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Raize Components version 1.6
by Raize Software is a collection of 50 great components for all versions of Delphi and C++Builder. The components are written in ObjectPascal, and is "single source" compatible and compilable (full source code is included). The package used to be called "Raize Components for Delphi", but as of version 1.6 the "for Delphi" part has been officially dropped.
Raize Components version 1.6 consists of two 3.5" disks and a 100-page manual, all in a nice purple box. The installation is easy, especially since we can conveniently indicate for which version(s) of Delphi and C++Builder we want to install Raize Components:
After the installation on disk, you need to manually add Raize Components to the component palette of Delphi 1, Delphi 2 and C++Builder (it's automatically added to the Delphi 3 list of packages).
Integrating component helpfiles with the Delphi helpfiles has always been a step that needed to be done by hand, and the README file (and manual) of Raize Components describe in detail the steps you need to perform for this. For C++Builder and Delphi 3 the on-line help is automatically integrated by the installation program. Quite helpful indeed:
So what are Raize Components? Well, as I wrote in the introduction, Raize Components exists of no less than 50 custom components. Including full source code, so you can make changes or additions by yourself (if you know what you're doing, that it). The names of the components all start with "TRz" to distinguish them from the regular Delphi or C++Builder components. Apart from that, the data-aware components have an extra prefix "DB" as well, and in the Component Palette we'll actually see two new tabs: the Raize tab and the RzData tab. The best way to show what's in the package is to list the components as they appear in the Delphi 3 packages, as they're logically grouped together that way:
|RzCmn16.dpl||Only contains support functions and resources (strings).|
|RzStd16.dpl||TRzPanel, TRzToolbar, TRzSpacer, TRzStatusBar, TRzBorder, TRzLabel, TRzTrackBar, TRzSplitter, TRzStatusPane, TRzClockStatus, TRzKeyStatus, TRzResourceStatus, TRzGlyphStatus, TRzProgressBar, TRzCheckBox, TRzRadioButton|
|RzDStd16.dpl||TRzDBLabel, TRzDBTrackBar, TRzDBStatusPane, TRzDBStateStatus, TRzDBProgressBar, TRzDBCheckBox|
|RzExt16.dpl||TRzLauncher, TRzLookupDialog, TRzSendMessage, TRzLineEdit, TRzSpinEdit, TRzRapidFireButton, TRzButtonEdit, TRzRadioGroup|
|RzDExt16.dpl||TRzDBLookupDialog, TRzDBLineEdit, TRzDBSpinEdit, TRzDBButtonEdit, TRzDBRadioGroup|
|RzLst16.dpl||TRzCheckList, TRzComboBox, TRzFontComboBox, TRzColorComboBox, TRzLineComboBox, TRzFileListBox, TRzDirectoryListBox, TRzDriveComboBox, TRzListBox, TRzTabbedListBox, TRzSelDirDialog|
|RzDLst16.dpl||TRzDBComboBox, TRzDBLineComboBox, TRzDBLookupLineComboBox, TRzDBListBox|
|RaizeDcl.dpl||Design-time package used to install Raize Components.|
The manual of 100 pages describes each component, its properties, methods and events, in a clear way (and the same information is also accessible as on-line helpfile, of course).
Raize Components includes a complete demo project of all components that we can compile with all version of Delphi and C++Builder. If we compile with Delphi 1.0x, we get the 16-bits version of the demo, which looks and feels exactly the same as the 32-bits version of the demo (when compiled with Delphi 2.x or higher or C++Builder). This is very important, and it means that using Raize Components we can actually write applications that indeed look and feel the same in a 16-bits or 32-bits Windows environment (for those clients who still do not want to move over to Win32 at this time).
The demo itself consists of a number of sub-demos, where each sub-demo focuses on another sub-set of the Raize Components, such as the progress en trackbar demo and the "more data-aware components". Another screenshot that actually shows more than a dozen Raize Components together can be seen below:
Raize Components are often enhanced edition of regular Delphi components. A very useful component for on-line forms is the TRzDBLineEdit component, which consists of an editfield above a line (where you can put a textlabel below). This component can be seen in a number of "official" form, and has a stunning effect on screen as well:
Raize Components can be found in the Delphi and C++Builder IDE in two different tabs. The Raize tab and the RzData tab. The first contains the "regular" components, the second the "data-aware" components.
While the demos illustrate the things we can make with Raize Components, as a programmer, we may be more interested in the design time support while making these applications. And that's a true area of excellence. Raize Components is not just a mere 50 components, but an additional collection of supporting Component Editors and Property Editors that truly extend the Delphi IDE at design time to enhance and speed-up our daily work (of course, most only apply to Raize Components themselves, although some also work with other components, such as the new Strings (property) editor for Memos, Listboxes, etc.
But numerous other handy Component Editors & Property Editors are included with Raize Components, such as TRzCheckListEditor, TRzLabelEditor, TRzPanelEditor, TRzStatusBarEditor, TRzSplitterEditor, TRzKeyStatusEditor, TRzResourceStatusEditor and TRzToolbarEditor component editors, and the TRzAboutBox, TRzCheckListProperty, TRzStringListProperty (see screenshot) en TRzTabStopProperty property editors.
Developing Custom Delphi Components
Raize Components comes with full source code that compiles with all versions of Delphi and C++Builder. If you want to use this source code as example to write your own custom components, then you're probably better off with the book also written by Ray Konopka (who happens to be founder of Raize Software) entitled Developing Custom Delphi 3 Components, published by The Coriolis Group, ISBN 1-57610-112-6, US$ 49.99 (but if you order it at the same time as Raize Components, you can get it for US$ 10,=). The first edition of this book has been reviewed for the April/May 1996 issue of the UK-BUG newsletter and I still love this book. The new edition contains about 200 new pages, with information about packages, custom window components, data-aware components, business rules, helpfiles and string tables, and ActiveX components. In short: if you're serious about Component Building, you can't afford to miss this book. The book also contains a CD-ROM with a trial (and sometimes limited) edition of Raize Components, this time with the "Rk" prefix instead of the commercial "Rz" prefix (so you can accidentally have both on your system without interfering with one another). Instead of just buying the book with the trial components, I would rather recommend buying the Raize Components and get the book for an additional US$ 10 instead.
Raize Components is sold for US$ 199.95, with an update price of US$ 30 if you own a previous version. The book Developing Custom Delphi 3 Components can be ordered at the same time for an extra US$ 10. There is a modest shipping and handling rate for Europe, and for more information I suggest taking a look at the website of Raize Software.