could be being used. It depends what the person want to create for there outcome.
0
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:zzynx
ID: 10686269
>> Well i box will have 6o checkboxs numbered 1-60
How this fits in a # of columns depends on the length of the check box texts
How much per column depends on the "allowable" height of your panel
Idem for the others
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10695236
I need some help with splitting up the points on this question.  Do I have to give eah on some points?

0
 
LVL 4

Accepted Solution

by:
funnyveryfunny earned 2000 total points
ID: 10695677
Hi,

I think using colours would help with separating each group of checkboxes but this approach still doesn't satisfy another criteria of good GUI, that is "Focus". Think about the time a user needs to search for a particular group, a new user will need to scan through 10 groups to find out which group he needs and an experienced user has to rely on his memory to locate a group. So whether your users are experienced or not, you're making too much work for them.

I would suggest another approach, assuming each of your group contains a specific character then this character would be the _name_ of this group (remember this name has a meaning therefore a user can identify to it). With this approach, you only need to transfer focus twice. Initially, the focus would be on a list of names, perhaps awt.List, a user then chooses a name that is appropiate to his required action then the chosen group will appear dominantly in the center of your program. Because this effect causes a user, subconsciously, to look at it, imagine a pop-up window, hence second focus transition.

It's difficult to draw the layout here, but if you can imagine a rectangle that contains a square and another rectangle inside it.

---------------------------------------
|                              |                |
|                              |                |
|                              |                |
|          square          |   rec         |
|                              |                |
|                              |                |
|                              |                |
----------------------------------------

rec contains a List of names and square contains all the groups.

A detail look at square:

Initially
--------------------------
|  g1         g2      g3   |
|         ----------         |
| g10  |          |  g4   |
|        |          |         |
|   g9  ----------  g5    |
|                              |
|   g8        g7     g6    |
--------------------------

then a user chooses group 10 so:

--------------------------
|  g1         g2      g3   |
|         ----------         |
|        |  g10   |  g4   |
|        |          |         |
|   g9  ----------  g5    |
|                              |
|   g8        g7     g6    |
--------------------------

Note here all the surrounding groups have the same colour, g10 has a different colour. Hence created a pop-out effect.

Now, how would we program this Java? There are many different ways to achieve this, it depends on your imagination.

:-)

That's my view.

Bye
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10695761
That is a great idea, I really like it. The problem is, I am very new at programing. I wouldn't have the slightest idea of how to do it, the way you have suggested. I would really appreciate all the help you could give with this. I learn best by example sorry to say, but that does seem to be my makeup. Im using a tabbed pane for the  overall layout for the GUI.
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:funnyveryfunny
ID: 10700430
:-)

By the way here is something I did with JBuilder, using mainly GridLayout and BorderLayout. Not perfect but demonstrates the idea.

////////////Main Frame/////////////////////////////////
import javax.swing.UIManager;
import java.awt.*;

/**
 * <p>Title: </p>
 * <p>Description: Layout example</p>
 * <p>Copyright: Copyright (c) 2004</p>
 * <p>Company: </p>
 * @author Hien Vu
 * @version 1.0
 */

public class MyApplication {
  boolean packFrame = false;

  //Construct the application
  public MyApplication() {
    GUILayout frame = new GUILayout();
    //Validate frames that have preset sizes
    //Pack frames that have useful preferred size info, e.g. from their layout
    if (packFrame) {
      frame.pack();
    }
    else {
      frame.validate();
    }
    //Center the window
    Dimension screenSize = Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().getScreenSize();
    Dimension frameSize = frame.getSize();
    if (frameSize.height > screenSize.height) {
      frameSize.height = screenSize.height;
    }
    if (frameSize.width > screenSize.width) {
      frameSize.width = screenSize.width;
    }
    frame.setLocation((screenSize.width - frameSize.width) / 2, (screenSize.height - frameSize.height) / 2);
    frame.setVisible(true);
  }

  //Main method
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    try {
      UIManager.setLookAndFeel(UIManager.getSystemLookAndFeelClassName());
    }
    catch(Exception e) {
      e.printStackTrace();
    }
    new MyApplication();
  }
}
/////////////////End Main///////////////////////////////////

////////////Important part//////////////////////////////
import java.awt.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;

