Diamondback (Delphi 2005) and "live" data at design time on an ASP.NET WebForm

If you haven’t already seen our DBWeb controls I highly recommend taking a look at them once Diamondback hits the streets. Our DBWeb controls are a set of data aware ASP.NET controls that allow you to not only manipulate data at runtime but also view the data on your WebForm at design time. If you haven’t played much with ASP.NET you might ask “why is that a big deal?” since design-time data has long been available in the VCL form designer. Well, for starters when Microsoft shipped ASP.NET (1.0 and 1.1) their data aware controls required (and still do btw) data binding code before they will render any content which means they only render content at runtime.

For example, when you drop down an you see that it comes prepopulated with some fake data and that’s all your ever going to see at design time. In a DBWeb control, once you connect it to an active data source you’ll immediately see the data in the ASP.NET designer just like you see data in the VCL forms designer. Again, you might be saying to yourself “that’s really no big deal I don’t need to see the actual data”. Well, picuture this you have a grid that once it’s populated with data is going to run right off the righthand edge of the page you’ve spent so long making look really nice. Wouldn’t you rather discover that as soon as you hook up the control rather than having to run the application for each and every control you add to the page to just to see how the control will morph when it contains data?

We first introduced our DBWeb controls in C#Builder and in Diamondback we’ve continued to improve them and add additional controls for things like sound and multimedia content. Additionally, you can feed the controls data from an XML file so it’s easy to quickly prototype a data driven web site without even having to setup a database.