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by Steven Jeavock - GUI Computing

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AllText HT/Pro by Bennet-Tec Information Systems is the successor to the original Alltext that was released late last year. The original control is an enhanced text box that supports multiple simultaneous fonts, bold face, strike-through, italics, sub and superscripts, custom shadowing, 16 colours, >32kb storage, paragraph formatting, margins, ascii and native file i/o and floating bitmap between the background and text. The HT/Pro version includes all of the above as well as RTF1 file i/o, OLE1 embedding, hypertext tagging and is data aware.

In the outline that follows, one may assume that the features discussed apply to both versions, unless otherwise noted. The control is a vbx which loads to the vb toolbox and nearly everything is handled via property settings with only a few function calls necessary. Basic functions are quite straightforward to use, so if for instance we wished to italicize a particular string, we would do the following:

  AllText1.SelText = x%; 
  AllText.SelLength = y%; 
  AllText1.FontItalic = True; 
  AllText1.Select = False. 

The preceding example would position the select region and selected length to apply the italics and turn off the highlight. A nice feature of AllText is its .WriteProtect property, which will prevent users modifying the document and if used like this:

  AllText1.WriteProtect = ATX_Protect_Screen
will allow the programmer to modify the document without the changes being visible as they occur until the write protect is revoked.

AllText supports the various clipboard methods such as cut, copy and paste. It will also allow printing of the document over a range or in its entirety.

Selecting a phrase and setting the HTag property will create a hypertext tagged region (HT/Pro only). Tagged phrases are sensed when the mouse moves over one and you can then replace the existing cursor via Alltext's MouseHpointer property. You could use this feature to navigate to a new document (either one stored in a bound .mdb or using Alltext's file i/o streaming methods). Some of the more interesting properties are as follows:

BackPicture property: This allows a bitmap to be displayed as the background and have it move around via its BackPictureX and BackPictureY properties. Also you can create unusual effects. If for instance you had black text on a black background picture with a white circle in the middle and moved the image around, then only where the circle intersected the text would the text be visible. You could use this as a sliding curtain say, to reveal the underlying text in a document.
F2On property: Will invoke the Windows font dialog box.
Font property: This isn't really interesting. You can call .FontBold etc but what is interesting is an alternative to this method using the FontTable. Here you can define what you will call the various text styles and then call them in code, like "\fn1 The cat in the hat." Alltext will consult the font table and apply what it finds (what you put) there. The result is that it's a lot faster than applying empirically predefined formatting codes.
Find_Htag function (HT/PRO only): Is the Hypertext equivalent of a jump hotkey. It searches for the nth occurrence of the current tag number.

The HT/Pro VBX is 246kb and costs $669. AllText Standard is $299. Refer to GUI Dowloadable Catalogue for product pricing (link in MultiMedia Introduction).


Written by: Steven Jeavock
June 94

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