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How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application

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  • How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application

    The attachment includes full code and screenprints to demonstrate how you can build a powerful menu for your application and overcome the following limitations of the native A5 Tree control:

    1. Backgound color can be specified
    2. Individual nodes background color can be specified
    3. Custom bitmaps change depending on node status
    4. Extremely simple underlying table, which avoids A5 need for repeating values
    5. Allows for possibility of user maintained menus.
    6. Allows menu maintenace with NO CHANGES TO CODE; no XDialog here
    7. Avoids form redesign due to changing structure of application, use of buttons as navigation tool

    This code is ready to go and suitable for novice use.

    Thanks to many contributors to this forum who helped me along the way on this project. It just goes to show what Alpha Five can do when linked to quality third party ActiveX controls.

  • #2
    Re: How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application


    A very nice contribution to Alpha's users and extremely well documented!!---really shows that almost anything can be done with Alpha given time and sometimes a little extra from a third party tool.

    You did this with version 9 --I didn't notice anything in your scripts that would limit this from being used in version 8 (maybe even version7 but unsure of that). Do you know if it can be used in version 8 (or does anyone know) ?
    It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
    It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
    Henry David Thoreau


    • #3
      Re: How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application


      There is nothing unique to A5V9. When I started this project, I was using V8, and upgraded when V9 became available.

      I really would like to Alpha offer a section on the message board where users could document 3rd party ActiveX controls that they were able to use effectively with A5.

      Specifically, I am interesting in calendars, scheduling, gantt charts, dashboards, and tab controls. I would love to hear from other users who included these in their A5 applications. I am definitely NOT interested in "reinventing the wheel" writing a calendar application like that included in the XBasic for Everyone book. It may be a fine technical achievement, but lacks the polish of MS Outlook.

      I would also like Alpha Five to do more to improve the to the "fit and finish" of their package. Unfortunately, the firm doesn't seem to have any in-house graphic design skills and it shows in their product, its packaging, its website. Think about, would you want a precariously tilted cube as your logo? To me, it suggests instability, not a quality I'm hoping to find in a software tool.

      I'll go out on a limb here, but I would be ashamed, yes ashamed, to promote Alpha Sports as an example of what you can do with Alpha. That application looks like a DOS application; hey, this is 2008, not 1988!

      With the candidness of an American Idol judge, let me also weigh in on the third party applications showcased on the Alpha Web site. Use the path Services>Third party applications. Take a look, for example, at the Personnel Manager application offered there for 99.00 USD. It may be a very capable package, but believe me its design is a major turnoff, worse than amateurish. Are these the best applications that have been developed with Alpha Five? They are all candidates for serious makeovers.

      I am not being critical, but I am demanding better of A5 management: by their example and by their examples, they fail to show a better way. This is really regrettable, because I really think this is a great product. OK, time to get off the soapbox! I hope you now have a little better understanding of why getting the third party tree control was so important to me, and assuming that you can spring for the license for the control, how a novice can achieve the same results as German software giant SAP (whose menu structure I used as test data in my example).

      Last edited by rmcgaffic; 04-26-2008, 11:11 PM.


      • #4
        Re: How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application

        Well Bob, I am thinking that perhaps I must not have the high expectations you have of some things but definitely do see your point...

        Regarding AlphaSports (the desktop) sample---to me that is all it was but now after you presented the case of it being a sample to showcase Alpha5 to new people it does not give a good representation of what is possible in Alpha.

        About the 3rd party applications I am all for practical and actually would shy away from a "pretty" app simply because it would be distracting for a business to use...just my opinion. And I really don't think the "Personel Manager" is all that unprofessional or amateurish...well except for the fact that the name of the application is misspelled!!! (should be personnel) . But this I believe is Alpha's fault and not the developer's.

        But again, you do have some very valid points and, I for one, take your criticisms as constructive.
        It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
        It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
        Henry David Thoreau


        • #5
          Re: How to create a dynamic hierarchical menu for your A5 application


          Check out for some very nice looking alpha desktop templates. Really shows what can be done when one has a good eye for graphic design.

          Thanks for the code!!

          Bill Griffin
          Parkell, Inc