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The Raize Components User Interface Design System contains more than 125 general-purpose native VCL controls. In addition to the core set of controls, Raize Components includes more than 100 component designers focused on increasing the usability of the controls and also to increase your productivity in designing user interfaces.

Component Organization

The components in Raize Components are grouped into the following seven component palette pages. Rather than isolate the data-aware controls on a separate page, controls are grouped by type and data-aware controls reside on the same page as their non-data-aware counterparts. For a complete list of all the controls in Raize Components, please see the Component List page.

  • Raize Panels
  • Raize Edits
  • Raize Lists
  • Raize Buttons
  • Raize Display
  • Raize Shell
  • Raize Widgets

Custom Framing

Every edit field, list box, combo box, tree view, and list view control in Raize Components contains a set of properties that affect the appearance of the component's border and other aspects of the component's appearance. In particular, when active (FrameVisible = True), a control's border can be displayed in 1 of 11 different styles (FrameStyle, FrameColor).

The Custom Framing properties also allow developers to select which sides of the frame will appear. As a result, all of the Raize Components can appear as line-style controls for example. This makes Raize Components the library of choice for creating applications that mimic paper forms. In addition, the custom framing properties support showing a second frame style whenever the mouse is positioned over the control or the control receives the input focus (i.e. FrameHotTrack, FrameHotStyle, FrameHotColor). Of course, the custom framing properties can be turned off so that the component appears with its default border.

The Custom Framing technology in Raize Components also provides additional ways of altering the appearance of controls. In particular, the FocusColor property specifies the color to be used whenever a control receives the input focus. Likewise, the DisabledColor and ReadOnlyColor properties specify the color to use when the control is disabled and read-only, respectively.

The complete list of Custom Framing properties include:

  • Color
  • DisabledColor
  • FlatButtonColor
  • FlatButtons
  • FocusColor
  • ReadOnlyColor
  • FrameColor
  • FrameController
  • FrameControllerNotifications
  • FrameHotColor
  • FrameHotStyle
  • FrameHotTrack
  • FrameSides
  • FrameStyle
  • FrameVisible
  • FramingPreference

To make it even easier to manage the appearance of controls, each control that supports Custom Framing can be connected to a TRzFrameController, which has its own set of framing properties. When a property is changed in a TRzFrameController, the corresponding property in all connected controls is automatically updated. The FrameControllerNotifications property (at the control level), allows a control to pickup a subset of the custom framing properties as they are changed by the TRzFrameController. An example of this would be removing the fcpFrameSides property from the FrameControllerNotifications set of a TRzMemo control as illustrated in the screen shot below. The Payment Notes field picks up all other custom framing properties (such as FrameColor), but instead of displaying just the Bottom side of the control, the memo displays the left and bottom sides since it is multi-line.

Custom Framing Technology in Action

Visual Styles, Gradient Color Schemes, and Windows Themes

Many of the controls in Raize Components provide a variety of visualizations. For example, version 3 introduced full support for Windows Themes, such that if an appropriate application manifest was defined, the controls would use the current theme elements for their visualization. Otherwise, the standard visualization would be used. In addition, a custom visualization could be created by using the Custom Framing technology and other properites defined by the individual control.

In version 4, great strides have been made in making it much easier for developers to get the visualization they desire. This is accomplished with the new VisualStyle property that has been added to many controls. Regardless of the control, VisualStyle can be set to vsClassic, vsWinXP, or vsGradient. The default value is typically vsWinXP, which results in the control using a Windows Theme element if it is available (Windows XP was the first version of Windows that supported Windows Control Themes). If themes are not available, vsClassic will be used, which represents the traditional non-themed style of visualization.

Windows themed controls have a much more modern appearance, with flat styles, gradients, and hot tracking, but their biggest drawback is that you are stuck with the system theme defined by Microsoft for the version of Windows you are using. However, controls in Raize Components provide additional visualizations that do allow for more customization. The VisualStyle value of vsGradient represents the third major classification of visualizations in Raize Components.

