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Win-Form/Web-Form Generic Components using the same Controller

, 5 Oct 2008
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A framework to develop Win-Form and Web-Form applications using generic components
title:       generic win-form and web-form components (basolution)
author:      babak ansari jaberi
email:       babakansari@yahoo.com
member id:   36
language:    c# 2.0 
platform:    windows, .net 2.0 etc
technology:  asp.net, win froms/components, web forms/components
level:       intermediate, advanced
description: a sample framework to create and use win-form and web-from generic components with the same controller to manipulate components behaviour on screen
license:     <a href="%22%22%22%22../../info/licenses.aspx%22%22%22%22">cpol</a>

sample image - maximum width is 600 pixels

objective

the objective of this solution is to introduce a framework to create applications having both windows and web user interfaces with almost the same look and feels.

introduction

all the companies in the world (including software companies) looking for the shortest possible path to produce more quality products (software) in less time with the least possible resources (usually human experts). code reuse has always been a challenge in software industry and one of the key factors to get to the desire quality software with less time and minimum resources. if a company can produce a windows-base and web-base application in one product stream-line then there would be a considerable return of benefits to the company. because producing these two types of applications usually require two or three development methods and each one have their own risks and considerations.

the majority of software programs need to have user interface for human interactions. there are various kinds of user interfaces for various purposes. such as: windows-forms for quick and flexible access, web-forms for internet access and so on. this article introduces a software architect that can be used as a pfw (persistent framework) to develop windows and web-base applications using the same business layer and uip (user interface process) controller.

the goal in basolution is to have ui components that are common to various kinds of user interfaces so that developers can create and use those components, without being worry about their behavior in different user interface kinds. that means; having generic ui components. the generic components are being access by the developers through a single interface. for example: a generic textbox has a common text property in itextbox interface that is common to both web and windows generic components. obviously, there are some limitations to this approach, but depending on application business needs, those limitations can also be mitigated. even if you are using xaml, the components in xaml are having some properties and events that are common in their meaning to the various kinds of user interfaces.

analysis

what does basolution do?

in this framework; application developers do not need to be worry about the kind of user interface they are developing application for, whether it is windows form or web form. only component developers and architects (core developers) need to know about the details of generic components and they might need to make changes if they want to add more functionality or adjust the ui behaviors according to business developers need. so the product stream can be divided into two separate lines:

  1. framework component (framework.development) develop generic components and their behaviors
  2. business application (app.development) use the generic framework components to create the user interface in depended from technologies (windows or web).

design

how does basolution work?

basolution is a framework in which all the user interface functionalities are identified using interfaces. developing applications in basolution requires .net development and interface programming skills although conceptually it isn’t limited to any technology.developing application is separated into two solutions:

  1. app.development to develop interfaces base on business needs. identified as yellow color in following figure
  2. framework.development to develop components for both ui kinds. identified as white color in following figure

windows form ui

(app.winform)

web form ui

(app.webform)

unit tests

(app.test)

data transfer object

(app.datasets)

framework common

(framework.lib)

(framework.bainterfaces)

(framework.ui.bacontroller)

(framework.ui.baresources)

(framework.ui.bawincontrols)

(framework.ui.bawebcontrols)

(framework.ui.bawincontrols)

ui controller

(app.controller)

business

(app.businesscontroller)

data access layer (dal)

(framework.dal)

(figure 3.2.1)

refer to the sample code: we have a form (geoform that implements igeoform interface as in the example) with a bunch of components in it (geotblgrid implements igrid, geotbltreeview implements itreeview and entitycombo implements icombobox all inside igeoform). each form has a controller object that implements an interface (igeoform) to hold and use generic components that are being used in both windows and web. in the controller; application developers implement ui behaviors and use business logic layer and other services from the framework common to all user interfaces. the layering architect is as follow:

  1. presentation layer: a form/page that implements iform interface holding a reference to a controller object that the form is being passed to it.
  2. controller layer: each form/page has a controller object that works with generic components provided from the form interface to the controller.

from the example: geoctrl controller object has a reference to the form that implements igeoform interface to work with its generic components.

develop

as stated in the analysis, there can be two groups of developers (application developers & core developers). like all other technologies, application development is build on top of basolution core and obviously the core is on top of .net framework and so on. each developer group can have a proper framework solution set up to use (refer to the sample program provided):

  1. core developers:

    develop and maintain generic components

    1.1. executable projects (win-form, web-form and unit test):

    these projects can be executed independent from each other and can use services provided from underneath layers and common components. all the bacomponents are using binding mechanism to get and set data in the component using binding relation, two groups of bonded components can set up a master detail or parent child relations.

