Greatis Ultimate Component Pack
1st Jan 2007 | 00:00
Write your own development environment
Greatis Ultimate Component Pack is a collection of Delphi components and utilities, some of which can be purchased individually. It's compatible with everything from Delphi 3 onwards, is royalty free and purchasers receive full source code at no additional cost.
For unashamed geeks, the real appeal here is in the Form Designer and Property Inspector components. If you fancy having a crack at writing your own development environment, then these components will save you a great deal of work. As the names suggest, these components represent very passable clones of the Form Designer and Property Inspector functionality built into the IDE itself.
Now, chances are that you're probably not in the business of creating your own IDE, but these components do have other uses. For example, the Form Designer makes it possible to rearrange the components on a form at run-time, rather than design-time.
This opens up the possibility of providing customers with applications that they can tailor to their own specific needs by removing buttons and controls they never use, freeing up screen real estate to maximise other user interface elements. The Property Inspector is a particularly good representation of what's in the Delphi IDE, although it might need simplifying for end-user use.
In addition to the above, there are a number of other extras. Foremost among these is the dreadfully named 'WinDowse' utility. This is like Microsoft's Spy utility (part of the SDK). It can be used to examine numerous aspects of selected windows in an already-running application.
Just move the mouse over the window you're interested in and you'll see a wealth of info on the window class, handle, client size, process ID, screen coordinates and so on. Well, that's the theory. In practice, when we tried compiling and executing WinDowse, we got an immediate GPF when running under XP SP2.
Other goodies include a component for tracking down file-system notifications in a specific folder, another for easily accessing file version information and so on. These extra components are of variable quality (why doesn't the Desktop settings component do something useful, such as saving/restoring desktop icon positions?) but you'll find something useful in there. Dave Jewell