8.4.3 Setting Look and Feel Standards
The need for Look and Feel Standards are met by providing a distinctive platform independent appearance and standard behaviour. The standards for user interface separates the implementation of interface elements from their presentation, enabling an application to dynamically choose how its user interface elements interact with users.
The Bean Builder complies to the AdventNet Look and Feel standards by providing options to design a user interface that provides a standard representation to the kind of usability that the designer expects. But this does not imply that the designer does not have any other option to specify the kind of look and feel he desires. Other than AdventNet Look and Feel Standards, the User Defined Standards and None are the options provided. Thus if the user has to design a single screen or multiple screens, there is no requirement to specify the properties at the onset of each screen or dropping of each bean. Properties once set can be retained till the completion of the whole project.
Setting various UI standards?
AdventNet Look and Feel standards:
The "Properties menu" contains the "Project Properties" menu item. Select the "General" tab in the dialog that appears. In the combo box corresponding to Look and Feel Standards , select the "AdventNet Look and Feel" option and click the "OK" button to confirm your selection. All the components dropped after selecting this option will follow the ALF (AdventNet Look and Feel ) standards in the screens designed. The ALF standard is the default Look and Feel option selected for all the Bean Builder projects.
User defined Standards:
You can define your own set of standards by using this option. In the combo box corresponding to "Look and Feel Standards" of the "Project Properties-->General" tab , select the "User Defined Standards" option. You can find that a text field below the combo box corresponding to the "User Look and Feel Standards File" option gets enabled. The name of the file specified here is the one to which the User defined standards are getting added. By default we have provided a file by the name Standards.alf that is present in the <Web NMS Home>/builderdata directory. Close the Project Property form using the "OK" button.
Now in the screen view, after dropping the bean component modify the bean properties to suit your UI taste using the Bean property form. Say you change the background to white, right click on the bean and a pop-up menu appears where the menu item 'Add to Standards' is found. Click on this to add the properties set for this bean to the 'User Look and Feel Standards File' (the file provided in the project property form- Standards.alf). The next time you drop a bean of the same type it will have the properties that you have added to the Standards File. In case you specify the name of a file that is not existing, the tool creates the file for you. In this way you can create files that contain standards specific to a project.
Warning: The ALFStandards.alf file is the AdventNet Look and Feel Standards file and the users are advised not to browse and select this file as the User defined Standards file, since this may cause damage to the tool.
Note : By default the Standards.alf file has properties that meet the ALF Standard. The ALF standards in this file are overwritten with the customized standards when the user-defined properties are set.
If the user requires neither ALF Standards nor User Defined Standards, then the "None" option can be used. In the combo box corresponding to "Look and Feel Standards" of the Project Property Form, select the "None" option.
Note: The Add to standards menu item obtained from the popup menu which is obtained by right clicking on bean components, is not enabled for ALF Standards or None options.
Standards compliant Menus and MenuItems : The source generated for the menus and menu items also reflect the Look and Feel Standard selected in the Project Property Form. Thus UI is complete in all aspects with respect to the selected Look and Feel Standard.
The motto behind the AdventNet Look & Feel Guidelines [ALF Guide] is to provide a standard look and feel for various AdventNet products. The Usability of a product is the one which interacts first with the user. Hence it is very important to consider the usability of the product while developing various components.
AdventNet Look and Feel is the default interface for applications built with the Java Foundation Classes. The AdventNet look and feel is designed for cross-platform use and can provide:
Consistency in appearance and behavior of common design elements.
Compatibility with industry-standard components and interaction styles.
Aesthetic appeal that does not distract from application content and Feel is based on java UI standards, but it is specific to AdventNet Bean Builder.
The ALF standards can be viewed from the ALF Guide that is bundled with this document.