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September 27, 2007 / Bob Black

SandDock

Earlier releases of Code Toaster used the infamous Weifenluo DockPanel suite for managing the tabbed window interface. I found, unfortunately, that since DockPanel uses full-blown windows (Forms, in .Net), there was some annoying flickering and performance involved when windows were shown or hidden programmatically. Also, I found the API was a little clumsy and nonintuitive. It took (me, personally) forever to figure out how to automagically pop up the Errors window if errors were discovered after compilation, like VS does.

So I tried out SandDock from DivElements. SandDock windows inherit from Control rather than Form, so they’re lightning fast without all that extra windowing baggage hanging around. And if you’re already using Forms for your windows (as I was), it’s really easy to convert – you just change the base class from Form to the SandDock “window” control (I forget the name at the moment). You can do that because Form inherits from Control; of course if you’re using Form specific functionality you might run into some issues, but I discovered none.

The SandDock API is a breeze – no need to consult pages of documentation to figure out how to hide or show windows. Very intuitive and easy for a lazy developer such as myself. It’s not free, but it’s very reasonably priced at only $169 per developer. I consider that a good buy if it will make my app look nice and slick and tidy.

Last night while tinkering with Code Toaster I discovered my SandDock trial had expired, so I went ahead and bought a license. I’m planning on releasing the latest and greatest incarnation of Code Toaster within the next few weeks, possibly along with a very simple DAL generator, appropriately called SimpleDAL.

Keep watching here for more updates.

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