DevExpress Controls in Visual Basic

Introduction

DevExpress has been around for a very long time and their control suites are little short of amazing. This article will introduce you to some of DevExpress' controls for Visual Basic.

DevExpress

DevExpress has a vast set of controls at your disposal on just about any platform. A lot has changed with development over the years, and most control suites these days specializes in either mobile or web controls, not all platforms.

DevExpress Controls

The controls can be divided into seven main categories:

  • Office-Inspired Controls
  • Reports and Analytics Controls
  • Navigation and App Layout Controls
  • Data Editors and Libraries
  • Utility and Multi-Use Controls
  • Scheduling and Calendar Controls
  • Controllers and Repositories

Office-Inspired Controls

As the name implies, these controls could be used in Microsoft Office-type applications. This set includes the following list of controls:

  • Grid Control
  • Spreadsheet
  • Ribbon Control
  • Scheduler
  • Grid Split View
  • Date Navigator
  • Rich Editor
  • Spell Checker
  • Toolbar-Menu
  • Navigation Bar
  • Tree List
  • Vertical Grid
  • Property Grid
  • Application Menu
  • Backstage View
  • Gallery Control
  • Popup Menu
  • Radial Menu
  • Alert Control
  • Splash Screen

Reports and Analytics Controls

Some of the reporting controls include:

For a complete list of available Windows controls, have a look here.

Support for Controls

You can browse the forums, or the knowledge base for any and all information or queries you might have concerning the use of the controls.

Where Do I Get These Controls?

Well, the first step is to download the trial version. Once you have experimented with all the various controls, you can examine the pricing information.

The DevExpress in Visual Studio

Okay, enough mucking around with all the controls mentioned on DevExpress' website. Let me delve a bit deeper.

If you have DevExpress installed on your system, you will not only have access to a multitude of excellent controls, but also to Project templates as well. These controls are shown in Figure 1:

DevExpress01
Figure 1: Template Gallery Access Page

The templates look as follows:

DevExpress02
Figure 2: Templates

These templates provide a good building platform from which to build quick applications with a very professional look and feel. Choose any one, and see what can be done with each.

Example Project

As always (well, most of the time), I like to provide an example project with my articles, and today is not any different. You can choose any of the preceding templates, or stick with an ordinary Windows Forms VB.NET project. You also may name it anything you like.

Before continuing, let me show you the added Toolbox items first. The DevExpress controls are nicely organised as shown in each of the following pictures.

DevExpress03
Figure 3: Data and Analytics controls

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Figure 4: Navigation and Layout controls

DevExpress05
Figure 5: Common Controls

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Figure 6: Reporting, Scheduling, and Rich Text Controls

DevExpress07
Figure 7: Components, Spreadsheet, and ORM Components

Having a decent look at each of them will take days. I will just show you some that I thought are very funky.

Once you have created your project, put the following controls on your form:

  • TreelistLookUpEdit
  • ButtonEdit
  • ProgressPanel
  • DurationEdit
  • TaskBarAssistant

Your form will look like Figure 8:

DevExpress08
Figure 8: Design

Let me help you set up each of these controls via the Properties Window.

TreeLookupEdit

As soon as this control is active and the Properties Window is shown, you will notice a little link at the bottom of the Properties Window allowing you to design the Treelist. Just a note, all these controls work similarly. Click the link and, inside the next screen, add the columns and items needed. My end result looks like Figure 9.

DevExpress09
Figure 9: TreelistLookupEdit

Well, obviously, I am not doing much with this control, but that is the whole beauty of it; you do not have to! Once set up and run, your TreelistLookup will resemble Figure 10.

DevExpress10
Figure 10: TreelistLookupEdit

As you can see in Figure 10, you can quickly filter items to display for each column. In this example, it is only set to Blanks and Non Blanks, but with every little piece of data you add to the TreelistLookupEdit, the Filter will reflect in the display.

ButtonEdit

A ButtonEdit control is simply a textbox with a button included. You can edit text as usual, but you also can click on the button (which is the little ellipses). In code, you will notice that the ButtonEdit has an event named ButtonPressed.

Private Sub ButtonEdit1_ButtonPressed(sender As Object,
   e As DevExpress.XtraEditors.Controls.ButtonPressedEventArgs)
   Handles ButtonEdit1.ButtonPressed
   MessageBox.Show("Yaya!")
End Sub

Simple, yet powerful. Saves a lot of time developing your own component with the same functionality.

ProgressPanel

The moment you put a ProgressPanel on your form, you can see it working.

If you go to the Properties Window, you can play around with its properties. A nice Property set to look into is the Skin, found in the Look and Feel section. Obviously, there are plenty of other Appearance properties you can set, just as with the other controls. For more information on the ProgressPanel control, have a look here.

DurationEdit

The DurationEdit control is very handy to use with scheduling tasks. I could have used a control such as this one when I built my Wallpaper Customizer... When run, it resembles Figure 11:

DevExpress11
Figure 11: DurationEdit

For more information regarding the DurationEdit control, have a look here.

TaskBarAssistant

The TaskBarAssistant provides methods to manipulate an application taskbar button, Jump Lis, and thumbnail preview. For more information on it, have a look here.

Conclusion

Obviously, I have barely scratched the surface, but ultimately the choice is yours. I hope you have enjoyed today's very short article. Until next time, cheers!



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