Designing the User Interface

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The Data Controls page of the Tool palette provides a set of data-aware controls that represent data from fields in a database record, and can permit users to edit that data and post changes back to the database. Using data-aware controls, you can build your database application’s user interface (UI) so that information is visible and accessible to users. For more information on data-aware controls see Using Data Controls in the Delphi Developer’s Guide.

Data-aware controls get data from and send data to a data source component, TDataSource. A data source component acts as a conduit between the user interface and a dataset component that represents a set of information from the tables in a database. Several data-aware controls on a form can share a single data source, in which case the display in each control is synchronized so that as the user scrolls through records, the corresponding value in the fields for the current record is displayed in each control. An application’s data source components usually reside in a data module, separate from the data-aware controls on forms.

The data-aware controls you add to your user interface depend on what type of data you are displaying (plain text, formatted text, graphics, multimedia elements, and so on). Also, your choice of controls is determined by how you want to organize the information and how (or if) you want to let users navigate through the records of datasets and add or edit data.

The following sections introduce the components you can use for various types of user interface:

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