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Issue 2.3

REVIEW

GrowBoxPro

Issue: 2.3 (December/January 2003)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,834
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 2303
Related Web Link(s):

http://homepage.mac.com/vanhoek

Full text of article...

As stated in the ResizeWidget review, now is an age where having too little information is unacceptable. The developers of applications need to cater to the needs of users to fit more information in an organized manner in one area. Along with control resize widgets like ResizeWidget are grow box controls like GrowBox from Alfred Van Hoek.

GrowBox is a plugin control for REALbasic that acts like a second resize widget for a window. Using GrowBox, one can resize individual controls in a window without resizing the actual window. This gives the user the option to show or hide information in a window based on what they think is important, not the developer.

Not only can GrowBox resize controls in a window, it can double as the grow icon for the window as well. There are many advantages to this. GrowBox supports grow icon transparency, in which the grow icon is three slashes in the corner of a window. This is visible in many Cocoa applications. If one was creating an application in which one was trying to mimic the Cocoa style or had a control, such as a Canvas or StaticText in the bottom-right corner, the grow icon would not interfere with the control. Grow icon transparency is also great for applications that use a skinned appearance or custom window frame.

Used as a grow icon, GrowBox is a very good product. However, for merely resizing controls, GrowBox may seem odd and out of place. Because GrowBox uses the grow icon for an icon, some users may become confused, especially if there are multiple grow icons in the window. In addition, GrowBox is a 16 pixel x 16 pixel control, making it inconvenient for a user to have to click specifically on the grow icon to resize the controls in a window. Because of this, ResizeWidget is a better tool for the task, allowing the user to click anywhere on the control's vertical or horizontal path.

Unlike ResizeWidget, one must have code in order for GrowBox to function. However, a code template can be used and one needs only to add in the names of the controls to be bound to GrowBox and to refresh the icon. In addition, unlike ResizeWidget, the GrowBox download does not come with any documentation, only a sample project. Though documentation is available on the developer's web site, it is very limited.

The price of GrowBox may seem a bit unwieldy. This is because one cannot buy a single plugin from Alfred Van Hoek but must purchase all of the plugins in a single package. This may be better for some individuals, but for those who only need GrowBox, the price is a bit unreasonable.

If the application one is developing requires a transparent grow icon for aesthetic purposes, GrowBox is an ideal solution. However, if the need is to simply resize controls in a window, stick with ResizeWidget.

End of article.