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Posted 26 Nov 1999


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Template class for 'Property Browser'- like property pages for ATL ActiveX Controls

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4.89/5 (5 votes)
26 Nov 19992 min read
Allows you to easily create property pages for ActiveX controls

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Developing ActiveX Controls I always was unhappy to spend a fair amount of time to monotonous GUI work designing and implementing a property pages. Eventually I wrote this class that works in most cases as a universal property page for any ATL-based ActiveX Control. The prototype for this class is property browser window known for to any Visual Basic developers.

How it works:

Generally, this class uses IPropertyPage::SetObjects and queries the control's IDispatch::GetTypeInfo to enumerate properties. Currently, this template class can handle the following kinds of properties: Simple types such as long, short, text(BSTR), ect. Font (IFontDisp) OLE_COLOR Picture (IPictureDisp) enums boolean (VARIANT_BOOL)

Current implementation don't display properties that has [hidden] or [nonbrowsable] attributes as well as indexed properties and properties of custom types (IFoo* or similar). The control's default interface should be dual and derived from IDispatch. If you use enumerated properties, the control must support IPerPropertyBrowsing::GetPredefinedStrings and IPerPropertyBrowsing::GetPredefinedValue (look at the demo project for a sample) The main template class CPropertyBrowserPage is derived from both IPropertyPageImpl and CDialogImpl and uses some other helper classes that is briefly described below:

  • CPropBrowseWnd class is a owner-drawn listbox that displays properties grid and handles property selections, start/stop editing, ect. It is a main GUI window and CPropertyBrowserPage creates it in OnInitDialog.
  • CPBProperty is a simple class for storage properties attributes like name, type, current value and "dirty" status.
  • CPBPropertyHolder helper class is just a very simple container (array) of CPBProperty objects.
  • CPBColorPicker class is popup color picker window that allow user to choose color either from palette or from system's colors set.
  • CPBDropListBox class works together with in-place edit window to resemble combo-box like interface
  • PBDib class generally wasn't developed by me, this class encapsulates DIB manipulations API

How to use:

  1. Copy following files to your project's directory:

    • PropertyBrowserPage.h
    • PropertyBrowserPage.cpp
    • PBDib.h
    • PBDib.cpp
    and add *.cpp files to the project.
  2. Select "New ATL Object" from the Insert menu. Select "Property Page" and fill all fields Wizard requires. (For example, assume you choose "CDemoCtrlPage" as the name of your page's class)
  3. Go to CDemoCtrlPage class declaration and modify base classes list as following

    class ATL_NO_VTABLE CDemoCtrlPage :
    public CComObjectRootEx<CComSingleThreadModel>,
    public CComCoClass<CDemoCtrlPage, &CLSID_DemoCtrlPage>,
    //	public IPropertyPageImpl, <--- this lines should be removed
    //	public CDialogImpl 
    /* next line should be added*/
    public CPropertyBrowserPage<CDemoCtrlPage>
    next, change message map chain macro as following:
    /* CHAIN_MSG_MAP(IPropertyPageImpl<CDemoCtrlPage>) <--- this line should be removed*/ 
    CHAIN_MSG_MAP(CPropertyBrowserPage<CDemoCtrlPage>)/*<--- this line should be added*/
    and remove Wizard-generated CDemoCtrlPage::Apply() method and finaly don't forget to include PropertyBrowserPage.h
  4. Add following macro in your control's class property map
  5. Go to Wizard-generated page's dialog template and remove all child controls.
  6. Please note that this class uses some C RTL code that makes _ATL_MIN_CRT directive impossible so you have to remove it.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Vladimir Shcherbakov
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionDoes this work in windowless controls? Pin
ArunKumar Yalamarthy5-Jul-07 3:23
MemberArunKumar Yalamarthy5-Jul-07 3:23 
GeneralGreat example Pin
sunnywu522-Jun-07 11:52
Membersunnywu522-Jun-07 11:52 
QuestionHow to call Activex Dll in MFC Dialog application? Pin
Ashwin kumar Gurujala5-Dec-05 18:30
MemberAshwin kumar Gurujala5-Dec-05 18:30 
AnswerRe: How to call Activex Dll in MFC Dialog application? Pin
Rajam Kiran10-Nov-06 2:03
MemberRajam Kiran10-Nov-06 2:03 
QuestionHow can i use it with a ATL com without any property page Pin
Inam8-Feb-04 20:06
MemberInam8-Feb-04 20:06 
Generalgood but.... Pin
Tom Mason3-Aug-01 4:32
MemberTom Mason3-Aug-01 4:32 
GeneralExcellent! Pin
Rafael Gómez Blanes31-May-01 6:17
MemberRafael Gómez Blanes31-May-01 6:17 
GeneralProperty Browser Pin
Dynosaur18-Aug-00 16:35
MemberDynosaur18-Aug-00 16:35 

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