/**
 * <p>Title: </p>
 * <p>Description: GUI layout in action</p>
 * <p>Copyright: Copyright (c) 2004</p>
 * <p>Company: </p>
 * @author Hien Vu
 * @version 1.0
 */

public class GUILayout extends JFrame {
  MouseListener mouseListener;
  String[] groupList = {"g1","g2","g3","g4","g5","g6","g7","g8","g9","g10"};
  JPanel contentPane;
  BorderLayout borderLayout1 = new BorderLayout();
  GridLayout groupPaneHorizontalLayout = new GridLayout(6,10);
  GridLayout groupPaneVerticalLayout = new GridLayout(10,6);
  JPanel jPanel1 = new JPanel();
  JPanel jPanel2 = new JPanel();
  JList jList1 = new JList(groupList);
  JScrollPane listScroll = new JScrollPane(jList1);
  BorderLayout borderLayout2 = new BorderLayout();
  JPanel northPane = new JPanel();
  JPanel westPane = new JPanel();
  JPanel southPane = new JPanel();
  JPanel eastPane = new JPanel();
  JPanel selectedDisplayPane = new JPanel(new BorderLayout());
  GridLayout gridLayout1 = new GridLayout();
  JPanel g1 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  JPanel g2 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  JPanel g3 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  GridLayout gridLayout2 = new GridLayout();
  JPanel g10 = new JPanel(groupPaneVerticalLayout);
  GridLayout gridLayout3 = new GridLayout();
  JPanel g8 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  JPanel g6 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  JPanel g7 = new JPanel(groupPaneHorizontalLayout);
  GridLayout gridLayout4 = new GridLayout();
  JPanel g4 = new JPanel(groupPaneVerticalLayout);
  JPanel g5 = new JPanel(groupPaneVerticalLayout);
  JPanel g9 = new JPanel(groupPaneVerticalLayout);
  JCheckBox g1CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g6CB = new JCheckBox();


  JCheckBox g3CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g10CB = new JCheckBox();

  GridLayout gridLayout15 = new GridLayout();
  BorderLayout borderLayout3 = new BorderLayout();
  JCheckBox g2CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g9CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g8CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g7CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g4CB = new JCheckBox();
  JCheckBox g5CB = new JCheckBox();
  JLabel northFiller = new JLabel();
  JLabel southFiller = new JLabel();
  JLabel eastFiller = new JLabel();
  JLabel westFiller = new JLabel();

  //Construct the frame
  public GUILayout() {
    enableEvents(AWTEvent.WINDOW_EVENT_MASK);
    try {
      jbInit();
    }
    catch(Exception e) {
      e.printStackTrace();
    }
  }

  //Component initialization
  private void jbInit() throws Exception  {
    contentPane = (JPanel) this.getContentPane();
    contentPane.setLayout(borderLayout1);
    this.setSize(new Dimension(800, 600));
    this.setTitle("Layout example");
    jPanel1.setLayout(borderLayout2);
    jList1.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    jList1.setDoubleBuffered(true);
    jList1.setMaximumSize(new Dimension(0, 0));
    jList1.setFixedCellHeight(-1);
    jList1.setFixedCellWidth(-1);
    mouseListener = new MouseAdapter(){
      public void mouseClicked(MouseEvent e){
        if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 0){
          removeComponent();
          g1.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g1,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 1){
          removeComponent();
          g2.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g2,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 2){
          removeComponent();
          g3.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g3,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 3){
          removeComponent();
          g4.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g4,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 4){
          removeComponent();
          g5.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g5,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 5){
          removeComponent();
          g6.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g6,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 6){
          removeComponent();
          g7.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g7,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 7){
          removeComponent();
          g8.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g8,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 8){
          removeComponent();
          g9.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g9,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        else if(jList1.locationToIndex(e.getPoint()) == 9){
          removeComponent();
          g10.setBackground(Color.BLUE);
          selectedDisplayPane.add(g10,BorderLayout.CENTER);
        }
        validate();
      }
    };
    jList1.addMouseListener(mouseListener);

    jPanel2.setLayout(gridLayout15);
    jPanel1.setDebugGraphicsOptions(0);


    selectedDisplayPane.setBorder(BorderFactory.createRaisedBevelBorder());
    selectedDisplayPane.setMinimumSize(new Dimension(100, 100));
    selectedDisplayPane.setPreferredSize(new Dimension(100, 100));

    northPane.setLayout(gridLayout1);
    gridLayout1.setColumns(3);
    gridLayout1.setRows(1);

    //Border settings
    g1.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g2.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g3.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g5.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g4.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g9.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g8.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g7.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g6.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());
    g10.setBorder(BorderFactory.createEtchedBorder());

    //Assigning names
    g1.setName("g1");
    g2.setName("g2");
    g3.setName("g3");
    g4.setName("g4");
    g5.setName("g5");
    g6.setName("g6");
    g7.setName("g7");
    g8.setName("g8");
    g9.setName("g9");
    g10.setName("g10");


    westPane.setLayout(gridLayout2);
    gridLayout2.setColumns(1);
    gridLayout2.setRows(2);

    southPane.setLayout(gridLayout3);
    gridLayout3.setColumns(3);
    gridLayout3.setRows(1);

    eastPane.setLayout(gridLayout4);
    gridLayout4.setColumns(1);
    gridLayout4.setRows(2);

    g1CB.setText("g1CB");
    g3CB.setText("g3CB");
    g6CB.setText("g6CB");
    g10CB.setText("g10CB");

