MulticolumnComboBox Frustration

8 posts, 0 answers
  1. joshuarivers
    joshuarivers avatar
    21 posts
    Member since:
    Jul 2007

    Posted 24 Jan 2009 Link to this post

    I'm pretty frustrated, having lost nearly a day this week because I attempted to use the MultiColumnComboBox control from your toolbox. I'm concerned that there is an increasing quantity of not-ready-to-ship code in the WinForms controls, and I'd like to hear from you on this.

    My biggest issue with the combobox was that I could not, after extensive effort, get it to display the embedded grid fully inside the bounding box of the dropdown. On top of this:
    1) Properties that don't serialize.
    2) Properties that can only be set in code, not the designer.
    3) Properties which exist several times in the property tree, none of which have any apparent effect on the control.
    4) A Property Builder in the smart tag which crashed Visual Studio half the times I attempted to use it.
    5) Deeply buried, commonly used properties (Why is Columns buried so deep in the tree? Because you have a property builder? Whoops. Crashed again).
    6) Almost no documentation on the correct use of the control.
    7) ((Telerik.WinControls.UI.GridTableElement)radGrid1.RootElement.Children[0]).Padding = new Padding(0);  (!!!!)

    I have a sample project sitting here, but I guess there's no way to attach it on the forum. It wouldn't show you anything more than what you see the moment you drop the control on a form anyway. Why is the scroll bar for the grid truncated by the bounding box of the dropdown? It looks amateur.

    I have solved my issue. I reverted to using a winforms combobox, and concatenating my fields with commas. It looks better than the radcontrol did.

    I'm deeply frustrated, but the only reason I'm writing this, and putting it on the public forum, is that I have had a real respect for the _quality_ of Telerik's products and support, and I'd like to see things get better. Is there an explanation? What can I do to help?
  2. Daniel
    Daniel avatar
    91 posts
    Member since:
    Jan 2008

    Posted 26 Jan 2009 Link to this post

    I have similar sentiments when it comes to MultiColumnComboBox. Lack of design-time support or broken one, poor or absolutely missing documentation and lot of imperfections. No clear time schedule when it will get improved or fixed, it is always "in future versions". And versions pass and not much improves. It is very, very frustrating.
  3. Jordan
    Jordan avatar
    547 posts

    Posted 27 Jan 2009 Link to this post

    Hi Joshua, Daniel,

    By way of introduction, my name is Vassil Petev, WinForms Unit Manager at Telerik.

    First of all, thank you for sharing your experience with us. This is the kind of feedback we have always been after, because it shows us that our controls need further improvements in order for you guys to do your job. We know that our products are not perfect and we will try to address your concerns in order to help you continue your development.

    Joshua, your feedback brings up some issues that we were not familiar with and we will appreciate your further assistance to help us locate and fix these:
    1. Properties that don't serialize.
      It seems that you need some of the properties to be serialized. Could you, please be more specific, which are the properties that do not serialize? We will review your case and will improve the product, if necessary.
    2. Properties that can only be set in code, not the designer.
      Sometimes there are properties that cannot/should not be serialized; also in some cases it is better if a control is configured with code which can then be easily reused. Although we have done this on purpose, we will be happy to hear your insight on how and what we can improve in regards to properties that should be available in design time vs code.
    3. Properties which exist several times in the property tree, none of which have any apparent effect on the control.
      The multi-column combo is a mix of our RadGridView and RadComboBox controls, as described in the Overview help topic. It is possible that you see the same property for each control, for example the Visible property? Also, where do you see the duplicates - in the "Edit UI Elements" dialog, the ControlSpy, or some place else? Since we are not familiar with your test scenario, we would like to learn more about it so that we can address this question in more detail.
    4. A Property Builder in the smart tag which crashed Visual Studio half the times I attempted to use it.
      Although we have fixed several show-stopepr issues in the property builder (we have even sent a custom build to Daniel addressing some of these isuuses in the past), we will be glad to review your case and offer you the same service: a custom build which addresses the problem. I have to note here that not every part of Visual Studio can be controlled, but we will do our best to help you out.
    5. Deeply buried, commonly used properties
      You are right here - we should have exposed the Columns property on control level. The task is logged with high priority and we will try to address it for Q1 2009.
    6. Almost no documentation on the correct use of the control.
      We do agree that 4 topics are not enough to describe all features of the control - this is why there are several cross-references to RadComboBox and RadGridView. We are continually improving the documentation and it will be improved further. Until then, please let us know what tasks you need to accomplish and we will provide you with the proper assistance right away.
    7. ((Telerik.WinControls.UI.GridTableElement)radGrid1.RootElement.Children[0]).Padding = new Padding(0);  (!!!!)
      Yes, this code looks strange - where did you see it and what were the steps you took to come to it? We would appreciate your sample application and you can send it to us via a support ticket.
    8. Why is the scroll bar for the grid truncated by the bounding box of the dropdown?
      Indeed, the scroll bar is a bit broken currently, we are aware of this issue and are working on it.