When vsGradient is specified, the control will be displayed using gradient fills instead of solid color fills. The colors used for the gradients depend on the value of the new GradientColorStyle property. The default value of gcsSystem results in colors that are based on system colors such as clBtnFace and clHighlight. When gcsMSOffice is specified and Windows Themes are present, the gradient colors match those used by Microsoft Office products. When Windows Themes are not present, the resulting colors are those from gcsSystem. To specify custom colors to be used in gradient fills, specify the gcsCustom value and then assign the appropriate color properties.

The following screen shots represent the same form from the RCDemo application running under different versions of Windows under different combinations of VisualStyle and GradientColorStyle settings. Click each image for a larger view.

Windows 7
VisualStyle := vsGradient;
GradientColorStyle := gcsSystem;

Windows 7
VisualStyle := vsGradient;
GradientColorStyle := gcsMSOffice;

Windows XP
VisualStyle := vsGradient;
GradientColorStyle := gcsSystem;

Windows XP
VisualStyle := vsGradient;
GradientColorStyle := gcsMSOffice;

VCL Styles - Custom VCL Skinning in RAD Studio XE2

RAD Studio XE2 introduces a really cool new feature called VCL Styles. It is essentially a style engine that manages the appearance of the user interface of your controls and forms. RAD Studio XE2 comes with several pre-built VCL Styles, and it is possible to create your own custom VCL Styles.

Raize Components 6 provides full support for VCL Styles. The following screen shots show the same form from the RCDemo application running with different VCL Styles. It is important to note that changing between styles can be performed dynamically at runtime without having to recompile your code.

Style: Amthyst Kamri

Style: Aqua Graphite

Style: Golden Graphite

Style: Aqua Light Slate

Custom PageControl and TabControl

The above screen shots not only illustrate the VCL Styles support in Raize Components, but they also highlight one of the most popular controls in the library, the TRzPageControl (along with the TRzTabControl). These are custom VCL controls that do not depend on the Windows Common Control DLL. As a result, the TRzPageControl provides many more features and customization options. For example, the TRzPageControl and TRzTabControl support 5 different tab styles, as well as hot tracking (even without Windows themes). You can also color individual pages, and even disable individual pages. There is even built-in support for re-ordering tabs via drag-and-drop.

Component Designers

Raize Components provides an extensive set of component designers designed to increase your productivity when designing a user interface.

Context Menus

Nearly every single component in the library supports a customized context menu. Simply right-click on a component in the Form Designer and you will be presented with a list of the common settings associated with the component. For example, all component reference properties (e.g. Images) can be established using the context menu. Other examples include setting a control's Align property, changing the style of tabs in a TRzPageControl, adding items to a TRzListBox, plus much more.

There is even a context menu registered for TForm. Right-click on an open area of a form to quickly add common components and controls to your form. You can even create multiple controls at one time by using the Quick Design templates as shown in the following example.

The user right-clicks on an open area of a TForm, and selects one of the Quick Design templates.

After selecting the desired template, the appropriate controls are automatically created and positioned on the form. A developer could then use the form's context menu to add additional controls and components such as an image list, or frame controller.

Select Image Editor

Speaking of images, the Select Image Editor shown below has a stock palette of more than 130 custom 16x16 pixel, 256 color images. This editor is used throughout Raize Components for populating ImageIndex properties as well as Glyph bitmap properties.

TRzCheckList Editor

The TRzCheckList component has many powerful features such as groups, tab stops, and enabling/disabling individual items. To make setting up the control easier, a custom Check List Editor is provided.

TRzRadioGroup Editor

Adding radio buttons to a TRzRadioGroup or TRzDBRadioGroup is much easier in Raize Components than editing Items properties. With the TRzRadioGroup editor, items can be loaded from a file, buttons can be arranged into Columns, and you can even specify the initial selected item. A similar editor is provided for the TRzCheckGroup control.

Give Raize Components a Try

With more than 125 controls in the library, this page only scratches the surface of what capabilities are included in the product. The best way to learn about the controls is to try them out. On our Demo/Trial page we have a Trial Edition of Raize Components available for download. You can also download the Raize Components Demo program and see the capabilities of the controls without having to install them.

Click here to go to the Demo/Trial page.