    1.1.1. windows form (winform) brings up the windows form that can access underneath common controller layer.

    1.1.2. web-form (webform) brings up the web form that can access to underneath common controller layer.

    1.1.3. unit test (test) brings up windows form access and execute its functionalities in various scenarios using common controllers.

    1.2. public library (lib) is basically a vertical layer that provides services to all other layers.

    1.2.1. framework.lib: functionalities common to all layers

    1.2.2. framework.bainterfaces: interfaces common to all layers

    1.2.3. framework.ui.bacontroller: common controllers

    1.2.4. framework.ui.baresources: resources used in all layers

    1.3. common horizontal layers

    the layers below controller that is common to all kinds of user interfaces. business layer uses data access layer (dal) to work with underlying physical data access.

  2. application (business) developers:

    use generic components to develop business related applications.

    1.1. develop applications to provide various user interface access to the application.

    1.2. use generic forms and components provided in ui layer

    1.3. implement business functionalities being used in each controller

how to use the basolution framework?

in both windows and web solutions; we create a user interface folder (ui folder) such as geofrm form in basefrm folder and in the both we should identify the bacomponents we want to include in these pages using an interface called igeoform. both ui holders should implement following interface that has a bunch of bacomponent interfaces.

public interface igeoform
    {
        string caption{ get; set; }
        itextbox geotblname{ get; }
        igrid geotblgrid{ get; }
        igrid entitytablegrid{ get; }
        icombobox geotblkind{ get; }
        iaddeditdelete addeditdel{ get; }
        ibindingmanager bindingmanager{ get; }
        ibindingmanager detailbindingmanager{ get; }
        ibindingrelation bindingrelation{ get; }
        itreeview geotbltreeview{ get; }
        icombobox entitycombo{ get; }
        itextbox entitytextbox{ get; }
        iaddeditdelete addeditdeldetail{ get; }
    } 

for windows forms we have:

public partial class lookupform : form, igeoform
{
    …
public lookupform()
      {
geoctrl ctrl = new geoctrl(this, relationkind.lookup);
      }
    …
}

and for web-forms we have:

public partial class lookupform : webpagebase, igeoform
{
    …
protected void page_load(object sender, system.eventargs e)
    {
geoctrl ctrl = new geoctrl(this, relationkind.lookup);
    }
    …
}

for both of them we create an instance of a controller implementing igeoform as stated in the above code (new geoctrl(this, relationkind.lookup)). the controller is responsible for using the interfaces provided by generic components.

/// geoctrl is the controller class for igeoform 
public class geoctrl
{
    …
public igeoform theform;

public geoctrl(igeoform theform, relationkind kind)
    {
          /// set the form that uses this controller to a 
            /// variable being used internaly by the controller
      this.theform = theform;
    …
}
…
}
  

diagram

the figure shows all the generic components used in the provided example. as stated in the diagram, all the visual components are bounded to one non-visual binding manager component and binding managers are bounded to one binding relation component to control their states (add, edit, delete or read-only).

summary

in order to create applications using basolution to have both windows and web user interfaces, we should provide interfaces for each user interaction component such as web/win components (igrid, itextbox, itextbox,…) and forms/pages (igeoform). the user interface components can contain other generic components (igeoform contains igrid, itextbox, itextbox,…). a controller object can work with interfaces provided by each ui to implement business functionalities. using generic components that are providing their method/property and events using an interface has its own limitations that can be mitigated base on business needs.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Babak Ansari
Software Developer (Senior)
Canada Canada
Software development experience since 1993
 
Skills
- Programming Languages: C# .NET, Delphi, C++, Java and VB
- Development Methodologies (SDLC): RUP, Scrum and XP
- Database: SQL server, Oracle, Apollo database and MS Access.
 
Educations & Certificates
- Microsoft® Certified Professional (MCP)
- Sun® Certified Java2 Programmer
- B.S. in computer science

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralDid you check Rocket Framework PinmemberNirosh27-Dec-10 23:25 
Generalvalidation to this controls PinmemberMicheal fernando11-Sep-09 0:50 
GeneralSo complex Pinmemberzhaojicheng5-Oct-08 23:39 
GeneralRe: So complex PinmemberDonsw25-Jan-09 13:35 
QuestionVisualWebGui Pinmembergeorani5-Oct-08 4:49 

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