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TMS WEB Core 1.5 Rimini tips & tricks

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Friday, August 21, 2020



For building web client applications, TMS WEB Core has grown since its inception to an extremely rich framework offering RAD component based web development. Its possibilities are sheer unlimited and its functionality documented via an over 500 page developer guide, over 100 sample applications, lots of short videos, a video training of hours and hours of material by Wagner Landgraf and last but not least the TMS WEB Core book by Dr. Holger Flick.

And still there are so many interesting things to tell about the TMS WEB Core framework, hence this blog with tips & tricks.

TWebStringGrid cell customization

Today we offer a tip how TWebStringGrid cells can be extensively customized from code via cell CSS styles. TWebStringGrid is modeled after the VCL TStringGrid for making it intuitively familiar for Delphi VCL users. The grid basically offers fixed rows and columns, a row count, a column count and cells containing text and accessible via WebStringGrid.Cells[ACol,ARow]: string;

In the browser, this grid is rendered as a HTML table and in HTML table, each cell is a TD HTML element. And here it becomes interesting as the TD HTML element is programmatically accessible and its attributes and style properties can be customized. The Pascal class for a HTML element is TJSHTMLElement. From this class, attributes can be easily accessed via TJSHTMLElement['attributename']. The HTML element style properties can be accessed via TJSHTMLElement.style.setProperty('propertyname','value') or TJSHTMLElement.style.removeProperty('propertyname').

So, this brings us to custimizing TWebStringGrid cells. Crucial here is the access to the TD HTML element for a cell which can be accessed via WebStringGrid.CellElement[ACol,ARow]: TJSHTMLElement.

With this, we can use following code to set a background color, font color and font-style for a cell with style properties and the text alignment via the align attribute:
var
  td: TJSHTMLElement;
begin
  // set text in the first normal cell
  webstringgrid1.Cells[1,1] := 'Hello world';
  webstringgrid1.ColWidths[1] := 192;

  // get the HTML element for the first cell
  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,1];

  // change the alignment attribute for the cell
  td['align'] := 'right';

  // change the style property
  td.style.setProperty('background-color','red');
  td.style.setProperty('color','yellow');
  td.style.setProperty('padding-right','4px');
  td.style.setProperty('font-weight','bold');
end;
As this opens the full possibilities of CSS, you can see you can go to extreme lengths to customize each grid cell. See this reference to all CSS properties available: https://www.w3schools.com/cssref/.

Adding controls in a TWebStringGrid cell

As we have access to the cell HTML TD element, this means we can also insert other HTML elements into the cell. For this, the browser API provides element.appendChild(childelement). Of course, we can create HTML elements directly and insert these in the cell this way, but it is so much more object / component oriented when we can create a TMS WEB Core framework control, set its properties and insert it in a cell. Note that every TMS WEB Core visual control has a reference to its container HTML element. This can be accessed via WebControl.ElementHandle. Knowing this, inserting a control into a WebStringGrid cell becomes easily:
var
  td: TJSHTMLElement;
begin
  // get the HTML element for the first cell
  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,1];

  td.appendChild(mywebcontrol.ElementHandle);
end;
Let's create now a few controls (a checkbox, a button and an image) and insert these into grid cells:
var
  td: TJSHTMLElement;
begin
  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,2];
  chk := TWebCheckBox.Create(Self);
  chk.ElementPosition := epRelative;
  chk.TabStop := false;
  chk.Parent := WebStringGrid1;
  chk.Caption := 'check';
  chk.OnClick := ChkClick;
  td.appendChild(chK.ElementHandle);

  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,3];
  btn := TWebButton.Create(Self);
  btn.ElementPosition := epRelative;
  btn.Caption := 'Click';
  btn.Parent := WebStringGrid1;
  btn.OnClick := BtnClick;
  td.appendChild(btn.ElementHandle);

  img := TWebImageControl.Create(Self);
  // "users.png" is an image added to the project that will be deployed to the output folder 
  img.URL := 'Users.png';
  img.ElementPosition := epRelative;
  img.HeightStyle := ssAuto;
  img.WidthStyle := ssAuto;
  img.parent := WebStringGrid1;
  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,4];
  td.appendChild(img.ElementHandle);
end;
Note that we are setting the control's ElementPosition to epRelative here to make the control just flow in the grid cell. We also assign an event handler for the control's OnClick event. This is declared in the web form as:
  TForm1 = class(TWebForm)
  public
    { Public declarations }
    procedure BtnClick(Sender: TObject);
    procedure ChkClick(Sender: TObject);
  end;
The result of this customization in a default TWebStringGrid becomes:


What about TWebTableControl?

TWebTableControl is an alternative to TWebStringGrid for displaying 2 dimensional data. It differs from TWebStringGrid that it has auto flowing columns and rows. The good news is that in terms of customizing the cells of a TWebTableControl, it is 100% identical to TWebStringGrid. A cell element can be access via WebTableControl.CellElements[ACol,ARow]: TJSHTMLElement and from there you can do exactly the same as with a TWebStringGrid.

Using CSS classes

It might be desirable to group various cell properties into a CSS class and directly set the same CSS class for multiple cells. You can declare in your project HTML file following CSS:
.redcell { background-color:red; color:white; font-weight: bold;}
.yellowcell { backgrond-color:yellow; color:black; 
and then you can assign this to cells via:
var
  td: TJSHTMLElement;
begin
  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[1,1];
  td['class'] := 'redcell';

  td := webstringgrid1.CellElements[2,1];
  td['class'] := 'yellowcell';
end;
Alternatively, you can also do this via an event handler, WebStringGrid.OnGetCellClass:
procedure TForm1.WebStringGrid1GetCellClass(Sender: TObject; ACol,
  ARow: Integer; AField: TField; AValue: string; var AClassName: string);
begin
  if (ACol = 1) then 
     AClassName := 'redcell';
  if (ACol = 2) then 
     AClassName := 'yellowcell';
end;
This way, we have defined for all cells in column 1 to use the 'redcell' CSS class and for all cells in column 2 the 'yellowcell' CSS class.

And for any other visual controls?

As explained, the container HTML element for each visual control is accessible via control.ElementHandle: TJSHTMLElement. This means we can manipulate CSS for the container HTML element via:
control.ElementHandle.style.setProperty('propertyname','value');
If a visual control is built-up from several HTML elements, either the control will offer access to these child HTML elements via a property to you can directly get access to any HTML child element via:
var
  i: integer;
begin
  for i := 0 to control.ElementHandle.childElementCount - 1 do
  begin
    TJSHTMLElement(control.children.items[i]).style.setProperty('propertyname','value');
  end;
end;
I hope you can get the picture that TMS WEB Core really opens the whole web browser world to your Object Pascal programming skils and that no area of UI controls is closed for your customization!

If you have not discovered TMS WEB Core yet, maybe you still have a few #staycation days left to allocate some time to explore it via the trial version. The nice thing about these tips and tricks is that these are applicable both to TMS WEB Core for Delphi/Lazarus and also to TMS WEB Core for Visual Studio Code. So, you can open up your favorite IDE and start your adventures in the web world.

Bruno Fierens


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