Tutorial :Dynamic GUI creation using configuration files


Is is possible to create GUI for a Delphi application using an configuration pattern from an xml etc... file. Any frameworks exist for such an operation. It is easy with scripting like languages but can we simulate this behaviour in Delphi?

I need free library.


Take a look at XI Library or EControl.


Yes, it is possible. The pseudocode for this is something like this

var    AParent:Tpanel;    Edit:TControl;    for i := 0 to ConfigItems.Count - 1 do  begin    if (ConfigItems[i].Type = 0) then Edit := TEdit.Create(AParent) as TControl    else Edit := TAnotherEditOrAnotherControlType.Create(APanel) as TControl;    //assume 20 pixels for each control, so thay will be placed one below another    Edit.Top := i * 20;     //Left in this case can be fixed    Edit.Left := 10;    Edit.Parent := AParent;   end;  

This will create few TEdit or some other control (say, TAnotherEditOrAnotherControlType but if you declare Edit variable as a TControl, you can create any control you need) on TPanel declared as AParent. Of course instead of IF clause, you can declare big CASE statement, and create controls of appropriate type. Important lines are

  • add Parent as a parameter for dynamic control constructor (so that dynamic control can be freed automatically)
  • set dynamic controls Parent to our AParent panel - this line actually places control on parent panel.


Glade also uses XML files to describe a GUI which is then created at runtime. Don't know whether it can be used with Delphi, though.


You can save and load dfm files from streams and files. You can save/load an entire form, or just a component and it's children.


As binary:

AStream.WriteComponent(AComponent);  MyComponent:=    Result:= AStream.ReadComponent(AComponent);  

As text:

procedure WriteComponentAsText(AStream: TStream; AComponent: TComponent);  var    BinStream:TMemoryStream;  begin    BinStream := TMemoryStream.Create;    try      BinStream.WriteComponent(AComponent);      BinStream.Seek(0, soFromBeginning);      ObjectBinaryToText(BinStream, AStream);    finally      BinStream.Free    end;  end;    function ReadComponentAsText(AStream: TStream; AComponent: TComponent): TComponent;  var    BinStream:TMemoryStream;  begin    BinStream := TMemoryStream.Create;    try      ObjectTextToBinary(AStream, BinStream);      BinStream.Seek(0, soFromBeginning);      Result:= BinStream.ReadComponent(AComponent);    finally      BinStream.Free    end;  end;  

You need to register any classes that you want to save or load with RegisterClass:



Yes, have a look at TMS Scripter Studio Pro by TMS Software.

Add the ultimate flexibility and power into your applications with native Pascal or Basic scripting and full IDE (Integrated Development Environment) with visual form designer, object inspector, and more.

Scripter Studio Pro


Yes we can :) I have done this for a page designer that uses only Textboxes, Rules(lines) and Graphics but it should work for all registered controls.

[Off the cuff code approximation]

    var        i, itemCount: Integer;        AClassName: string;        AnItemClass: TSomeBaseClass;        AnItem: TSomeDrivedBaseClass        ARect: TRect;      begin        // just so we have an initail size        ARect.Left := 100;        ARect.Top := 100;        ARect.Bottom := 200;        ARect.Right := 200;        // Alist is a specialised TStringList        for i  := 0 to itemCount - 1 do        begin          AClassName := Alist.ByKey['Class' + IntToStr(i)]; // locate class name           AnItemClass := TSomeBaseClass(GetClass(AClassName));  // ClassName must be registered          AnItem := AnItemClass.Create(OwnerComponent, ARect, AParent);          AnItem.LoadFromFile(IntToStr(i), AList);  // specialised loader that reads and sets all necessary properties          AddItemToComponentList(AnItem);  // Add to form / frame / panel whatever        end;      end;  

Of course you first need a "Form designer" that can save the design initially - the saving is just the reverse of the above...I'll leave that as an exercise for the Reader. wWth a little modification you could use Delphi and read the DFM file :)


You can find some examples here on Torry's using RTTI:


Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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