A while back I had a conversation with Paul Watson, telling him how nice rounded corners are in display "boxes". So a few days back I started working on what you see here. I also wanted some funky features like collapsibility, and font support that does not rely on installed fonts on the web server. The control consists of 2 parts:
CollapsableControl with designer support.
- Image.aspx a.k.a. the "graphics server"
This control is nothing more than a table that acts as a front-end to the graphics server. It also acts as a container for child controls. Basically, the control requests graphics for certain parts of it.
The graphics server
This is a code-behind version of Nick Parker's ASP.NET article, but has been modified to accept parameters in the form of a query string. For example:
This will create an UpArrow image and display it (as an image).
Points of interest
Using fonts from the web directory
static void InitPF(string path)
pf = new PrivateFontCollection();
string ttfs = Directory.GetFiles(path, "*.ttf");
for (int i = 0; i < ttfs.Length; i++)
static PrivateFontCollection pf;
Server.MapPath("") from the page to get the path. Note: this has to be
static, else there will be serious side effects on the web server.
This is the only solution at this stage. But even PNG has it problems in GDI+. I find colors are darker than there CSS counterpart, and thus the header and footer are both images. Also, transparency does not work in IE6. GIF is also a problem in the sense that:
- You need licensing, and
- I am yet to find a way to make adaptive palette transparent GIF in .NET.
JPEG, is just a big NO-NO for its size/quality cost.
Sending a PNG file to a non-seekable Stream (such as Response.OutputStream)
System.IO.MemoryStream ms = new System.IO.MemoryStream();
byte msar = ms.ToArray();
Response.OutputStream.Write(msar, 0, msar.Length);
Notes and problems
- Changing properties of the
CollapsableControl in the VS.NET designer will blatantly delete all the child controls of the control. Tip (as Paul will second me): DON'T USE IT (to set properties, set them via HTML).
- Content does not display in VS.NET designer. Not sure if above has something to do with this. Everything else is rendered correctly.
Usage and installation instructions are in the readme file.
- Added Showcase site :) There you can see WebBoxes in
DataLists, etc. Also have a derived menu control. The whole site's images are generated, except for 4 photos and the logo. Comments welcome as always.
- Fixed support for most browsers. IE5+, Mozilla 1.1+, Netscape 6.2+ . Mozilla based browsers shows the hand (pointer) cursor now. Thanks Daniel Cazzulino :).