    It is not always possible to give a specific time-frame for a feature or a bug fix, although we do our best to do so. And although it is very expensive (due to the complex process of preparing a build, testing, etc.) we do send custom builds containing urgent fixes on some occasions.

    Nevertheless, I hope that you will excuse us for the inconvenience caused, and for the lost time. We will try to make it up to you by escalating all reported and confirmed issues. The multi-column combo is a major control in the suite, so please, list the most important issues you need fixed and I will try to schedule those up for you.

    Sincerely yours,
    Vassil Petev
    Unit Manager
    the Telerik team

    Check out Telerik Trainer, the state of the art learning tool for Telerik products.
  4. joshuarivers
    joshuarivers avatar
    21 posts
    Member since:
    Jul 2007

    Posted 28 Jan 2009 Link to this post

    I don't have complete answers to all of this, because I didn't carefully document each step in my day of frustration, but I'll try and provide some additional clarificiation:

    1) Properties that don't serialize. I found this in either the forums or documentation while trying to make the formatting work and repeatedly making changes that did not in any way reflect on the screen. This problem is linked to 2 and 7.
    2 & 7) Please see where a fix was suggested and promised in may of last year. And yet every rad grid I drop on my forms needs manual fixing in the codebehind so that it doesn't have strange padding.
    3) I think the setting I found in several places, none of which actually did anything, was 'Width'. There are a bunch of nested elements, all dependent on eachother, and it's not documented how they work. And even if it was, it's really frustrating having to deal with a bunch of settings nested and separated and spread out, simply to perform the simple use case of the control. (I don't care that there is a gridview in the dropdown....I want to use a 'multi-column combo box' without having to know that)
    4) I'm not clear on the purpose of the property builder. It seems like it's an additional interface being slapped on because the property view for the controls is too confusing to use. The problem is that the property view is the only _stable_ interface for setting up the controls. I frequently find I can't apply a theme from the smart tag, let alone get the property builder to run. I realize you can't control my environment or make sure that every thing situation works, but should Property Builder really be doing something that can crash studio?
    5) Thank you!!!!
    6 & 8) I'm glad you're working on things. For now, I'll probably leave the control alone for a couple of versions and come back to it after it's hopefully been fixed. I'm not currently having issues--because I've removed it from my project.

    I hope I haven't come off too negative here. I'm trying to provide passionate feedback because this is a control I've been wanting to use for some time, and I was really disappointed that it was not production-ready. It has never been my impression that Telerik releases poor product and I saw this as an exception that should be brought to your attention.

  5. Vassil Petev
    Vassil Petev avatar
    1765 posts

    Posted 30 Jan 2009 Link to this post

    Hi joshuarivers,

    Thank you for the additional information. It is much appreciated. We will answer in the same order:

    1. I suspect that you mean formatting of the column content, so we will try investigating this.

    2 & 7. The padding in this specific case depends on the theme that is currently applied, and may be different for every theme. In order to always have zero padding you could try inheriting the RadGridView control and setting the padding in the constructor or in some other initialization method. Then you can use that custom grid, without the need to set the padding every time. We will be improving this behavior.