    gridLayout15.setColumns(1);
    listScroll.getViewport().setBackground(Color.white);
    listScroll.setMinimumSize(new Dimension(100, 24));
    listScroll.setPreferredSize(new Dimension(100, 152));

    g8CB.setText("g8");
    g7CB.setText("g7");
    g9CB.setText("g9");
    g2CB.setText("g2");
    g4CB.setText("g4");
    g5CB.setText("g5CB");
    northFiller.setBackground(Color.white);
    northFiller.setForeground(Color.white);
    northFiller.setOpaque(true);
    northFiller.setText("                         ");

    southFiller.setBackground(Color.white);
    southFiller.setForeground(Color.white);
    southFiller.setOpaque(true);
    southFiller.setText("                               ");

    eastFiller.setBackground(Color.white);
    eastFiller.setForeground(Color.white);
    eastFiller.setOpaque(true);
    eastFiller.setText("     ");

    westFiller.setBackground(Color.white);
    westFiller.setForeground(Color.white);
    westFiller.setOpaque(true);
    westFiller.setText("     ");

    contentPane.add(jPanel1, BorderLayout.CENTER);
    jPanel1.add(northPane, BorderLayout.NORTH);
    northPane.add(g1, null);
    g1.add(g1CB, null);
    northPane.add(g2, null);
    g2.add(g2CB, null);
    northPane.add(g3, null);
    g3.add(g3CB, null);

    jPanel1.add(westPane, BorderLayout.WEST);
    westPane.add(g10, null);
    g10.add(g10CB, null);

    westPane.add(g9, null);
    g9.add(g9CB, null);

    jPanel1.add(southPane, BorderLayout.SOUTH);
    southPane.add(g8, null);
    g8.add(g8CB, null);

    southPane.add(g7, null);
    g7.add(g7CB, null);

    southPane.add(g6, null);
    g6.add(g6CB, null);
    jPanel1.add(eastPane, BorderLayout.EAST);
    eastPane.add(g4, null);
    g4.add(g4CB, null);
    eastPane.add(g5, null);
    g5.add(g5CB, null);

    jPanel1.add(selectedDisplayPane, BorderLayout.CENTER);
    selectedDisplayPane.add(northFiller,  BorderLayout.NORTH);
    selectedDisplayPane.add(southFiller, BorderLayout.SOUTH);
    selectedDisplayPane.add(eastFiller,  BorderLayout.EAST);
    selectedDisplayPane.add(westFiller,  BorderLayout.WEST);
    contentPane.add(jPanel2, BorderLayout.EAST);
    jPanel2.add(listScroll,null);

  }

  public void removeComponent(){
    if(selectedDisplayPane.getComponentCount()>0){
      Component p = selectedDisplayPane.getComponent(0);
      addComponent(p);
      selectedDisplayPane.removeAll();
    }
  }

  public void addComponent(Component p){
    p.setBackground(new Color(216,208,200));
    String name = p.getName();
    System.out.println(name);
    if(name=="g1"||name=="g2"||name=="g3")
      northPane.add(p);
    else if(name=="g4"||name=="g5")
      eastPane.add(p);
    else if(name=="g6"||name=="g7"||name=="g8")
      southPane.add(p);
    else if(name=="g9"||name=="g10")
      westPane.add(p);
  }

  //Overridden so we can exit when window is closed
  protected void processWindowEvent(WindowEvent e) {
    super.processWindowEvent(e);
    if (e.getID() == WindowEvent.WINDOW_CLOSING) {
      System.exit(0);
    }
  }

  void g8CB_actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

  }

  void g9CB_actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

  }
}

class GUILayout_g8CB_actionAdapter implements java.awt.event.ActionListener {
  GUILayout adaptee;

  GUILayout_g8CB_actionAdapter(GUILayout adaptee) {
    this.adaptee = adaptee;
  }
  public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
    adaptee.g8CB_actionPerformed(e);
  }
}

class GUILayout_g9CB_actionAdapter implements java.awt.event.ActionListener {
  GUILayout adaptee;

  GUILayout_g9CB_actionAdapter(GUILayout adaptee) {
    this.adaptee = adaptee;
  }
  public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
    adaptee.g9CB_actionPerformed(e);
  }
}
//////////////////End///////////////////////////////////////////
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:funnyveryfunny
ID: 10700437
But there is a slight concern with the quantity of checkboxes you have for each group. You might need to play around a bit to achieve a balance. Currently I set each group with 6X10 or 10X6 gridlayout.

Hope it helps.

:-)
0
 

Author Comment

by:Drop_of_Rain
ID: 10701330
Well, 2 of the checkbox groups will have 60 checkboxs in them. Other 12 ans below. I will play with it until it seems easy on the eyes and easy to understand.

I want you to know how much I appricate your help. I am new to programing and my creative part of me is more developed then my ability. But with your guys help i can maybe able to turn it into reality. I will have other questions in this section. I will appricate all the help I can get. I hope you look for my questions!
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