A control is a component in a GUI program that the user can interact with to enter data or manipulate the program in some way. For example, check boxes and scroll bars are controls.

Controls benefit both users and programmers. They benefit users because they make doing certain things the same across programs, so it makes learning how to use programs easier. For instance, a scroll bar works the same way in Microsoft Word as it does in Internet Explorer. Controls benefit programmers because they are already coded up and ready to be used in a program. The programmer can basically just drop it in, hook up with a little bit of code and it will work. It would be an absolute nightmare if the programmer had to hand code a control every time he wanted to allow some data entry.

Windows provides a number of standard controls that programmers can use in their programs, but programmers can also make their own controls, and I have created a few for the TX81Z Programmer. This section describes in detail the use of the various controls in the editor and the features they have.

Much of this information is basic Windows information, but surprisingly enough, there is no description of how to use the standard Windows controls anywhere in the Windows help file. They aren't even in the glossary. It seems that the only documentation for them exists on MSDN, which is Microsoft's website for programmers. Granted, they are pretty intuitive, but they are a lot more complex than they appear to be and many of them have features that can be easily overlooked, so I feel obligated to discuss the ones that are used in the TX81Z Programmer, since they are part of my program and I think programs should to be documented completely. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to discuss in-depth the modifications I have made to the standard Windows controls as well as the custom controls that I have made.

Standard Windows Controls

Custom Controls In The TX81Z Programmer

I also wrote a section on keyboard navigation.