Xcelsius 2008 introduced a Tab Set component, which is a container methodology for visually grouping components together. The first version of these components alleviates the need for setting up dynamic visibility for every component. The first time you try it out it can be a little tricky to learn how to navigate and use this great new functionality.

1. Tabs:
Once you have added the component to the canvas, you will use the tabs to navigate and add canvases the same way your end users will during runtime. I think this is the most difficult thing for existing Xcelsius users to get used to since there was a traditional disconnect between “design” mode and “preview” mode. There is a property sheet for the tab-set that is accessed by double clicking on any one of the tabs located at the top of your tab-set. You have control over color and position within this property sheet.

Tip-To move the entire tab-set itself you will click and drag the tabs, and not the canvas area.

2. Canvases:
When you use this component, think of each tab as a link to an independent canvas. Each canvas has its own property sheet where you can bind the tab name, change scrollbar behaviors, and change the color. You have to click inside the canvas to activate it and modify the properties.

Adding and Removing Components:
Adding a component into the tab set is as simple as dragging and dropping components into the canvas area. You will get scroll bars if the content exceeds the size of the tab set canvas. I found that the best approach is to lay your content out together outside of the tab set, then at the end drag the entire group inside and size accordingly. It can be a bit of a hassle fighting with the scroll bars sometimes.

Tab Set Enhancement Requests
Unfortunately you can not have dynamic tabs that show up based on a dynamic visibility concept. This is the first and most obvious feature that most of us will probably like to see one day. Right now you only have dynamic visibility control over the entire tab-set itself.

The other nice-to-have feature is some type of selector insert-in functionality when a tab is selected. This would allow us to drive other actions once a tab is selected.

Let me know what you think…

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