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SandBar Features in Depth
SandBar has a robust set of features, all geared to help the developer create the perfect toolbar/menuing system. Most of its features are highly customisable and extensible.
Look and Feel
Flexible Layout System
SandBar includes a powerful layout engine which allows you to give your users maximum flexibility when customising your applications. SandBar uses this layout engine to power its various controls, including toolbars, menus, statusbars and containerbars. These controls can be docked to any location in your container or floated at any location on the screen. Docked bars can sit next to other bars and slide in to position automatically when the layout changes. They can optionally stretch to fill available space on their row.
As well as being movable, bars can also be torn off the sides of the form in to a floating state. They then stay hovering above your form, visible when the form is active, until the user drags them back in to a container or changes their position. While floating, a toolbar can be resized; items wrap intelligently to fit in the layout space available. Persisting the toolbar layouts configured by your users is made easy with two simple functions, which can optionally persist the visible states of all the buttons on the toolbar.
"Action Buttons" at the end of each toolbar provide access to any buttons that are hidden due to space constraints, and also allow the user to turn buttons on and off at will.
When short of space, buttons are either hidden and accessed via a "chevron" that appears in the actions button on the end of a toolbar, or wrapped to the next line. Five different levels of importance can be applied to toolbar items, and those that are least important can be hidden first when space gets tight.
The SandBar menuing system can be heavily customised and extended by the developer. For instance, you may want a popup menu that looks different from standard menus in order to better present a specific set of options. An example of this is the dropdown colour selection tool in Microsoft Word, which shows many options on one row as well as an option to choose a custom colour. An example of writing a custom menu is provided with the SandBar demonstration application.
Container bars are specially extended toolbars with a different layout engine, that allow controls to be safely hosted and designed within the confines of a SandBar toolbar. Although you can put any control in a container bar they are designed to offer the same look and feel as the Microsoft Office "Task Panes".
The best way to understand container bars is to think of them as ordinary toolbars with a slightly different look and layout. Differences in container bars are outlined below.
Container bars retain all the design-time functionality of normal toolbars. The toolbar itself, although just under the titlebar and drawn differently, allows the same selection and manipulation of its buttons. You can still click the actions button to add buttons.
All instances of English text in SandBar can be localised to any language.
SandBar is one of the only toolbar/menu libraries to support right-to-left menu layout for languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. Shown right is a SandBar layout mimicing the Arabic version of Microsoft Word with the Edit menu open.
Because the same advanced layout engine is shared between all bars, you can choose to make toolbars and statusbars right-to-left aware as well as just menus.