Monday, March 14, 2005

Customizing GTViewer

GTViewer is highly customizable and extendable. You can modify certain aspects of existing functionality or create customized applications that take advantage of GTViewer’s functionality. There are two different approaches to customizing GTViewer and the task you are trying to accomplish determines the approach to take. The two approaches are:
  1. Writing a custom OCX that is called by GTViewer
  2. Writing your own application that uses the GTVx ActiveX control.

There are many differences between these two approaches even though the end results may be very similar.

OCX Approach

Writing a custom OCX for GTViewer is the more limited of the two approaches; however, it generally requires the least amount of development to create a complete application. The OCX approach is ideal for creating applications that perform inspections, inventory, custom queries, and custom display control; however, it can also be used for complicated tasks like tracing. With GTViewer, a custom application appears as a menu item under the Query menu. When activated, GTViewer will create a dialog (modal or non-modal) and insert your OCX into this empty dialog. GTViewer also makes the necessary calls to establish 2 way communications between the OCX and itself (which allows access to data, views, display controls, metadata, etc.).


An alternative approach to customizing GTViewer is to use the GTVx ActiveX control to create a custom application or to embed GTViewer functionality into an existing application. GTVx is an ActiveX control that provides GTViewer’s functionality. The functionality of GTVx is nearly identical to that of GTViewer and it also provides additional functionality that is not included in GTViewer (such as a set of data conversion and manipulation methods and the Data Monitor). The GTVx control can be used by writing as little as one line of code; however, it provides no interface other than a right-mouse menu (similar to the one in GTViewer); so it is the custom application’s responsibility to create an appropriate interface. While GTVx’s minimal interface may require some additional coding to create a complete application, it also provides an extreme degree of flexibility when creating custom applications. Also, template applications are available to provide most of the standard GTViewer interface.


OCX: Only license GTViewer, Visual Basic

GTVx: a GTViewer license to run and a GTViewer SDK to develop with, Development Environment supporting ActiveX controls (Visual Basic, Visual C++, .NET).

Suitable Applications:

OCX: Inspections, Inventory, Data Collection, Tracing, or any application that extends the functionality of GTViewer.

GTVx: Applications that need to fit very specific workflows and requirements, existing applications that need GTViewer’s viewing capabilities, tracking applications (for trucks, calls, or outages), and custom printing applications (mapbooks).

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