New Features in DriveWorks 8

Article by Adam Bridgman, CSWE updated February 28, 2011


Forms in DriveWorks 8 are more configurable than ever before. One of the major focuses of the development of DriveWorks 8 was ease of use for users and developers. Some of the major enhancements are full support of transparency in images, image buttons, and dynamic form positions. In English this means that the controls on forms can overlap and they can be repositioned based on user selections.

The result of these changes is that forms can be made much more intuitive and flexible than possible in DriveWorks 7. In the three images below the colour of the light is selectable by clicking on the picture. For example, if the bottom light is clicked, the top light image changes and so does the bottom light.

In this example the bottom image is clicked, which results in the image changing so that the green light appears to turn on and the red light appears to turn off. In some applications this could be more than is required, or small forms are critical, DriveWorks 8 provides the flexibility to handle this as well.

In this case the image updates based on the selected option. Clicking on the image has no effect, the radio buttons must be selected. The functionality in this example has been available in DriveWorks for the last several years, but what is new here is that the background colour of the image is dynamic as well. Notice in the first image the background is red, but in the second image it is green. Also notice that the area around the image is transparent. This transparency allows for multiple controls to overlap:

This addition may appear small at first, but it has large ramifications about how a form can be used. For example if the project had a door with multiple handle options (brass, chrome, brushed nickel, etc) and multiple window shapes (rectangular, circular, rectangular with half circle, etc.) it is possible to handle all of the variations with an image of each option, rather than an image for each combination. So rather than having 3 images for a brass handle, 1 for each of the windows, an image for the handle and an image for each window is all that is required. The benefits are compounded by the number of independent options available. For example if the door had 8 different colours, 4 different handles, and 5 different windows available, without transparency a total of 160 images would be required. But with transparency available only 17 images would be required.
Finally there is support for hyperlink controls in DriveWorks 8. The benefit of the hyperlink control is that it supports a separate image for default and mouse over. This allows you to create most of the effects commonly seen on modern websites, but with the benefit of having an easy to use form builder.

An example of how this works dynamically can be seen at the top of this webpage. If you mouse over the solutions button it changes colour to appear like it is active. The hyperlink property of the control is dynamic as well, so that selecting a different coloured light could affect the website address that the hyperlink button takes you too.
As a result of the changes to the forms in DriveWorks 8, much more dynamic and intuitive forms can be created.

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