    3. You are correct that you should be able to use the RadMultiColumnComboBox control without knowing its structure in and out, and we will definitely be working to improve that. However, you should note that all RadControls are constructed from a tree of elements, most of which have such properties. Also, it is possible that setting the width will have no effect if the size and location of the specific element is determined by some layout.

    4. The Property Builder was originally designed to help with the process of configuring the RadGridView control. Supporting the RadMultiColumnComboBox control makes the Property Builder even more complex and some bugs have sneaked through our testing process. Again, we are fixing all issues that have come to our attention. We are also planning on reworking the workflow of the Property Builders (Grid and Combo) to make them easier and more intuitive to use.

    Your passionate feedback is most helpful.


    the Telerik team

    Check out Telerik Trainer, the state of the art learning tool for Telerik products.
  6. sheraz khan
    sheraz khan avatar
    1 posts
    Member since:
    Aug 2009

    Posted 03 Aug 2009 Link to this post

    Dear Vassil Petev,
    i saw your answers on the forum, and i feel you r the guy who will surely answer my questions. well i am not that advance programmer you might be thinking, and my question might sounds childish. but i am gonna ask them anyway.
    Well my post is nt relevant to the above topic, but it somhow falls in the same category.
    actually i have been searching for a grid in which i can create a combobox which displays a multicolumn dropdown list. i mean i want to display data in the grid in such a way i.e.

    first column shows product code in combobox which on editing auto completes or suggests the matching item and simultaneously opens ts dropdown list.
    but it should open its dropdown list with multi column support with sorting options for each column. like prod. name, prod. category and  prod. size.
    second column static text.
    third column numeric which can hold numeric values in billions.
    fourth column percentage column with spin button and editable also.
    fifth column datetime having option of setting all standard date formats.
    sixth column masked textbox for SS No.

    and then the next row having same features no doubt.
    grid's printing options with scaling option, so that i can see a bigger gird's output on an A4 paper in a small font. this will reduce my cross tab report formatting effort.
    i dont know whether telerik gridview offers these options or not. and i dont even know how to use a multi-colum dropdown list combobox in grdview. if you can please provide me a tutorial video on this then this will help me very much. i can only buy thelerik gridview if it supports combobox with multi-column dropdownlist.

    Sheraz Khan.
    Lahore Pakistan.

  7. Jack
    Jack avatar
    2333 posts

    Posted 04 Aug 2009 Link to this post

    Hi sheraz khan,

    Thank you for contacting us. Yes, our RadGridView control supports multi-column combobox columns.You should just add GridViewMultiComboBoxColumn and initialize it. Here is a sample:

    List<Item> items = new List<Item>(); 
    items.Add(new Item(0, "zero")); 
    items.Add(new Item(1, "one")); 
    items.Add(new Item(2, "two")); 
    items.Add(new Item(3, "three")); 
    items.Add(new Item(4, "four")); 
    GridViewMultiComboBoxColumn combo = new GridViewMultiComboBoxColumn("ProductID""ID"); 
    combo.DataType = typeof(int); 
    combo.DataSource = items; 
    combo.DisplayMember = "Name"
    combo.ValueMember = "ID"

    Currently the auto complete functionality is quite limited. However, we plan to extend it in our future versions.

    RadGridView doesn't support printing. You can use our reporting component instead. Please take a look at the following blog post.

    I hope this helps. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to write back.

    Kind regards,
    the Telerik team

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  8. sheraz khan
    sheraz khan avatar
    1 posts
    Member since:
    Jul 2009

    Posted 08 Aug 2009 Link to this post

    Dear Vassil Petev,
    Glad to hear from you, Thank you very much for your support. I appreciate your instant answer as mine is not an instant one.
    i hope in near future, telerik will certainly give us such a product which will offer all these features.
    once again thank you very much.

    Sheraz Khan.
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