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Navisight Features in Depth

Operating Systems

  • Windows 98, ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP, 2003
  • Windows Vista, 2008
  • Windows 7

Development Environments

  • Visual Studio 2005
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • Visual Studio 2010

The Navisight suite if controls have a simple yet comprehensive set of features which, combined, give you all you need to configure the perfect navigation experience.

Navigation Bar

NavigationBar is one of the core controls in the Navisight suite and presents a switchable, categorized view of other controls. Of the many categories present in a NavigationBar, only one can be "selected" at one time. All categories display clickable headings, and clicking a heading brings that category in to view. Categories are parent controls and can therefore contain any number of children.

When switching between categories, NavigationBar applies smooth animation effects. The type of animation loop used and its duration are fully configurable. A quick animation during a category change can add a great level of polish to your application and Navisight does all the work for you. Animation effects are also available programmatically.

Although categories can host any kind of child control, you will often want to make use of the ButtonBar control. This is provided in the Navisight suite and is the ideal partner for NavigationBar. It is a simple toolbar, with items laid out from top to bottom. Item spacing can be changed, and also the highlighting scope (image and text or image only). The layout of button text around the image can be set to side or underneath.

Like most button controls, the buttons in a ButtonBar have an Activate event, and they support checked and disabled states.

A choice of three renderers is available for NavigationBar out of the box, which can be extended and customized to the nth degree. The default renderers mimic the visual style of Office 2000, Office 2002 and Office 2003. Shown on the right are a Visual Studio 2003 Toolbox lookalike and a Visio 2003 Toolbox lookalike. Shown on the left is an Outlook 2000 navigation bar lookalike. Renderers automatically update their colors from the system theme.

Explorer Bar

ExplorerBar is a great looking control for displaying a categorized list of tasks or presentation of information. This control was first seen in Explorer in Windows XP, where it shows a list of tasks that can be applied to the current folder view. It also displays information about the current selection and a preview too, which is a great use for such a control. Like NavigationBar, this control contains a number of categories. The main difference is, more than one category can be open at one time.

Categories all have headers, which can contain both text and imagery. A button is also drawn indicating whether the category is collapsed or expanded. Clicking on a category header results in a smooth animation where the category contents both fold up and fade out at the same time. These drawing routines are optimised for smooth drawing no matter what child controls are hosted in each category. Animation effects are also available programmatically.

Headings are designated as being either primary or secondary, which affects the way they are drawn. Usually the top category is primary and all the rest are secondary. You can assign a watermark image to any category, which is drawn in a very faded state in the corner, behind any child controls. Although only one renderer is provided with this control out of the box (WindowsXPRenderer) you are free to write your own or alter the behaviour of that one.

Automatic layout is applied by default to child controls of categories, though this can be turned off. Controls are laid out from top to bottom with a configurable amount of spacing, and most of the time this is a great timesaver for putting together a task pane, no matter what type of child controls you are using.

The perfect companion for ExplorerBar is the ImageHyperlink control, also included in the Navisight suite. This very simple control is assigned text and an image, and aligns them appropriately, allowing you to click on the text as if it were a hyperlink. The control also works with NavigationBar categories to automatically change its size when its text or image changes.

ExplorerBar and ImageHyperlink both fully support right-to-left layout for locales that need it.

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